IMBOX Protection Leads PFA-Free Evolution for Instore Retailers

IMBOX Protection Leads PFA-Free Evolution for Instore Retailers

 In recent years, the instore retail landscape for active lifestyle brands experienced a significant shift towards sustainability. Established retailers such as DICK’S and REI are spearheading this movement by setting ambitious targets eliminating polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) from their offerings by 2026. PFAS, commonly referred to as “forever chemicals,” pose environmental challenges due to their non-biodegradable nature. According to the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), states like California, Colorado, and New York are taking proactive measures to eradicate PFAS from various textiles, especially in the realm of shoes. Furthermore, Maine and Minnesota have enacted legislation prohibiting the use of PFAS across all applications. This concerted effort signals a broader commitment within the industry to embrace climate-friendly practices and prioritize the well-being of both consumers and the environment. 

This move not only reflects a commitment to environmental responsibility, but also, underscores the need for retailers to meet the growing consumer demand for eco-friendly practices. While some industry leaders embrace the challenge of going PFA-free, others face scrutiny for not adhering to new environmental guidelines fast enough. This scrutiny highlights the increasing pressure on retailers to adopt planet-friendly practices and signals a big turn towards a more eco-conscious consumer base. 

The transition to PFA-free practices is not just a boon for the environment, it presents significant advantages for retailers and consumers. Retailers benefit from aligning with earth-friendly values and enhancing their brand reputation. Consumers feel better about purchasing products that are free from harmful substances, contributing to a healthier and more sustainable lifestyle. Amid this movement, IMBOX Protection stands out as a pioneer providing the footwear industry with the world’s only in-store footwear protection system. 

At the core of IMBOX Protection’s contribution to the PFA-free movement is the IMBOX Flagship, its proprietary shoe protection system. With IMBOX Protection available in 33 countries and across over 7,000 stores, safeguarding shoes has never been more convenient. Customers visit any store equipped with IMBOX Protection technology, such as SNIPES in New York City, New York, or Dillard’s in Dallas and select their preferred shoe purchase. The chosen shoes are placed inside the IMBOX Protection container where customers may opt for a treatment using six nozzles, ensuring an even coating, guaranteeing comprehensive protection from rain, dirt, snow, salt, bleaching from the sun, and much more. This efficient treatment process takes one minute and provides long lasting protection for up to six weeks. 

Unlike traditional methods, the fluid in IMBOX Protection’s Flagship in the U.S. is water-based and entirely free from PFAS and has CE (European Union safety/performance approval) and UL (Global safety/performance approval) approval, signifying a commitment to high-quality standards in eco-friendly shoe protection. Any excess particles from the fluid treatment are extracted from the spray chamber and collected in a carbon filter so no materials are wasted, further cementing the eco-conscious model. 

The IMBOX Protection systems go beyond extending the life of footwear and promoting a PFA-free formulation—they actively contribute to the reduction of environmental impact by minimizing chemical usage, preventing water and soil pollution, as well as fostering consumer awareness of sustainable choices. 

As consumers become more discerning in their choices, IMBOX Protection clearly sets its retail partners apart from the competition in a crowded market. 

“As the oldest and largest footwear trade association in the U.S., FDRA brings together brands and retailers engineering the next generation of technologies making our community better together,” says Andy Polk of FDRA. “IMBOX Protection has solidified its position as a leader in the shoe protection category. We are enthusiastic that one of our members offers this innovative in-store experience to enhance merchandising efforts throughout the industry. This service—versatile, convenient, and affordable—fits perfectly across all retail categories, enriching the shopping experience. Moreover, it aligns seamlessly with the latest PFAS regulations, ensuring compliance alongside innovation..”