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April/May 2011

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  • Make It Rain: Rain gear retailers and manufacturers offer key tips for sunny sales in stormy weather.
  • Midwestern Moxie: When times got tough, Jane and Matt Stricker got going, building their Nebraska comfort boutique Footloose & Fancy into a growing chain.
  • Utilitarian Man: Bill Combs, CEO of Bogs Footwear, talks about the recent acquisition by Weyco Group, makers of Florsheim, and why even if the rain boot craze were to dry up tomorrow, the brand's future remains lush.
  • Zip It: The closure takes front and center stage this fall.
  • Love Rain: With new silhouettes, trendy details and signature color pops, Fall '11 rain boots shape-shift their way into fashion. Photography by Jason Hindley.
  • The Other Sheen: Sleek heels and patent leather prove to be a winning combination for fall.
  • Looks Like Rain: In case you have been living under a rock the past year, the country is awash in rain boots. When it rains (or snows), it pours wellies—many in cheery colors and whimsical patterns. Rubber boots are the latest utilitarian fashion statement in a long line of user-friendly footwear staples, including Merrell's Jungle Mocs, Ugg sheepskin boots, Crocs and ubiquitous flip-flops, to cite a few.
  • Rockin’ Rubber: When the forecast calls for rain, New York streets become awash in the latest utilitarian fashion wave: wellies.

March 2011

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  • Show Time!: From New York to Atlanta to Salt Lake City to Las Vegas—twice—here's the skinny on what was trending and buzzing about shoes and shows.
  • 2010 Plus Awards Winners: Timeless style, innovative design and expansive collections were just a few reasons retailers honored the following brands with a Plus Award for excellence in design.
  • Straight Talk: Industry veteran Steve Lax, CEO of Yaleet, distributors of Naot, offers a no nonsense lay of the land: the good, the bad, the ugly—and why, despite it all, sales continue to boom for the comfort fashion brand.
  • Blue Man Group: Men's classics evolve in shades of inky blue.
  • Walk Like an Egyptian: In a recent column I wrote how I believed that the world is in desperate need of a groundbreaking movement that would hopefully shake it out of the recessionary doldrums. From a design perspective, I likened this reluctance to embrace newness to post-WWII England before the Mod era ushered in a kaleidoscope of colors, wild fashions and personal freedoms—the result of a pent-up demand finally unleashed following decades of austerity and bleakness.
  • Lost Pictures / Country Strong: Comfort brands mix classic styling with a dash of Western influence for a sophisticated American blend.
  • Tongue Tied: Designers cross wires with exaggerated lacing.
  • Woof & Boots: New Yorkers' best friends sported extra coats and specialty booties to protect against record cold and snowfall.

February 2011

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  • Flash Fame: Hoping their products will spread like wildfire on the web, footwear companies are going viral with eccentric, eye-catching videos.
  • Sense and Sensibility: In today's crowded marketplace and stifling economy, stores are luring shoppers by creating a stimulating, emotional experience. Five footwear retailers share their secrets to tempting consumers with alluring sensory elements.
  • Ready to Rock: David Sharp, president and COO of Rocky Brands, on how the streamlined, recession-tested company's revised approach to shoemaking is right in step with the new business normal.
  • Gilded Era: Metallic hues illuminate a medley of silhouettes.
  • Men With Hats: Stylish men on the streets of the Big Apple top off their looks with '40s-era fedoras and porkpies.
  • Flipping Out?: According to a scandalous article in the right-leaning New York Post, President Obama was caught flip-flopping. No, this had nothing to do with his decision to keep the Bush-era tax cuts in place for the wealthiest Americans. This particular flip-flopping incident had to do with the Commander in Chief being photographed in public wearing—gasp—flip-flops!
  • Chamber Music: Sumptuous velvet, shades of blue and hints of shimmer brew a decadent story for Fall '11.
  • Going Undercover: What lies beneath offers a layered allure for fall.

January 2011

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  • Inside the Outdoors: Suppliers are pushing the performance envelope next fall, answering increasing demands for product versatility—ranging from innovative linings that help pump up blood circulation to styling as suitable on the trails as in the office. The latest outdoor footwear offerings address the anywhere, anytime desires of adventure enthusiasts who seek to travel lightly and move fast. Topping the list are all-purpose shoes that can withstand the elements and handle a variety of terrain.
  • Going Rouge: Shades of scarlet heat up for Fall '11.
  • Mobile Mentality: Retail giants are launching Smartphone shopping applications as more customers go mobile, but should smaller sellers follow suit?
  • The Rain King: Riding the utilitarian rain boots fashion wave, Rob Moehring, CEO of Washington Shoe Company, makers of Chooka and Western Chief, reports that sales nearly doubled in 2010. He forecasts the deluge to continue this year.
  • Sock Options: Bought high or low, tight or bulky, women strutting about New York are bullish on socks this season. By Dorothy Hong
  • Shine a Light: Fashion in Exile
  • Pretty Furry Things: Designers Shed Their Inhibitions With Fierce Fur Boots For Fall. Photography by Cleo Sullivan.
  • Fringe Festival: Kilties accent women's fashions for Fall '11.

December 2010

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  • Is Luxe a Four-Letter Word?: In a post-recession landscape, the demand for designer shoes is tempered by a desire for value and versatility. But will it last?
  • Style Hall of Fame: Our 2010 inductees, the "Earl" Loafer by Hush Puppies and Converse's "Chuck Taylor All Star," join our list of eternally stylish shoes.
  • Evolution Brand: Not one to rest on last season's laurels, James Matush, general manager of Restricted Footwear, discusses the advantages of continually adapting to answer the demands of a rapidly changing market.
  • Delicate China: If 2009 was the year to forget, then 2010 just might go down as unforgettable—for our industry and the world. As everyone tried to define the "new normal" (no one I have spoken with really quite has) and adjust to the consequences of the great financial collapse set in motion more than two years ago, the common thread was this refrain: at least the world hasn't come to an end. Let's all give a shout out for Armageddon being put on hold—temporarily.
  • English Lesson: With a nod to the countryside, Spring '11 wellies honor their aristocratic roots.
  • Hall Monitors: Spotted this fall on the streets of Manhattan, the "Annie Hall look" presents a refreshing blend of retro, utilitarian and collegiate elements rolled into one.
  • American Girl: Solid, stacked and substantial, designers make a powerful statement for spring. Photography by Winona Barton-Ballentine.
  • Basket Case: Whipped, weaved and twisted, men's styles take an indigenous form.

October/November 2010

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  • Face It: It’s no secret that Facebook is changing the way people socialize. But can it change how consumers shop?
  • Selling Wellness: Four retailers addressing different niches share their approach to vending health-benefiting footwear.
  • Fit To Be Tried: Marcia Kilgore, founder and CEO of FitFlop, dishes on why the wellness brand is a lifelong, everyday solution for millions of consumers in addition to those just seeking tighter buns.
  • All-Male Review: Men's spring casuals go au naturel with gritty suede, smooth leather and tough canvas.
  • Reigning Men: Drawing the preppy, the snappy and the handsomely natty, New York’s Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week served as a stomping ground for guys with stand-alone flair.
  • Think Pink: Fighting the good fight.
  • Twilight Existence: Comfy styles in shadowy hues.
  • Rally the Troops: Feminine and military details join forces.
  • Soles4Souls: A Supplement to Footwear Plus

September 2010

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  • What’s Abuzz: Murmurs and musings from the latest trade show circuit.
  • What’s in a Name?: A branding statement, a consumer hook and maybe even a dash of humor, that's what. Here, experts spell out what makes for a great moniker, while retailers dish on what led them to their identities.
  • All in the Family: A born storyteller, Tom Romeo, CEO of Bearpaw, spins a career yarn rivaling any American Dream-like tale of success, complete with stories of fierce loyalty and never-say-die passion, with a few wild tales just for laughs.
  • Trendspotting – September 2010: A look at trends - September 2010
  • Shore Thing: Get your spray tan, hair gel and sky-high heels - it's time to party Jersey Shore style.
  • Ladies Who Launch: Two Ten adds network to elevate women in the industry.
  • Glow: Natural heels and soft colors illuminate Spring's '70s revival.
  • All That Jazz: Razzle dazzle them with '20s-era soft-soles.

August 2010

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  • Spice It Up: Experts weigh in on how to avoid tired retail. By Melissa Knific
  • Olympic Achievement: An eclectic trove of fashionable finds, Opening Ceremony takes home the gold for its ‘fresh, fun and unexpected’ approach to boutique retail. by Leslie Shiers
  • Talking Points: Fueled by the firm belief that everyone wants to be sold something, Angel Martinez, CEO of Deckers Outdoor, discusses why the portfolio continues to do just that: sell a ton of shoes. by Greg Dutter
  • Trendspotting – August 2010: A look at trends - August 2010
  • All’s Well: Toning footwear takes on the Big Apple. by Dorothy Hong
  • Crisis Mode: Always Be Prepared
  • Cut Out: Laser-cut details add graphic punch to spring. Photography by Cleo Sullivan
  • Cuff Links: Cuff Links Covered-ankle sandals put pedicures on display. Clockwise from top left: Joe’s Jeans; Tsubo; Klub Nico; Michael ...

July 2010

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  • Brought to You By…: Athletic brands explore various ways to create product buzz.
  • Stripped: The performance running category goes bare.
  • My Favorite Years: Approaching Dansko's 20th anniversary, CEO Amanda Cabot reveals how the former little clog company has evolved into an industry favorite and a model of corporate excellence.
  • The Wellness Bonus: A Welcome Addition
  • Memory Motel: When it comes to kicks for Spring '11, simple lines, classic profiles and a hint of print offer a laidback sensibility for wherever the road may lead.
  • The New York Kicks: Where the rubber hits the road in the Big Apple.
  • Like Buttah: This fresh, smooth colorway is heavy on the cool factor for spring.
  • Starboard: The boat shoe inspires a new wave of casuals.

June 2010

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  • Pioneer Spirit: Commemorating the brand’s 30th anniversary, White Mountain partners Greg Connors and Kevin Mancuso offer a firsthand account of how a small American manufacturer evolved into a successful worldwide sales and marketing-based sourcing operation.
  • Back to Basics: Streamlined and refocused, the summer trade show circuit gets back to business.
  • Duck, Duck, Boots: Forget hunting season staples: These women's styles come in all colors and heights.
  • Metal Heart: Feminine and masculine collide for androgynous looks. Photography by Aneta Bartos.
  • We Wear Short Shorts: Summer lovin' demands showing some leg. These ladies dare to bare.
  • In the Running: Running is hot. Participation is up as many Americans have turned to a relatively affordable form of exercise, and many more partake in a growing number of charity-related fun runs and walks. Moreover, the industry is on the verge of a potential radical barefoot technology revolution that may change how people run altogether and, subsequently, the types of shoes they will buy.
  • General Patent: A classic material adds a sophisticated sheen.
  • Spring Pickin’s: Experts predict the top trends of early 2011.