Jungle Love: Designers take a walk on the wild side this spring.
In Bloom: A glimmer of sparkle and enchanting adornment awaken the season's delicate pastels.
Twist of Fate: Doug Vesling, president of C-Merit Corporation, makers of Gotta Flurt, Evos and Nord Trail, discusses how proven formulas, along with a few creative twists, are a recipe for success. By Greg Dutter
On the Road Again: The trade show round-up: key trends, traffic reports and juicy topics coming out of FN Platform, FFANY, Outdoor Retailer and The Atlanta Shoe Market among others.
Get a Hold of Your Senses: Recently I was hoofing it across Manhattan’s 8th Street to get my customary “trade show” haircut when it struck me how this retail strip has changed. This east-west street that traverses Greenwich Village used to be lined with numerous independent shoe stores. The smell of leather would waft outside, triggering a Pavlov dog-like response that enticed shoppers into stores where they could then rub the rich leathers between their fingers while a salesperson serviced any requests.
Pop-up Culture: Temporary shops turn empty spaces into quick sales centers and build long-lasting brand awareness. By Lyndsay McGregor
Wish You Were Here: ￼Classic silhouettes jazzed up with pretty braiding, nautical motifs and alluring licks of color create a nostalgic beach vacation vibe.
Tropical Punch: An electric mix of color and florals lend a taste of island living.
Hipster Nation: Urban dwellers weathering the “Baked Apple” dress down their looks for an edgy, cool vibe.
Designers are having a Cinderella-moment with clear heels and uppers.
Sweet Sixteen: Blake Krueger, CEO of Wolverine Worldwide, discusses why the acquisition of Sperry, Saucony, Stride Rite and Keds positions the company’s entire portfolio for tremendous growth in the decades ahead. By Greg Dutter
Read All About It: If you are holding our actual magazine in your hands while reading this page, I want to thank you. I realize that you are busy and the fact that you’re taking time out of your day to read what I have to say—as well as what our staff has worked so hard to say and visualize throughout the pages of our latest show preview—means the world to us.
Into the Light – Outdoor Preview: Spring 2013: Incorporating innovative technologies and colorful athletic styling, the outdoor category continues its seismic shift into everyday wear that spans the Redwood forests to the urban jungles. By Judy Leand
Are We Better Off?: As the election approaches, industry leaders debate how we’re faring today compared with four years ago. By Maria Bouselli
Hey Jute: Espadrille soles are a natural choice for men’s spring styles.
Up All Night: Bright colors, bold patterns and bling turn up the style on sneakers for Spring
A Life’s Work: At 30 years deep, Matt Joyce, president of Highline United, makers of Ash, Tracy Reese and Luxury Rebel among other labels, has made a career out of knowing what women really want when it comes to shoes. By Greg Dutter
In the Works: Occupational brands are raising the comfort bar and taking a load off to help get the job done. By Lyndsay McGregor
Bright Lights: Minimal running shoes in an array of shocking colors are creating a sales stampede. By Angela Velasquez
Get Sporty: They’re everywhere—not just in gyms or on jogging trails. They’re sleek, snazzy and some might even say downright sexy. They come in a rainbow of neon colors, with pink being the most popular of late. They are lightweight, minimal shoes born to run in, although many are used for strutting as much as for huffing and puffing. Leading the way is Nike Free with its distinct chalk-white outsoles. Other chic and techy minimalist running styles making the scene come from Adidas, Saucony, New Balance, Brooks and Skechers, to name a few.
Bow Hunting: Turning ordinary flats into little gifts, bows add a dollop of whimsy.
Trade Show Guide: Chock-full of must-see reasons to attend, the August round of trade shows offers a comprehensive industry overview of the latest Spring ’13 trends from established players and the latest crop of up-and-comers. By Mary Avant and Lyndsay McGregor FN Platform: Bigger and Better
Pop Star: Seeking shoes with personality and pop, Tracy Margolies, vice president DMM of women’s footwear for Saks Fifth Avenue, reveals how gut feelings play an important role in determining which styles make the cut inside one of the nation’s leading arbiters of footwear fashion. By Greg Dutter
Follow the Leader: Bob Mullaney, president of U.S. sales and operations for The Rockport Company, discusses how the brand is regaining its premium leadership position in the comfort space and how the best is yet to come. By Greg Dutter
Boys in the Hoodies: It’s accurate to say that Florida teen Trayvon Martin and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg couldn’t be more opposite: One is dead following highly controversial and racially tinged circumstances; the other is alive and extremely healthy, particularly from a financial standpoint, thanks to the recent IPO of his popular social networking site. The move turned the billionaire into a multi-billionaire so many times over that contemplating his wealth is like trying to comprehend the vastness of space.
Sugar Rush: A new breed of rain boot silhouettes and an assortment of mouthwatering hues keep women coming back for more. Photography by Jason Hindley
The Hills: The tony Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills serves as a style walk of fame for fashion A-listers. By Gary Moss
Faux Finish: Designers trick the eye with trompe l’oeil motifs.
Bird Calls: A flock of feather-embellished dress styles flutter into fashion this fall.
Born In The USA: As Chinese labor shortages continue to be a source of woe and materials and shipping costs skyrocket, a growing number of manufacturers are bringing production back home, answering both logistical needs and an increasing demand for made-in-the-U.S.A. merchandise.
By Lyndsay McGregor
One of a Kind – Joe Salzano: If you haven’t by now actually heard Joe Salzano speak, it’s a good bet you have heard of his passionate message about the art of shoe retailing. A career that now spans more than five decades, the vice president of sales for The Clarks Companies, N.A. continues to crisscross the country delivering his inspirational wisdom and leaving an indelible imprint on the footwear industry.
By Greg Dutter | Illustrations by Ben Marra
Chew on This: John McCarvel, CEO of Crocs, reveals how the brand has bounced back—bigger than ever at $1 billion in annual sales in 2011—and why the projection to double that hefty sales volume is in reach within five years. By Greg Dutter
Few brands trigger a stronger reaction than Crocs. A mere mention of the purveyor of those foam-like clogs in garish colors sends fashion bullies into a tizzy. They’re loud. They’re puffy. They’re goofy. And, many are convinced, they’re downright fugly.
The People You Meet: Life is a journey where the people you meet are collected along the way, forming a long reel of characters that increases as the years go by. Some play starring roles for decades; others are those select few whom you meet once but never forget. There are far more who come in and out of your life like cameos and eventually fade into a cast of thousands of faceless extras.
Chic Week: Attendees at New York Fashion Week brought their A-game. By Melodie Jeng
Chukka On: Rich textures and a dip of color refreshes the men’s staple for fall.
The American Dream: ￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Refined and reserved, fall styles reflect a bygone era.
2011 Plus Awards Winners: Innovative design and a commitment to superior service are synonymous qualities of this year’s Plus Award winners for excellence in design and retail.
Show Time!: fall trends, show vibes and industry buzz
Happy Days: Luke Chen, COO of Alegria, discusses how the comfort brand’s happy premise is delivering smiles and sales to its expanding base of retailers and creating millions of loyal, elated consumers along the way. By Greg Dutter
Primary Colors: Our country’s primary colors are red, white and blue. Our two major political parties’ primary colors are red (Republicans) and blue (Democrats) and, for too long, there’s been zero mixing of the two. The primary colors of our industry, year in and year out, are black and brown. However, some primary colors for Fall ’12 look to be jewel tones, such as burgundy, saffron and emerald. The primary color of presidential hopeful Mitt Romney is—well, if milquetoast is a color, then I’d vote for that. The primary color of Newt Gingrich is muddy.
Pop Life: Timeless charm is buoyed by fall's quirky details and color combos
Thinking Outside the Box: Four successful retailers—a bike shop, a cupcake boutique, a coffee house and an art store—offer universal insights on how they are thriving in the borderless, digital retail age by thinking locally. By Lyndsay McGregor hat can a footwear retailer learn from a tasty cupcake boutique in Colorado or a snazzy bike shop in Connecticut? How about from a trendy coffee shop in Texas or a boutique art store in Indiana? The short answer: A whole lot.
Fine China?: Battered by escalating costs and worker shortages, footwear manufacturers brace for a tough year ahead in the People’s Republic—and begin to look elsewhere for sourcing. By Audrey Goodson
Lift Off: Bob Infantino: Bob Infantino, president of Drydock Footwear, makers of Aravon, Dunham and the new Cobb Hill, reveals how the company came into being and why it will be a comfort-based powerhouse right off the launch pad. By Greg Dutter
Neigh York: Equestrian-themed boots are in full gallop on the streets of Manhattan this winter.
Lace Makers: Fall dress styles are laced with peeks of satin and head-turning heels.
Stuff Happens: IF THE POPULARITY of certain TV shows is a strong indication of what Americans are really interested in, then recent cable ratings say a whole lot about what the country is really into right now. It boils down to one word: stuff. Be it old stuff, forgotten stuff, antique stuff, junky stuff, possibly valuable stuff, icky stuff, some really big stuff and, ultimately, what to do with all that stuff. Our country is awash in a sea of stuff. Why else would reality shows like American Pickers, Pawn Stars and Storage Wars consistently rank in the top 10, week after week?
A New Breed: Led by the successful relaunch of the iconic Pillow Boot, Steve Sedlbauer, president of Cougar Footwear, discusses how the classic cold-weather boot company’s rebirth into a stylish, upscale lifestyle brand is heating up. By Greg Dutter
Rock Steady: Despite tough economic obstacles, the outdoor category continues its consistent growth trajectory, delivering what consumers increasingly desire: versatile, minimal and fashionable shoes suitable for a rugged hike or a walk in the park. By Mary Avant
Encore Performance: Despite unseasonably warm weather that made sales more challenging, manufacturers are setting the stage for another blockbuster boot season next fall with added styles and features. By Audrey Goodson
Classic Boots: From tough biker and rugged western styles to comfy knits and rich shades of plum, the Fall’ ’12 boots preview offers an array of classic options.
We Salute You: Military-inspired coats and jackets have been called into active duty to combat winter’s chill.
Wood Stock: After seasons of burnin’ rubber, designers go against the grain with wood-sole boots.
Standing Tall: The work boot. The cowboy boot. The go-go boot. The sheepskin boot. The logger boot. The biker boot. The riding boot, the desert boot and the all-theway-to-the-moon boot. The rock star of footwear silhouettes is undoubtedly the boot, especially when you throw in the Beatle boot and the classic 1460 by Dr. Martens—the standard uniform of punk and heavy metal bands for decades.
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.
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.