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December 2011

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  • Leisure Class: The preppy staple earns street-cred with wild color, prints and sparkle.
  • Hot Lunch: Spring's designer dress styles meet the cafeteria.
  • Pre-occupied: Protesting might be the new black, but that doesn't mean it's wearing well.
  • Caped Crusaders: Not just for superheroes anymore, the chic, versatile cape has made a sweeping comeback this season. By Dorothy Hong
  • It’s a Nice Day for a Bright Wedding: Something blue, coral, purple, pink and red—modern brides say "I do" to color.
  • No Kidding Around: Times are tough, yet Bill LaRossa, president of Primigi USA, believes sticking to the guiding principles that have built the luxury kids' brand into a category leader will enable the company to weather the storm.
  • Stock Options: Get 'em while they're hot: These styles are in stock and ready to land on store shelves within the next 60 days.
  • Keeping up with the Big Dogs: With the Internet poised to become the holiday's most popular shopping destination, independent retailers are finding creative ways to compete with Zappos and Shoebuy.

October/November 2011

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  • Fighting the Good Fight: The footwear industry unites to support Breast Cancer Awareness month.
  • Who Says You Can’t Go Home?: A New Orleans native ditches the Big Apple for the Big Easy and helps rebuild her family's shoe stores after Hurricane Katrina.
  • Bases Loaded: Larry Schwartz, CEO of Aetrex Worldwide, discusses how the company's vertically integrated approach—spanning shoes to orthotics to foot scanning devices—is knocking it out of the park.
  • Booting Up: As temperatures drop, stylish New Yorkers are pulling up their boots—once again the fashion statement of the season. By Dorothy Hong
  • Roll Your Own: Men's comfort aces a street-smart attitude.
  • Charting New Territory: He who hesitates is lost. Many a footwear company has fallen victim to the aforementioned phrase, which can also fall under the guise of resting on one's laurels or getting soft. And then there are those companies that reach a certain girth and become too big to move. The nimble nature that brought them to the forefront is replaced by a big-business mentality that is counterproductive—and demoralizing—to the entrepreneurs that got the company off the ground.
  • Royal Highness: Rich, spicy colors reign supreme for spring.
  • Quiet Giant: The classic monk strap resurfaces for spring.

September 2011

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  • Show Times: The latest traffic and trend reports out of ENKWSA, FFANY, OR, TASM and FN Platform.
  • A Well-Respected Man: Post Metrosexual and Retrosexual revolutions, today's male seeks a refined balance as a legion of classic brands and up-and-comers answer the call.
  • Running Man: An artisan at heart and a salesman by trade, Trevor Delmore, vice president of sales for Coogi Footwear, discusses his passion for selling cutting-edge street fashion and why the pursuit never gets old.
  • Ladies and Gentlemen: Breaking tradition, Spring '12 lace-ups sport rich color with burnished and distressed treatments.
  • Pedal Pushers: It's economical, eco-friendly and just plain fun: New Yorkers are hopping on their bikes to get around town in style. No Spandex, please.
  • Ten Years After: Remembering 9/11
  • Dream Weavers: Woven details and soft colors enter southwest territory for men and women this spring.
  • Far Out: Big, bold and full of sole, the flatform dominates the season.

August 2011

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  • The Devil Inside: Smart preventative measures can keep employee theft from hurting your store's bottom line.
  • The Real Jersey Shore: Forget Snooki, self-tanner and over-gelled wannabe Romeos. Despite what MTV may say, for these footwear retailers, the real Jersey Shore is full of locals who flock to the coast for sun, sports and style.
  • American Accent: Rob Rask, managing director of Ara Shoes North America, reveals why the German-based Euro comfort company—already a major player around the world—is positioned to take the country by storm.
  • Block Party: Designers color inside the lines.
  • Arm Candy: Big and many: Stacked bangles make a bold statement and contrast well with barely-there summer shoe styles.
  • A Vote For Change: Ever since life after the Great Financial Collapse was dubbed the "new normal" by pundits and adopted by millions of confused and rattled-to-the-core consumers, the sad reality is that there's little normalcy in this new landscape. It's so disturbing, perplexing and rapidly changing that if your head is not spinning by now, it might be because you've stuck it into the sand.
  • Kiss the Sky: Rich leathers, earthy textures and a blend of sun-washed and vibrant colors sets spring '12 aglow.
  • Opposites Attract: The chic color scheme makes a strong statement for spring.

July 2011

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  • Shopping Goes Social: Facebook is poised to become a booming online marketplace. Follow these top tips from social-marketing pros to set up shop and start cashing in.
  • Baring It All: The minimalist running category is red hot with emerging brands, fresh designs and new claims related to the concept's approach to the age-old exercise of running. The latest market analysis and Spring '12 products are sure to keep the buzz going.
  • Revolutionary Times: Angel Martinez, chairman and CEO of Deckers Outdoor, on the company's evolving portfolio and its place in the revolutionary worlds of social media, sourcing and emerging brands.
  • Hamptons Chic: Casual sandals top the packing list of city dwellers summering in the Hamptons.
  • Turning the Tables: I'm the one who asks the questions. For more than 20 years as a working journalist, I've been the interviewer and, with respect to my tenure at Footwear Plus, it's been in search for answers to help readers better understand the latest goings-on in our industry as well as to get to know the people behind the brands and storefronts. The selling of shoes is a people business, and learning about the individuals can only be of help. Beyond that, it's fascinating to learn where people come from—literally and figuratively.
  • Sweet: Feminine silhouettes and tranquil hues lend a breath of fresh air to spring '12 sneakers.
  • Mr. Sandman: Designers dust off classic kicks with leather and preppy details.
  • Pinkalicious: Bubblegum shades add a pop of color for Spring '12.

June 2011

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  • You Heard It Here First: Next spring's leading trends revealed.
  • Steely Determination: The story of how Reyers, "the world's largest shoe store," withstood the test of time—for 125 years and counting.
  • Triple Play: With a three-brand approach spanning the wellness, comfort and fashion markets, Gary Champion, president of Earth, has the company's bases covered and positioned for rapid growth.
  • Male Pattern Boldness: Loud prints take root on men's styles this fall.
  • Kidding Around: Big Apple kids bring spring to life with animal prints, colorful stripes and funky shoes.
  • Revisiting the Classics: What's Old Is New
  • Catch the Color Wave: A hint of shimmer and scaling heights enliven the latest color-soaked dress styles. Photography by Alexandra Carr.
  • Saddle Up: Color and texture distinguish the plain-toe shoe.

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.