Hush Puppies is taking a walk down memory lane in spring ’18. The Rockford, Mich.-based brand (a division of Wolverine World Wide) turns 60 next year, and it is looking to reach a new generation of consumers.
Best known for its colorful suede shoes, Hush Puppies has dipped into its archives for the spring ’18 launch of Decades, a limited-edition series of men’s shoes inspired by pop culture and key trends of the times. The looks include a 1960s Mondrian-esque Bernard oxford and an ’80s pop-art version.
“The collection is a vehicle to demonstrate Hush Puppies’ relevance throughout the decades,” said president Bill Mirecki. “However, it’s not about riding the tide of a classic. It’s about celebrating iconic looks in a cheeky way.”
Decades is part of a larger Hush Puppies initiative aimed at capturing a younger generation of customers. “There’s a momentum picking up around our authenticity,” said Mirecki, pointing to the spring ’17 launch of its Icon58 series of reimagined classics. “We brought back some of our original styles, but in a modern way.”
While the label is well-known among older customers, its updated looks are resonating with millennials. “For this generation, Hush Puppies is something new and cool,” said Kerry Hartman, VP of global product development. For spring ’18, the firm is banking on the Icon58 women’s Chowchow moc loafer, a refreshed classic that incorporates Hush Puppies’ signature logo on the outsole.
According to Hartman, the brand’s comfort factor is also appealing to a new audience, particularly technologies such as BioTrax, a men’s and women’s outsole that features an alignment technology designed to guide the foot forward; and the DreamOn series of women’s flexible styles with cushioned footbeds.
“We will always stand for color, style and comfort, but in a cool, relevant way,” said Hartman. “The brand is much more fashion-relevant now for that younger demographic.”