Retail Guide: Spring Trend Forecast

“Two trends I see [in men’s] are height and treatment. The newest shapes are chukkas that hover at the ankle for men wearing shorter pants and shorts. We’re also seeing a lot of boots, high-top sneakers and even ankle-grazing sandals. Across the board, there are many fabric-and-leather combinations, influenced by military clothing. Sneakers are huge, and there is no shortage of great styles. Garment-dyed leather versions look great, particularly at Lanvin. Sandals are everywhere, with interesting new takes on flip-flops and sport sandals. The gladiator Birkenstock at Burberry Prorsum is the perfect foil for their take on military/motorcycle wear. Another favorite is the hand-sewn collection from Yuketen.”
— Nick Wooster, men’s fashion director, Bergdorf Goodman

“Ladylike shoes are making a return. Chic, single-sole pumps look right. It’s no longer about aggressive platforms. We’re predicting a very colorful season in ready-to-wear, and [complementary] shoes will be in shades of nude, from the lightest beige to more pink-infused hues. For sandals, we like the look of very clean, minimal styles, like you’d find in the south of France. We also love the idea of injecting sandals with femininity, using bows and other girly details.”
— Brooke Scott, fashion director of accessories, Bloomingdale’s

“Safari and global are emerging as key trends. Wood-bottom sandals, wedges and clogs will be strong, as well as espadrilles in jute and raffia. The ladylike trend, inspired by “Mad Men,” is fueling the dress-shoe business. Nudes and blush tones are key colors, and peep-toe platforms and kitten heels are important [silhouettes]. Preppy is also building momentum, with key items being the boat shoe, moccasin and loafer. Sam Edelman, Vince Camuto, Boutique 9 and Michael Kors are driving these trends.”
— Liz Rodbell, EVP of merchandising, Lord & Taylor

“We are excited about the return of feminine, ladylike shoes. The pump is back, and single-sole styles and thinner heels are looking very directional. The new color palette of nude and blush looks very fresh. Interesting details include laser-cut patterns and lace effects, [seen from brands such as] Brian Atwood, Alexandre Birman and Sergio Rossi. Utilitarian and safari influences also continue. The range of brown and luggage colors has replaced gray as the new neutral.”
— Lincoln Moore, VP and DMM of handbags and soft accessories, Saks Fifth Avenue

“There is a focus on refined styles in modern silhouettes, with a greater offering of mid-heel heights. Feminine details, such as flowers and bows from Valentino, Prada and Stuart Weitzman prevail. Vachetta, vegetable-dyed and natural leathers emerge as something fresh and look best in [colors such as] bone, luggage and chocolate. We’re seeing this from Prada, Céline, Chloé and Modern Vintage. In materials, there is a strong emphasis on natural elements such as canvas and linen, cork and carved wood. Caged sandals, whether flat or on a heel, are everywhere. Swirl geometric details from Valentino and elastic ribbons from Fendi and Manolo Blahnik are the newest upper treatments reinforcing this trend.”
— Christian Lavergne, senior buyer for women’s footwear, Holt Renfrew

“Looking into spring, [we think] big brands will continue to carry the market. We will be seeing incredibly bright colors, even for men, as well as lots of boots, sandals and espadrille looks. And a bit of fantasy will still rule, with flashy metallics, rocker chic [styles] and big, chunky heels.”
— Brooke Hyden, visual merchandising strategist, Zappos.com

“Consumers continue to look for value and versatility, which is one of the reasons toning products have had such success. I’m not sure how long that will last, but I believe some vendors will sustain in that category, such as Reebok and New Balance, because they have the most visually compelling product. Nike is having success with its Lunar Glide product, a good running line with crossover appeal as fashion. The barefoot running trend should continue, and I like it because it brings new customers into our stores.”
— Thac Lecong, GMM, FrontRunners/New Balance Stores (Los Angeles)

“For girls, supple leathers, metallic accents, flowers, beading and glitzy ornamentation will be strong. Lelli Kelly is one brand [that does this well]. The gladiator is still out there, with embroidery and whimsical details, like from Geox. Nina is strong in terms of leather sandals, and Reef for flip-flops. For boys, boat shoes will continue. We see Keen continuing as the sports-sandal leader. What Uggs are for our fall business, Keen is to spring.”
— Kirby Lohff, president and CEO, Olly Shoes

“I’m excited about the new colors that are emerging in men’s, such as pale gray and navy. The classics, such as brogues and oxfords from Florsheim by Duckie Brown, instantly change when they are navy or even a bright kelly green. The chukka boot will be relevant again for spring, as well as any take on the espadrille. Rachel Comey’s chukka boots and moccasin-inspired styles are great. Men’s saddle shoes will also be important. I like Bass and Cole Haan [for that]. Sneakers are always key for spring. The classic Keds styles, such as the Champion, remain relevant, and the casual/dressy feel from Puma’s Urban Mobility by Hussein Chalayan collection is strong. They also have great chukkas in neutrals such as gray and sand.”
— Courtney Rotolo, buyer, American Rag (Los Angeles)

“I’m hoping to see brands take more of a chance on men’s product, such as putting more color into shoes. I think sandals will continue to be strong. For women, gladiators will still be big, as well as anything that has a bit of a sexy feel to it. We like Born, Clarks, Mephisto, Think and Earth, especially with its new brand Earthies, which are dressier, more expensive [looks].”
— Gary Hauss, president and CEO, J. Stephens (West Hills, Calif.)

“We’re seeing a lot of cork bottoms and wedges, and there’s a resurgence of wood-bottom clogs from brands such as Wirth and Jorge Bischoff. The whole wellness category continues to be a mega-trend, and MBT is still the market leader. We just finished an excellent sandal season, which we attribute partly to the fact that there was a lot of color in our assortments. Basics are just that — basic — and the color adds excitement to the presentation.”
— Maurice Breton, president, Comfort One Shoes (Washington, D.C.)

“Classic styles will continue to do well for men, and leather is going to be big. We expect to see more shoes that can be worn every day with a suit or dressed down. Florsheim by Duckie Brown will be strong, as well as Folk, Grenson and Belstaff because they are taking classic shapes and adding different details, so [the shoes] are a little more intriguing but still not risky. Seevees sneakers are going to sweep our market because the price point is right and they have cool designs with newer takes on [retro] styling.”
— Trevor Einhorn, store manager, DF Feet (Los Angeles)

“We’re looking at product that’s unique, with bright colors and interesting details. With the tough economy, we have to dazzle consumers to get them to part with their money, and that’s where the details, fabrics and colors really come into play. Comfortable footwear has come a long way, as consumers demand a more stylish look. Clarks, Naot and Dansko do an excellent job executing that. Their Wave series was very good this year. Vibram’s Five Fingers shoes have been an exciting product, and toning shoes, whether MBT, Skechers or New Balance, will continue to be a hot trend.”
— Jim Sajdak, president, Stan’s Fit for Your Feet (Milwaukee)

“We see multiuse footwear continuing to be strong, such as rubber-soled Mary Jane styles with some ornamentation that girls can wear for dress and play. Lelli Kelly [fits that bill]. Jumping Jacks’ JJ Sport tennis shoes, which are washable and lightweight, will be huge. Kid Express will be great for girls, offering enough ornamentation to make the shoes fun, but not so over the top. Skate shoes will be big for boys and girls, including Nike’s 6.0 series and other urban-type footwear from DC, Etnies and Vans. Overall, we’re seeing more color for boys, with pops of green, red and orange.”  
— Andy Harris, owner, Harry Harris Shoes (Los Angeles)


Access exclusive content