Making the Little Man

Florsheim debuts a line for the mini-gentleman in every woman’s life.

THE OLD SAYING, “My father’s Florsheims,” may soon be adding “and my son’s too” to the phrase that has come to signify the brand’s standing among men. Florsheim, the 120-year-old classic shoemaker, is sizing down its high- quality craftsmanship into a boys’ collection for Fall ’12.

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Florsheim debuts a line for the mini-gentleman in every woman’s life.

THE OLD SAYING, “My father’s Florsheims,” may soon be adding “and my son’s too” to the phrase that has come to signify the brand’s standing among men. Florsheim, the 120-year-old classic shoemaker, is sizing down its high- quality craftsmanship into a boys’ collection for Fall ’12.

Since its inception in 1892, Florsheim has focused on creating well-made shoes packed with tailored and refined styling, durability and comfort for the man who appreciates both fashion and function. Similarly, the Florsheim boys’ line will offer plenty of those features with inspiration stemming from the men’s line.

Yet while the boys’ silhouettes include traditional loafers, wingtips, chukka boots, saddle shoes and boat shoes, the collection also features many of the fun twists that trickled down from Florsheim’s 2010 collaboration with ever-colorful designer Duckie Brown, notes Brodie Tierney, lead designer for Florsheim. “While it’s basic, we really want to focus on the fun aspect, too,” adds Beverly Goldberg, vice president of Florsheim. “It’s really important for us to have color,” she says, pointing to details like bright blue and green detailing on saddle shoes and red chukka boots.

This mix of fashion and playful details is the reason Tierney believes Florsheim Kids will have both parents and sons alike gravitating toward the new line. “The mother picks out the saddle shoe or something more classic, but the kid also has the option to choose something besides black or brown,” he offers. “It’s a good blend of what kids are interested in and what mothers, who are picking this out, want.”

Goldberg also points to the shoes’ price range—$50 to $55 at retail—as another attractive selling aspect. “There seems to be a void in the market at this price point,” she says. “We think we have a quality-value that the customer embraces.”

Florsheim Kids will consist of several collections. First, the dress and uniform styles feature five silhouettes, such as moc toe oxfords and penny loafers. The Getaway category includes more casual plain toe oxfords and bike toe slip-ons, while the fashion package highlights four styles: a saddle shoe, a classic chukka, a casual wingtip and a buck oxford. In the future, Tierney plans to experiment with sandals and driving moccasins as well as new materials and a range of fresh colors to keep customers coming back for more. “We recognize that kids are also decision makers,” Goldberg says, “and we want them to want these shoes.” —Mary Avant

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