A staple in the women’s comfort space for many years, Pennsylvania-based Dansko is also well-known for its men’s clogs, frequently worn by those who work in the healthcare and service sectors. Now the company is unveiling its first foray into commercial men’s footwear with the launch of two new collections.
The decision to venture into men’s footwear all started, quite literally, with a solid foundation, as Dansko Director of Marketing Matt DeWitte explained. The shoe’s footbed – and indeed all of the technology behind the new men’s lines – were built from the ground up specifically for the male consumer, rather than simply reworking the tech used in Dansko’s women’s collections.
“This is a completely new iteration for us,” said DeWitte. “We’ve identified a brand new male consumer for Dansko, and have created product around that, and it’s much more the person who is working in an office-type of environment.”
For Fall ’16, Dansko is rolling out two separate collections. The Jasper collection, which launches in late July, offers a variety of men’s dress shoes, while the more casual Vineyard collection, out at the end of June, includes styles for relaxing on the weekend. Both ranges will retail between $150-$199.
“We don’t feel that this type of product is being offered by another brand where they’re combining the comfort and the style at the price point that we’re providing.”
Central to the development of the new line was the idea of “upgrading” a man’s shoes in comfort, style and confidence (what the company calls the “Dansko Upgrade”). The shoes feature a removable, triple density, EVA support system that helps to cushion the foot and provide stability. The shoes are made from water-resistant premium leathers, while select styles feature welt construction. All of the shoes are also slip tested and rated.
“We’re positioning this [line] as a way for men to upgrade their comfort, upgrade their style, and upgrade their confidence,” said DeWitte. “We feel this is a great price-point for what they’re getting.”
DeWitte added that while the company’s clogs for men have achieved a loyal following, customers were asking for shoes that could be worn outside of the workplace, or to more formal occasions.
“This is something we’ve been developing for a number of seasons. I think we wanted to make sure that we’ve gotten it right. So part of it has been a request by our consumers. And part of it was that we saw that there was an opportunity in the marketplace. We don’t feel that this type of product is being offered by another brand where they’re combining the comfort and the style at the price point that we’re providing.”
Retailers have been reacting positively to the new lines according to DeWitte, who said Dansko is out to reach a whole new consumer, while still maintaining the comfort that customers have come to expect from the brand.
“Comfort is central to our brand, but we don’t just want to build comfort into all of these products, style is also extremely important as well. We really want to surprise the customer with just how comfortable and stylish these shoes can be.”