Celebrating its 50th anniversary, MICAM exhibitors showcased a plethora of vivid trends and engaging initiatives to keep the shoe universe buzzing.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, and Italy is awash with exhibitions celebrating his artistic genius. Similarly, the MICAM show in Milan, Europe’s largest and oldest shoe fair, served as a showcase of artistic shoe genius. The 50th anniversary edition hosted more than 695 Italian exhibitors along with 608 more from 30 countries displaying their Spring/Summer ’20 collections to an audience of 44,000 visitors.
Those in attendance included a growing contingent of independent retailers from the United States, according to Chuck Schuyler, president of the National Shoe Retailers Association, who was on hand. “Retailers are attending shows like this because product differentiation has become so important,” he says. “Many are rolling out more product introductions during the year than in the past, and they’re looking around the world for brands and styles to set them apart.”
Alan Miklofsky, CEO of Alan’s Shoes, a four-store chain in Arizona, came to MICAM seeking newness as well as bigger profits. “By sourcing brands and styles not carried by my competitors, I can reap higher margins,” he says. “We did find some interesting items that could bring life to our women’s and men’s assortments. Our focus is on brands from Brazil and Turkey.”
The show was divided into Luxury, Contemporary, Cosmopolitan, iKids and Active categories. New exhibits included the Players District, which highlighted sports and outdoor shoes from Lotto, Dolomite, Garmont and Skechers, among others. MICAM also tweaked its Emerging Designers section by pairing each designer with a prominent influencer to help spread the word at the show. Another 50th anniversary initiative was It’s Shoe Time!, an exhibition that took visitors on a digital trip through five decades of pop culture and shoe trends.
Comfort was a consistent theme throughout the show. Dressier labels balanced out their offerings with sneakers, flats and loafers. Sustainability
also continued to be a strong theme, led by technology upgrades that no longer sacrifice style for eco-friendliness.
Mid-height and high heels got sculptural treatments, often with sharp vertical lines evoking Art Deco skyscrapers.
Adding heft, height and ‘tude, white and nude lug soles showed up on loafers, lace-ups and work boots.
Brands continue to see a pot of gold at the end of their rainbow-infused designs. Pollini rolled out water snake pumps and slingbacks with painted rainbow stripes, not to mention rainbow stripes in canvas, while Brunate went for a dressy mesh loafer. Metallic foils also come into play in a rainbow of hues adding shimmer and shine to the trend.
Rattan patterns have long been a staple in spring/summer footwear collections, but usually in more natural colors and materials. Designers updated the classic look with shiny metallic in gold, silver and copper, as well as paired it with synthetic materials such as Lucite heels.
The bar on what defines a men’s sneaker has been raised—again. Look for dressy and elegant luxury uppers with antiqued leather mixed with traditional sneaker soles, or leather sneakers with a leather sole/rubber bottom hybrid and loafers with sneaker bottoms.
Emojis had their run; now it’s graffiti and sketch designs that send a stylish message.
Scarves—either built-in or removable to accessorize around a wrist, hair or handbag—took last season’s oversized bows trend up a notch. Bold and colorful, they were a playful alternative to traditional laces.
The lion might be the king of the jungle, but zebras and tigers are the alpha animal print in shoes for next season. Leopard and snake prints made strong showings as well, sometimes in beyond wild mashups.
Behold, a materials story in men’s that moved beyond distressed leather. The openwork and tight-knit weaves came in a range of hues and materials, creating an exciting shelf option.
Offering sheer coverage and sexy transparency, both clear and colored mesh updated everything from cowboy and dressy booties to sneakers.
Bold neon was big in men’s and women’s. The ’80s flashback popped up on Pretty Ballerinas, which teamed with supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio for a capsule of pointy or rounded toes. Others sported pops of neon on laces, piping and soles.
The latest crop of straw and fabric woven styles featured interesting texture blends and mixed materials.
Bold yet minimal, decorative gold and silver buckles let suede and leather detailing show through.