Today sports in India have achieved a peak in terms of popularity and as a career option. Olympics, Commonwealth Games, Asian Games, SAF Games, Wimbledon and many other world sports tournaments see Indians as one of the most leading sports participants in the world. From Tendulkar, Paes, Bhupathi, Anand, Geet Sethi, Karthikeyan to Sania Mirza lead the present sports generation of India. Cricket, Hockey, Football, Snooker, weightlifting, Kabaddi, Kho Kho and Archery are the sports of India that have been deep seated into an Indian psyche, whether of a sports person or a sports lover. Not only physical strength, power and satisfaction but also a strong alternative of recreation; sports in India have covered a long way towards the road of success and have made themselves a hallmark in the world of sports.
Sports footwear includes appropriate shoes for different sports. Keeping in view the movement of feet and the type of surface on which a sport is played, the shoes uppers and soles are designed to meet the varying performance requirements.
Textile components form an integral part of sports and sporty look footwear. In terms of value, approximately 20 percent of the components used in sports shoes are textiles, while the remaining cost is contributed by non-textile components such as soles, polyurethane, foam leather on uppers, counters, eyelets etc. Shoe uppers and lining on the counter, socks below the shoe uppers are made of textiles and constitute nearly 95 percent of the total textiles used in sport shoes. Other textile components, though consumed in minor quantities, are nonwoven textiles, laces, tapes, threads, lables, elastic etc. The shoe uppers and linings used in the inner part counters and socks are made of laminated fabrics. Nonwoven fabrics are used as interlinings. The laminated fabrics for shoe uppers may comprise fabric laminated with foam, polyurethane, rubber etc. In the premium range of shoes, sandwiched meshes may be used instead of fabric-foam laminated uppers.
Three different kinds of fabrics, knitted, woven and non-woven are used for sports shoes. The fibres used for such fabrics are polyester, polyester-viscose, cotton and nylon. Sandwiched mesh also known as high-tech three dimensional fabrics Consisting of micro filaments sandwiched between two layers of meshes is also used as alternative to foam laminated fabrics. Fibres used in these fabrics wick moisture away from the skin to the outer layer of the fabric, thereby facilitating faster evaporation. However, such high performance fabrics are used only in some variants of premium range of sports shoes produced by branded companies. Polyester, polypropylene, nylon and cotton are used for Sportech. However, the predominant use is that of polyester since it is cheap. Nylon is used for the premium range of shoes. Cotton is used predominantly in canvas shoes and childrens shoes.
The Indian sports footwear industry is labour intensive and is concentrated in small and cottage industry sector. Nearly 95 percent of sports footwear is produced in the small / cottage units concentrated in and around Delhi and mere 5 percent in the organized sector.
Sports shoes are available in a wide variety at prices lower than leather footwear. These shoes are comfortable and can be worn for different purposes such as jogging, casual wear, leisure wear etc. The increasing use of sportswear as leisure wear has also been positively impacting the demand of sports shoes. As a result, the sports footwear industry has witnessed a healthy growth of around 10-15 percent per annum during the last decade and has grown to a 595 mn. Pairs of sports shoe market, valued at about Rs.5950 crore. The annual consumption of laminated fabrics by sports footwear industry is about 120 mn. Sq. mtrs and 80 percent of the same is sourced indigenously.