Based on the best-selling styles from Sperry Top-Sider, Pikolinos and Shoes Like Pottery, Spring ’15 is shaping up to be a season full of refreshed classics.
While the materials and silhouettes are tried-and-true—canvas sneakers and leather loafers rank high—there is a notable absence of open sandals as buyers reach for more versatile, season-less styles. Instead, designers are turning to pastels and sun-bleached details to deliver a dash of springtime fun.
Here, footwear brands discuss the season’s mood, from buyers on the selling floor to the shoes that will draw shoppers in.
In terms of design aesthetic, classic and tradition continue to reign for Sperry Top-Sider. David Mesicek, the brand’s director of marketing for heritage and performance, said, “For men’s the classic A/O two-eye boat shoe continues to be a favorite amongst those who want a casual and always appropriate footwear option—and what better brand to choose from then the one who invented it.”
Based on that popularity of the A/O boat shoe, for spring Sperry Top-Sider introduced its Hamilton driver, which carries similar DNA from the A/O, but with driver pod-outsoles. Mesicek said, “It was an instant hit with buyers and we are looking forward to continuing to build on this evolution to the classic boat shoe.”
And in the tradition of sneakers, Sperry sees its vulcanized Striper CVO striking a chord with shoppers thanks to a new string of colors, prints and materials. In particular, a chambray pack has been a huge success thus far, Mesieck noted.
Similarly, Mesieck reported that Sperry is noticing a “successful trajectory” for its comfortable and casual Seacoast sneaker for women. Details, like coiled leather laces lend a distinct Sperry touch to the shoe. Another vulcanized option that Mesieck said has “been firing on all cylinders” for the brand is the women’s boat shoe-inspired Bahama refreshed in cheery yellow and washed pastel hues.
For Spanish brand Pikolinos, which is in the midst of refreshing its comfort collections with more fashion-forward silhouettes and colors, its slip-on Santorini oxford checks off a lot of boxes for the season. A brand rep said, “Customers are initially drawn to the detailing. The Santorini is a traditional menswear inspired shoe, with very feminine details such as the powdered leathers, softer toe, and white outsole. The shoe is incredibly lightweight and comfortable, and the goring makes is a fresh way to do an oxford.”
Pikolinos’ other success story for the season is its Liverpool sneaker, which incorporates the leathers the brand is known for in an athletic silhouette—a category the company said is hot right now. Plus, the shoe’s earthy undertones make it wearable for a number occasions.
The Pikolinos rep said buyers are desperately searching for freshness in the marketplace, and aren’t finding a lot of options. He said, “With weather reports already speaking of another long winter, closed-up footwear may dominate. Buyers are willing to try new styles from brands that performed in 2014. At Pikolinos, we are very optimistic about our brand direction for Spring of 2015. We believe that we have pushed our designs just enough to gain a new customer, but also, not losing focus of what we built our brand on—comfort, handcrafted details, a Mediterranean feel, and beautiful leather.”
Shoes Like Pottery
For new men’s and women’s sneaker brand Shoes Like Pottery, offering the perfect shoe for the spring season is as simple as a blank canvas. For Spring ’15 the brand’s Pure White lo-top proved less is more and nabbed the top spot in sales across the board. Shoes Like Pottery brand manager Matt Butlett, said, “I think the pure white is exactly what both retailers and consumers are looking for. Its clean, simple, but also you can tell it’s a quality shoe and can wear it with almost anything.”
For a Japanese brand that is making its mark in the U.S. by offering handcrafted, classic sneakers that are produced with a special vulcanized process (the rubber soles are fired in a kiln to ensure durability) and carefully selected materials, the fact that there isn’t a single footwear trend to chase, opens the door for creativity and a newfound appreciation for details and quality. Plus, as Butlett noted, “I don’t think that the footwear industry has been hurt by not having a must buy item. I think that retailers can get into trouble by missing out on a trendy shoe/brand and then having to chase that opportunity which could create inventory issues.”
Overall, Butlett said he believes the spring buying season was solid. “I think versatility is key. Consumers are looking for items that can be worn for many different occasions. I do think that the long hard winter that we had this year has had a domino effect for a lot of retailers especially in the Midwest and East coast so there is probably some retailers who were a bit more cautious for spring,” he explained.