Footwear brands are plotting ways to grow their current business deeper and new business wider.
Men’s and women’s shoe brands revealed a first look at Fall ’18 product lines during FFANY last week in New York City, presenting seasonal takes on heritage designs, buzz-worthy capsule collections and opportunities for retailers to customize their assortments.
Birkenstock made good on its promise to grow the brand’s closed-toe cork footbed business with its largest range of men’s and women’s boots and sneakers to date. The heritage comfort brand added suede shearling-lined snow boots with thick outsoles, rugged chukka boots and lace-up boots with exposed cork bottoms to its fall collection. The brand’s leather slip-on sneakers with a topline that just grazes the ankle and “hair on hide” lace-up sneakers offer a modern look in the athleisure category.
Dansko, which recently landed coverage on Vogue.com as fashion’s new favorite “ugly-chic” footwear brand, looks to maintain momentum with updates of its signature stapled clog. The brand’s professional collection includes mixed media uppers like embroidery layered over prints and the new Twins Collection, a three-piece range of mix-and-match styles.
The new novelty line from Dansko offers pairs of complementary styles, including “Night and Day,” a pair of shoes that feature the sun and moon on opposite feet, a pair with the embroidered message “Love what you do, do what you love” across both feet and a pair of black patent clogs with similar yet different cascading star prints.
Dr. Scholl’s Originals sheds some of its all-American aesthetic in a new initiative called The Lab. The Fall ’18 men’s and women’s capsule collection drums to its own beat with styles based new materials, exposed insoles and unisex silhouettes as opposed to seasonal fashion trends and what the market expects from the iconic brand.
The collection will be a Dr. Scholl’s online exclusive. Highlights in the line include coated Chelsea boots with exposed layers of insole, knit sneakers with quilted interiors and coil-like laces, suede and leather sneakers with deconstructed tongues and tall sock boots with chunky translucent rubber heels.
Women’s casual and dress brand Soma aims to help retailers distinguish their assortments with customizable options. The brand, best-known for hand-embellished “khussa” shoes from Pakistan, offers buyers the opportunity to select colors and trims to best suit their clientele’s tastes. For Fall ’18, Soma is expanding its assortment to include more on-trend loafers and backless loafers, as well as seasonal fabrications like velvet and heavy embroidery.
Bayton, a “Made in Spain” sandal brand, makes its U.S. debut in 2018. Owned by France-based Sport Negoce International, the European distributor of brands like Minnetonka, Nine West and Rollies, Bayton offers cork footbed sandals with leather uppers in a myriad of seasonal colors and finishes.
The company’s pricing strategy is designed to enable retailers to stay alive. Sandals wholesale for $25 to $30 and retail for approximately $60 to $75, cushioning retailers with a wide margin. “You get a beautiful, high quality product at a reasonable price. The company is giving retailers such a wide margin and few brands are doing that anymore,” said Debbi Kravetz, U.S. brand manager. “I hope other brands will follow our lead,” she added.