Space is always an issue with independent retailers, says Vionic Public Relations Strategist Kate Nishimura. However, it’s less so when the goods meet expectations and tap into thriving categories like athleisure.
Vionic has those goods. For Spring ’16 the company is expanding its athletic range, which is garnering attention this fall for its print-driven Tourney Walker, with a collection of active recovery sandals. The line of sandals features Vionic’s AMS (Active Motion System) technology—a podiatrist-designed orthotic coupled with a flexible, cushioned outsole and lightweight, breathable uppers—and the same contours its fans have come to expect from the brand on an EVA footbed.
The après-active range includes two thong sandals, one with a woven stretch upper, the other with a smooth top strap; a woven stretch slide; and a hybrid sandal with a woven stretch upper and a contrasting textile ankle strap for optimal stability. The line has been well-received with retailers, and has helped Vionic open new accounts, Nishimura reported.
Vionic’s foray into athleisure is a reflection of what’s happening in apparel and its health-minded consumers, Nishimura said. “[The sandals] are great for going to and from whatever sport you are doing, whether its yoga or going to gym. They can take you through all of your activities and offer the same support as the sneakers,” she explained.
It’s a big leap into athleisure footwear for a brand that got its start with more traditional comfort footwear nearly three years ago. The line now spans trendy Chelsea and riding boots for fall to more evergreen loafers and ballet flats refreshed season-to-season with au courant patterns and materials. Laser cut patterns, soft metallics and fashion prints, like leopard and raspberry snake, make the cut for Spring ’16.
That visual and textural interest is carried into Vionic’s deep collection of sandals for Spring ’16. “We are primarily a spring/summer sandals brand. We do really well with our sandals, and we have new silhouettes that we’re excited about,” Nishimura said.
Thong sandals provide Vionic with a simple and classic canvas to play with teal, coral and natural snake, glossy tortoise, bronze croco, as well as solid fuchsia, white, bronze and turquoise. The Rest Eve II combines mint snake with faceted coral gems; the Rest Karina is dressed up with metal ring hardware.
Other notable styles include the Rest Lizbeth T-strap sandal embellished with shimmery hammered metal ornaments, the Selena Lennox sandal with natural stone appliques and the Grace Jura and Grace Samar in zebra calf hair. The styles offer a mod look with black leather-covered footbeds. Vionic’s bestselling gold cork makes an important appearance on thongs, multi-strap sandals and a triple-strap adjustable wedge slide.
Meanwhile, Nishimura says wedges are growing in popularity among consumers looking for something more fashion forward. A standout style in the collection is the Noble Laurie, a quintessential summer wedge, offered in black, tan and a bold leopard print.