Vaulters themselves have not much equipment. Most times just a uniform & their shoes. And the shoes are pretty important to have a good foodhold. We asked Christian Trostel from a shoe manufactory what is important for a shoe & how they started the family business.
Can you please give a short history of your company? From what came the idea to produce special sport/vaulting shoes?
When my great-grandfather, Emil Trostel, began in 1926, he mostly had one-off customers who were athletes he had befriended from local sport clubs or the regional circle of acquaintances. These athletes told my great-grandfather their special wishes for what they wanted in a shoe, and he sewed it for them. That has not changed to this day. We now offer a greater selection of shoe styles, but we still maintain personal contact with our customers. The special wishes and needs are important because this is how we improve our ideas and our shoes: by adapting our shoes to fit the Zeitgeist in the sport and the modifications to the discipline through time.
What distinguishes vaulting shoes from shoes in other sports? What requirements are there?
We are shoe manufacturers, not vaulting specialists, so we have always made sure to work with our customers and incorporate their wishes and insights into our work, which helps navigate the changes and constant adjustments needed to produce the optimal vaulting shoe. This includes especially the comfort of the shoe, the lateral support of the foot in the shoe and the outer adhesion during use. The adhesiveness of the sole is an important issue, so we use the sole structure that has proven over the years to be particularly advantageous. In previous years the quality and composition of the shoe were important issues, and in recent times it is also important for the customer to have flexibility with the shoe’s appearance. Teams come to us who want a vaulting shoe with a tag that uses the same material and the same color of their team uniforms. Some wish to have the team name embroidered on the shoe. We do these things because we want to lead the vaulters to success, not just with a good shoe, but with the confidence and mental attitude that comes from wearing a beautiful design.
Is there a market (national or international) for vaulting shoes? Is it difficult to find your place in this market?
Of course there is a market for vaulting shoes, but it is not as widely spread of a target market as, say, football/soccer shoes. Before the age of the Internet we maintained contact with clubs and athletes through traditional methods like mail and phone, and that worked. And we continue to maintain good relationships today, since digital exchanges make it much easier for groups all over the world to communicate. So, teams or individual customers come to us, and our focus remains on each individual order even if it won’t be the case for good because of the grat number of inquiries. For a long time we have not offered our shoes for sale online, but that is about to change. We will soon open our new online shop for TROSTEL-Sportschuhe, but we still want to continue to serve individual requests personally. We think this is the right mix in order to persist with vaulting shoes in the world market. And the customer may consider: should I buy vaulting shoes off the rack, or from Trostel?
What options are available? What ideas come from the vaulters themselves?
As said before, we work intensively with the vaulters. Even if we’re just introducing new ideas, the ideas are first thoroughly tested. Many ideas come from customers, and that is the basis for our good work. Current versions are classic vaulting shoes and vaulting boots. These are proven products, and we have not yet found a market for further variations. However, if a customer wants a completely different version, we have open minds.
What has changed in recent years? Is the idea/technology still the same?
What has changed is the desire for the vaulting shoe to look chic and modern. We notice our customers typically want club- and team-specific designs, colors, materials, and custom name embroidery. Currently, we have not changed the technology of our base shoes because the material and shoe structure have proven to be good. If new materials come onto the market that show to be beneficial, we always think about the potential for change and innovation.
How does the future look for vaulting shoes? What is more sought-after: increased stability for the foot, or the “barefoot feeling” of being able to feel the horse better?
We cannot assess if more stability in a shoe will be possible in the future, but if it is, we will include it. The classic vaulting shoe will always be important, and the “barefoot feeling” is frequently an individual topic in certain clubs and groups. We think that you can feel the horse very well and be “close” to the horse if you have a very good shoe. Last but not least, safety in this sport is also very important. The vaulting shoe of the future will maybe be even more colorful, but we will determine that based on the needs of our creative and dedicated athletes. We would like to ask the horse, but unfortunately we cannot.
Thank you Christian for the interview. We learned a lot about it. And thank you to Magaret who translated the interview.