What are the big trends around the bend for footwear?
To find out, we strolled through “Shoe Expo,” the ultra fun occasional shoegasm held by The Fashion Footwear Association of New York, an organization of 300 shoe companies representing 800 fashion brands, that was at the New York Hilton August 2 – 4. Here’s what to expect for Fall and Spring:
X Street level heels: Snub-nosed platforms with the forefront wrapped up in a tromp l’oeil casement from the outsole right over the vamp will be on the shelves, but stilt-height hooker shoes are petering out. “One of the new, fresh silhouettes is pointy toes with kittenish heels,” under two inches tall, said Jason English, sales manager for Seychelles. “Mad Men” era pumps and cut outs are also “really selling well,” English added.
X Pretty shoes for tortured toes: Shoe companies such as Velvet Sole, Pas de Rouge and Thierry Rabotin are all cashing in on the desire of well-heeled older women and those with various foot problems to wear something other than granola-crunching clod hoppers. Pas de Rouge boasts sock-soft “Sachetto construction,” in its deceptively stylish “comfort shoes” made in Fasso, Italy. Dressy, retro styles that women can actually walk and dance are gaining momentum, noted Pas de Rouge president, Giovanni Roselli. Similarly, Velvet Sole conceals orthotics inside its sultry three-inch pumps. The orthopedically friendly insole “takes up to 30% of the weight off the ball of your foot so you don’t have all that burning and fatigue,” explained Velvet Sole President Joni Ann Newton.
X Shoe jewelry: DayGlow LED laces, sold by DGL Group, give night time visibility to sneaker-wearing joggers, bicyclists and ravers for a mere $8 retail. “After 70 hours, you just get a new battery,” said DGL spokesman Albert Edery. Studs, straps and buckles and bows in glittering, showy materials such as rhinestones will also be decorating footwear, as “ornaments and accessories are really big,” said Lyle Benjamin, Tango C.O.O. Occasionally, the bells and whistles are detachable, allowing the owner to dress the shoe or boot up or down.
X Collared boots: Last fall’s modified combat boot will morph into another kind of legging friendly ankle boot entirely. This fall’s silhouette will likely have a collar that can be folded up or down or Sharpei-like crumple of fabric at the top line that can be collapsed or extended.
X Black is the new accent color: For spring, expect black accents on dramatic neutrals such as demure nudes or black trim on milky mint greens, muted baby blues and pale, diluted salmons. Desigual, the Barcelona company known for its colorful, Gaudi-like clothes is debuting its first shoe line in Spring – some in collaboration with Christian Lacroix – with shoes that are a turquoise, neon pink and lime green patchworks and digital prints, many of which evoke the ‘70s. Shoes need no longer blend into an ensemble but “are now the focal point – a nice ‘pop’!” said Desigual North American Sales Manager Beatriz (cq) Camacho.
X Sparkle plenty: “Metallics aren’t even a trend any more – they’re like black – a wardrobe staple,” said Velvet Sole’s Newton.
X Textures: If God is in the details, your next season’s shoes should really be divine. Look for lots of laser-cut suedes, lace-printed leather and snake-like python and lizard details that unexpectedly sex up ordinary shapes. “Naplak,” a type of high end patent leather will also be featured in contrast with soft, brushed suedes, said Roselli of Pas de Rouge.