Winning product: Mary Myers II shoe

2016 Best for Wellbeing Onboard

Skypro’s Mary Myers II shoe won the 2016 Onboard Hospitality Award as Best for Wellbeing Onboard. Designed and created in Portugal, this is just one of a range of crew comfort products offer by this highly specialised and successful company explains Skypro’s Jorge Pinto…

Q.How do you and your team get your inspiration for new products?
A. We are inspired by the heroes who make every flight amazing for their passengers! These heroes are the airport crew, the cabin crew, and the flight attendants and the pilots who are always ready to take care of their clients in all sorts of environments, time zones and latitudes. These heroes are the real inspiration for me and my team. Our aim is to create products that really improve life and performance and my vision is to make Skypro the first uniform and footwear company that airlines think of when they need absolute comfort, durability and ultimate care.

Q.How did this product come about?
A. SkyPro (originally Abotoa Lda) has been interested in creating comfortable footwear since 2014, working with footwear brand Aerosoles. We launched occupational footwear in 2007 and 2008 and became the sole footwear providers for Portuguese airline, TAP. With this client-focused experience, the team started to understand the constant need for comfortable work footwear. By 2012, we had received the GAPI award for Technical Shoes, opened an online store and were working in partnership with D&F Marketing to promote the shoes. We got the first certified men’s shoes that complied with the international standard EN ISO 20347.

Q.Are airlines receptive to crew wellbeing initiatives?
A. Since 2014 we have specialised in developing shoes, clothing and accessories for all airline professionals, using the latest technology to provide crews the ultimate care they need. We became aware very quickly that good, comfortable footwear for crew did not exist. Most of the designs compromised wellbeing and health and we believed airlines should treat crew shoes like a work support or a working tool. Skypro wants to help redefine aviation best practices, standards and recommendations for the protection, health and best performance of the airline professionals. We also want to play a role in the implementation of best practice through collaboration with IATA. Working closely with our airline clients gives us insights about their needs and concerns, and allows us to gain useful crew feedback and stay one step ahead of the market.

Q.Have you managed to get the product onboard?
A. Our clients, include Lufthansa, Delta, Southwest, Virgin Australia, Ethiopian Airlines, Tarom, Air Astana, Aegean, TAP and Air Mauritius. They recognise the innovation and development efforts of our products and we have already been awarded “Best Supplier of the Year” by Etihad Airways as well as this Wellbeing Award by Onboard Hospitality.

Q.Why do you think this product has been so successful?
A. We are the first company in the world dedicated to the care of airline crew and we have worked with a team of researchers and specialists in the areas of production methods, traditional clothes and footwear makers. Skypro has the only footwear certified for aviation professionals by the International Organization for Standardization (EN ISO 20347:2012). Ours is the only brand that develops unique products with the ultimate Fullsense Skyprotect technology.

Q.How has winning an Onboard Hospitality Award helped your business?
A. This recognition encourages us in the Skypro mission to develop innovative product lines and provide excellent services that ensure the performance, wellbeing, protection and healthy life of airline industry professionals.

Q.What exciting project/trend are you responding to next?

A. Our most innovative products include a thermodynamic shirt with body control temperature, the SlimFit underwear, and flight socks to prevent DVT (deep vein thrombosis)- all designed in response to feedback from crew.

Future projects under development are: “Uniforms of the Future” and the “Best Aviation Shoe”. Our uniforms R&D project aims to develop the best textiles and uniforms for the aviation industry incorporating digital printing and new joining processes (heat sealing, ultrasound, high frequency). And the shoe project brings together a taskforce of specialists to combine cutting-edge technology with traditional Portuguese shoemaking tools, insights and techniques with the aim of creating new standards of aviation footwear.