It was back to basics for footwear brands at Sole Commerce this week.
As dominant trends have become clear winners, footwear brands are beginning to look for ways to elaborate and innovate on those designs in order to differentiate themselves to prospective buyers.
Here’s a look at some of the trends emerging from the February edition of Sole Commerce.
A return to core
More than a few brands indicated an intent to return to the basic concepts their customer base expects.
Keds, for one, is making a point in the upcoming Fall/Winter 19 season, to emphasize the relaunch of its classic silhouette and collaborations with Rifle Paper Co. and Kate Spade.
Superga said it was in the middle of a “core takeover,” as the brand is stepping away from novelty and directing more energy to its classic silhouettes for spring and FW19—especially its white platforms and mules.
Ilse Jacobsen is also “sticking with traditional” for the upcoming season, focusing on its best-selling spring mesh sneakers, which it says are performing exceptionally in sales.
The most dominant colorways at the show were inarguably animal prints. Brands overwhelmingly emphasized the popularity of animal prints, particularly leopard, snake and alligator. One exhibitor joked that, when showing her collection, she simply asks buyers to “walk into her zoo.”
Even brands that generally consider themselves “traditional” included one or two animal print styles in their lineups. Leopard print lead the charge, with snake and alligator print trailing closely behind.
Middle to high-end designers like All Black offered real fur as an accent—cowskin in their case—though animal print was common in every price range.
Athletic-inspired styles remain the most dominant and best-selling silhouettes across the board and, as that reality becomes inescapable, brands are looking for ways to set themselves apart.
Sneakers were not immune to the animal print trend and the silhouette’s versatility meant brands experimented heavily with different materials and patterns.
All Black said its high top sneaker was an “enormous seller” in the last season and unveiled a new silhouette that combines the dressiness of a loafer and the comfort of a sneaker for its newest line—again incorporating the cow skin toe and animal prints in several styles. The brand also announced that it will move away from real shearling, starting this season.
Steve Madden will also be sneaker-heavy for FW19, noting that the style was still “big” and one of its best-sellers. The brand touted the accessibility of its sneaker styles, which wholesale for around $24, compared to boots and women’s shoes which fell in the range of $48 to $62 for the season.