Primigi, the Italian children’s shoe brand that belongs to the IMAC group, is beginning to offer more widely abroad a 4-year-old line of shoes for male and female adults, Igi & Co., that was previously sold only in Italy. It will be presented at various international shoe shows for the Fall/Winter 2006/07 season, featuring many functional models made with Gore-Tex membranes. Gore-Tex is also going to be a bigger component of Primigi’s line of children’s shoes for the same season.

The collaboration with Gore-Tex, which began with its Fall 2005 collection, after the disappearance of Elefanten from the market, reportedly helped Primigi to boost its sales in Germany and other foreign markets. According to Shuhkurier, Germany has become the biggest foreign market for Primigi, followed by the USA. Other important markets are France, the UK, Holland and Scandinavia, but Italy still represents about half of the brand’s total annual deliveries of about 7 million pairs, and the Scandinavian market has yet to be developed further. SBS A/S, the Norwegian distribution company of Jon Goethesen, took on the agency for Primigi in Norway and Sweden a few weeks ago.

For its part, Legero, the Austrian children’s footwear company affiliated with the German Ara Shoes group, has been working with Gore-Tex since almost 20 years, but its sales of Superfit shoe with the well-known membrane more than doubled last year to over 500,000 pairs, again probably because retailers could no longer obtain Gore-Tex shoes from Elefanten. Legero sold last year more than 1.5 million pairs of Superfit shoes in 2005, and it is reportedly aiming for more than two million pairs in 2006. The number of retail clients doubled last year to more than 3,200, of which nearly 2,000 operate in Germany.