Sandals reigned supreme at the Magic trade show in Las Vegas last week, with brands exhibiting spring 2022 styles designed for comfort as well as statement-making.
Even the season’s more adventurous silhouettes straddled the line between versatility and easy-wearing, as the pandemic’s influence on daily life continues. Designers infused their offerings with practicality that would serve wearers whose work-from-home regimen may continue into the new year, while adding a dash of visual interest.
Sourcing Journal spoke with brands about the season’s most prominent trends, including silhouettes, color ways and more.
“I do feel people are inching closer to dressing up,” Freddie Allers of Belgium-based Slaye Footwear said. He believes “everyone has tons of athletic shoes in their closet,” which means consumers might be primed to purchase new shoes next spring.
Handcrafted dress sandals that pair equally well with casual wear and office attire might resonate with many women, he said. Footwear brands displayed slide sandals in supple leathers and suedes and classic color ways like white, black, nude and metallics like gold and pewter.
As women dip their toes back into what promises to be to a more casual office environment in 2022, Allers believes these “elevated yet understated” styles could take the place of pointed-toe flats or loafers. “I think dress sandals will become a more meaningful category going forward,” he said.
“I think it feels transitional,” Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn designer Charlotte Walters said of the thick-strapped fisherman sandal, which brands seemed to favor. She believes female shoppers will gravitate toward the look’s trans-seasonal appeal and slightly edgy vibe. “Our girl would wear this with a sock when it’s cool, and as a sandal when it gets warm,” she added.
Fuller-coverage styles hold a special appeal for city-dwellers, because “when you’re riding the subway or walking down the street, you don’t want to be wearing a thong sandal,” Walters said.
Kelsi Dagger Brooklyn’s fisherman sandal featured a closed toe and wooden platform, while other exhibitors played with strap count and thickness, open and closed-toe designs, and lug soles.
“Our retail partners want to be inspired—they need a new look in their closet,” Mike Kerr, vice president at J Slides told Sourcing Journal. “The maximalist sole gives them a little bit more attitude and freshness that they haven’t had for a year and a half.”
Featuring sneakers as well as dress and sporty sandals, the brand has fully bought into the platform craze. The chunky midsoles can take on myriad different uppers, Kerr said. “You can really have some fun with what you put on them, from colors, prints and trends,” he added. What’s more, sizable soles serve as a convenient way to hide comfort features, like memory foam insoles.
Throughout Magic, brands debuted styles with EVA and cork midsoles, ranging from sporty and strappy to simple slides.
While neutrals, tans and black proved most popular, pops of color punctuated numerous sandals. Most common were pastel shades of periwinkle, lavender, sage and teal, mostly taking shape mostly as slides in nubuck or leather.
The cheerful spring-inspired shades served to add visual interest to a field of offerings mostly designed for practicality.