At the recent Las Vegas trade shows, footwear did not have its own dedicated show, as in years past. But each fashion event held at the Las Vegas Convention Center and surrounding locations dedicated areas to showcasing the latest and greatest in shoes.
Here are a few of the trends to expect this fall season.
Thick soles and stylish comfort
Expect to see shoes and sandals with a few extra millimeters of cushiony inner soles for walking more comfortably. Sandals will have extra padding around the straps to avoid blisters. And tennis shoes and street styles will have thick outer soles, which will make everyone look a lot taller.
For a rugged look, there will be ankle-length boots and casual shoes with a faux shearling lining to wrap your feet like a blanket. Molded footbeds is another comfort element.
Shiny metallic-looking soft leather and faux leather were on display at the shows on a range of casual styles.
That shine was seen in high-heeled sandals, leather boots, lace-up tennis shoes, knee-length high-heeled boots and even wisps of it embellishing cowboy boots.
The future is looking bright in footwear. Bold colors, particularly in casual silhouettes and athletic shoes, are edging out plain black, brown, navy blue and white. Many of these colors are being portrayed in blocks of subtle hues stitched together.
Eye-popping patterns in bright designs make a statement in platform boots and chunky shoes.
For the consumer tired of wearing slippers while working at home or settling for sneakers when going out, new dressy options are on the horizon. Footwear makers believe there will be a need for more feminine options such as high heels with pointed toes and special accents, like a sparkly bracelet or fabric distinguishing the ankle.
Patent leather treatments are trending as well, lending an edge to standout silhouettes.
There is still a big call for casual shoes. Some brands are adopting new treatments and styles such as a shoe with a sweater, velvet or frayed fabric decorating the outside. Some are incorporating an inner cork sole to absorb moisture and kill bacteria. As one shoe representative said, “The customer today is looking for uniqueness.”
Alternative fabrics derived from plants and synthetics are a growing trend that brands are embracing to meed consumer demand.
PETA, People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals, has been working with several brands to help them develop animal-free products. Leather boots, sandals, tennis shoes, flats, high heels and booties are available in vegan fabrications.
Cole Haan this year released its first sustainable vegan shoe called the Generation Zerogrand II. It has an upper made with vegan microfiber suede and a dandelion-based FlowerFoam outsole. The laces are made from 100 percent recycled plastic water bottles, and the footbed is made with 5 percent recycled rubber and 15 percent production waste foam.
Flats never go out of style, but they do ebb in and out of favor. Expect flat footwear to be popular again this fall because consumers are still not used to wearing high heels. Be prepared for a return of the ballet flat, but this time with a slightly squared toe, as seen in real ballet shoes.
Platform shoes and boots are back in the spotlight. Some of these platforms will look chunkier and have a shorter, thick heel. Plain leather and glittery styles will corner the market here.
These boots were made for walking, and then again, maybe not. Boots keep treading on the trend mill, with cowboy boots being stronger this year and lace-up boots expected to be popular. Over-the-knee velvet boots with a very tall heel offer something different.