Fed up with the overload of neon outsoles, camo print and sneakerized brogues in men’s shoe departments, Steffan Safhill decided to put his frustration to good use and in 2012 launched Northern Cobbler. “I wanted to do top-end casual products that at the time were really missing from the market.
Airwalk’s JIM series turns 20 this year and to celebrate, the brand has brought back the Tennis–again. First introduced in 1994, a limited number of sneakers hit stores in 2010, and the style is now available on airwalk.com for $70. Inspired by traditional sports and high school gym class, the sneaker is made from neon fuzzy tennis ball felt.
Think lightweight running shoes are just a fad? Think again. Thirty percent of total performance running footwear sales in October 2013, which was up 22 percent when compared to the year ago period, came from lightweight running. “Innovation continues to set the pace,” says Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst. “Consumers are looking for athletic shoes that will perform better than earlier models with a lighter, more comfortable weight. We have also noticed an attraction to brighter, bold colors.
Heritage boot maker Wolverine has picked 21-year-old Lorin Paley as this year’s Guardian Project Ambassador, which aims to highlight the valuable work of outdoor enthusiasts and achieve a deeper understanding of the specific product needs of those serving in these demanding positions. Paley has been an ambassador for Outdoor Nation, a non-profit dedicated to connecting youth with nature through grants supporting project ideas and outdoor events.
Converse is no stranger to musician collaborations, having joined forces with everyone from Nirvana to ACDC to Metallica over the years. Now the iconic brand has teamed up with Black Sabbath to bow a collection of five designs based on its classic Chuck Taylor All-Stars.
Skechers announced yesterday that it would donate more than 54,000 pairs of shoes through its Bobs program to support Baby2Baby, a charity that provides families in need with essential baby gear and clothing. Working with donating partner Fashion Delivers, the first shipment of 1,600 new pairs of Bobs arrived for Baby2Baby’s third annual holiday party at the charity’s L.A. headquarters. During the event, families and children in need decorated their new shoes with celebrity guests Gwen Stefani, Jessica Alba, Michelle Monaghan, Nicole Richie, Molly Simms, Busy Phillipps and Julie Bowen.
Sarah Jessica Parker has revealed a sneak peek at her upcoming footwear collection, due to hit Nordstrom later this month. As featured in the February issue of Lucky, the Diana is a black patent Mary Jane single-sole stiletto with an assymetrical strap and simple gold buckle. As everyone from Racked to Huffington Post has pointed out, the pump bears a striking resemblance to a Manolo Blahnik style lusted over by the shoe-obsessed Carrie Bradshaw, SJP’s most famous role, in the Urban Shoe Myth episode of HBO’s Sex and the City.
While China still supplies more than eight out of every 10 shoes sold in the U.S., domestic production is on the up. A recent report by the AAFA (American Apparel and Footwear Association) found that in 2012, the number of shoes manufactured in the United States increased by 9 percent. This rise combined with a corresponding fall in imports caused import penetration in the footwear market to fall slightly for the second year in a row, from 98.7 percent to 98.6 percent.
Forever 21 is the latest fast fashion brand to bank on shoes. Joining the likes of Nasty Gal, Gap and H&M, the chain will soon debut a range of 10 trend-driven styles of higher quality–and price–than its past inexpensive offerings. Prices will range from $49 to $79. Forever 21 recently came under fire for its existing footwear and accessories when unsafe amounts of lead were found in several items.
Puma has added to its long list of star sponsorships by inking a deal with AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli. The controversial soccer player wore the brand’s boots for the first time last week against Roma when he sported a custom pair of evoPower Stampa FG covered in newspaper headlines from his colorful career. “Puma’s support for the Italian national team was [an] instrumental reason for me signing this contract and I am sure that the coming years will bring many good things for us all,” Balotelli says.