In June, Trip Randall, a former long-time Nike executive, became the third CEO in Superfeet‘s 46-year history. He talks with SGB Executive about the outsized growth potential still ahead for Superfeet as well as for the overall insoles category.

Randall, who replaced retiring CEO John Rauvola, was most recently global brand president of Denon, one of Japan’s leading manufacturers of audio, home theater and software products, where he led the repositioning of the brand and drove record sales results. Prior to joining Denon in 2021, he had a 23-year career at Nike with roles including VP and general manager of Nike Running in North America, global VP and general manager of, and VP of global sales and marketplace for Nike Kids.

What have you learned about the insoles opportunity? The category is healthy, growing, and competitive with larger, established players who have deep heritage like Superfeet, which was founded in 1977, and smaller and start-up brands vying for market share and the attention of consumers. The consumer is the big winner here as this energy will translate into innovation and ultimately even better product solutions.

That said, the insole category might be one of the best-kept secrets in the performance and wellness space.  Since joining Superfeet, I’ve had all sorts of people I’ve met taking their shoes off in public and showing me their Superfeet insoles, and, of course, their feet.  And I’m finding out how many loyal consumers we have out there. But I wouldn’t have known with our product hidden away underfoot!

I’ve also begun to learn about the complexities of the foot and how much of our personal wellness begins with the foundation we create for our feet.  Whether you’re running a marathon, on your feet all day at work, or treating plantar fasciitis, our products make such a positive impact on people’s lives. And our approach to each of these use cases needs to be different and uniquely tailored to serve these specific consumers. We believe this represents a significant amount of untapped market potential.

What attracted you to Superfeet? What’s special about the brand?  I had been leading a well-known global premium audio brand, after almost 25 years at Nike, and our team there went through a successful private equity sale to a strategic buyer. That experience and transition motivated me to stop and re-evaluate what was important to me and exactly what I was looking for in my next opportunity. I have always gravitated to brands that have existing, loyal—even rabid—fan bases and, of course, those with growth potential and solid fundamentals financially. But the two criteria that rose to the top for me were purpose and culture. Superfeet is a best-in-class example of a brand that delivers on both—it’s truly the secret sauce that makes it such a special place.

The Superfeet team comes to work every day with the aim to be the essential life-changing shape under every foot out there. The in-real-life stories of our products helping people achieve their potential and reach their goals inspires our team, and it inspires me. And we believe our responsibility extends beyond the product connections we make with our consumers. Superfeet gives 1% of all sales back to our partner organizations and causes who are doing their own amazing work and need our help to better the world. We also have specific and measurable goals and strategies directed at our people, our planet and our giving that are led and fed by teammates from all over the company. This was the purpose-driven backbone I found when I first engaged with the Superfeet team and frankly, it blew me away.

What I also found was a culture that wasn’t just words on a piece of paper in a presentation deck filed away somewhere. I found a team that walked the talk regarding authenticity, empowerment, treating each other well and having each other’s backs regardless of the situation. I have been meeting with our teammates from all areas and levels of the company as part of my onboarding journey and I hear the stories — you simply can’t make this stuff up. That’s really hard to find. And it is what makes Superfeet such a great place to work. My goal is to do all I can to support, contribute to, and build on the existing culture and purpose-driven mission and to leverage it as the competitive advantage that it is.

Is run by far Superfeet’s biggest category? How has Superfeet been able to differentiate itself within the run category?While I can’t get into specifics, it’s no secret that the running category is a very important part of our business and our connection with athletes. And this is a space that is the epicenter of innovation for the category today. Running shoes have changed, training methods continue to evolve, and everyone is looking for an advantage, no matter how small.  Superfeet delivers that data-backed advantage today and we will continue to deliver new and better solutions to runners. We are also extremely fortunate to have some of the best retail partners in the industry in the running space and I’d be remiss to not acknowledge the legions of associates on the frontlines at retail fitting runners with our products.  These partners understand the comfort, pain relief and performance advantage our product delivers to runners, as well as the impact pairing a shoe sale with an insole can have on their bottom line.

Where do you see Superfeet’s biggest opportunity outside run?  Without publishing our playbook in SGB, I’d say that our biggest challenge is not finding opportunity in the insole and foot health space — it’s definitely there. Our challenge will be picking and prioritizing the spots where we believe the core values and proposition of the Superfeet brand can be best leveraged to serve a new set of consumers. And we’ll look to not spread ourselves too thin so that we can deliver a standard of excellence in new areas of exploration that matches or even exceeds that of the core Superfeet business. In doing so, we also will not lose sight of what got us here which is our core business and the loyal consumers and retail partners that we have today.

 Superfeet earlier this year introduced new names and redesigned packaging for its range of insoles, including its iconic Green Insoles that’s celebrating its 40th anniversary. What drove the change? The recent changes we made to our product naming convention and all the related consumer touchpoints – which were many! – was born directly out of consumer insights and listening intently to how our consumers were making decisions about what insole is best for them. We saw an opportunity to not only simplify the self-serve journey on our website and in partner stores but also the experience of retail associates who are fitting people every day on store floors.  The rollout is not yet complete and has been a huge team effort by our whole Superfeet crew, but in locations we have made the transition, the feedback has been positive.  And, there really is no end game to this type of experience improvement. We will continue to take the pulse of consumers and our retail partners and will be open to feedback and insights that will continue to remove friction from the fitting process and consumer experience. Oh, and for all those long-time die-hard Superfeet fans out there, we kept our colors consistent so you can find still find your way back to your favorite Superfeet green!

What exciting things does Superfeet have coming down the pike? One exciting development that I can share has been our recent commitment to more deeply engage with our retailers at the leadership and street level. Some activities that were core to the Superfeet way of doing business were challenged and even paused during the pandemic for a variety of reasons, many beyond the team’s control. While we reluctantly needed to make those changes, we also know that one of our advantages has always been the strength of our relationships with our partners and the benefit we get from meeting with them to get their feedback on what’s working and also what can be improved. And we know that there is no replacement for this kind of face-to-face interaction. We recently had a group of franchise owners from one of our top retail partners out to our headquarters for what we call Superfeet University for three days of interactive discussions regarding all areas of the business. The discussion was productive, the feedback on the value of the visit was very strong and we intend to keep the pedal down here. Getting back to basics can make a huge impact when done right.

What’s it like going from Nike to Superfeet?  When I moved from Nike to the audio and consumer electronics space, I said I had gone from sneakers to speakers. Well…I’m kind of back, at least I’m a lot closer to the foot and back at a performance-oriented brand helping people be better at whatever it is they do. I did make a stop in-between Nike and Superfeet as president of Denon Worldwide which added a number of new tools to my toolbox. As far as Nike is concerned, my almost 25 years there were amazing and I’ll always bleed a bit of the swoosh. The people, the once-in-a-lifetime run of athletes I experienced, and of course the product innovation and consumer frenzy that it created were unmatched. That said, at these larger brands there can be lots of cooks and culture can be a roller coaster where the compass can get off point.  At Superfeet, I feel I’ve found a brand that reflects the values that I deem essential to creating both team and business success. I get the humbling opportunity to lead a team that is relentlessly chasing its bold vision in the wellness space and does so with purpose and culture as is backbone. It is truly a “pinch me, is this real?” moment in my career.

Photo courtesy Superfeet