Trend Report: Wellness & Toning

New Balance

“Generally, toning features will become less bulky and distracting. It would not be surprising if aesthetics took a much sharper turn toward more-youthful, lifestyle-inspired product. Consumers will want to enhance their appearance, as well as their muscles. Women especially will want what’s fresh, new and makes them feel fantastic. We follow market and fashion trends, with special consideration given to what’s happening with color, material and styling. We find inspiration in the same things our consumer does, whether it’s music, fashion, art, culture, sports, health, food or yoga.” — Christine Hall, senior designer of wellness design


“The consumer will be looking for product to fit all their daily fashion requirements, not just their training needs. For women, we see sophisticated, sleek and elegant styles, [as well as] light and playful Mary Jane looks. Male consumers are looking for more dress-oriented [shoes] that will look good with business clothes and also a dress-casual option. We are also seeing a return to classics: very simple design lines. We are offering several American classics, from boat-shoe inspiration to the all-American classic sneaker. Plus, sandals will be big. We have expanded our sandal collection for men and women, but especially for women.” — Sam Spears, global VP of product & marketing


“Consumers today want to get more out of the products they buy. We expanded our toning offering to include both running and training silhouettes. We also addressed style preferences with more fitness-inspired uppers for the athletic consumer and more fusion styles for the consumer who prefers fashion influences in her toning shoes. The toning market has evolved in the last 12 months: Silhouettes are varied and more colorful than ever. In 2011, you’ll have traditional athletic styles, but also a broader range of silhouettes, including sandals, Mary Janes looks, boots, etc. We also know that lightweight is a key story in athletic footwear and will flow into the toning category.”
— Katrin Ley, VP of brand strategy & women’s


“All-occasion, trend-friendly sandals, sneakers and slides that firm thighs [are trends for spring]. The consumer has also moved on from shoes that look good for you and instead [wants] shoes that fuse fashion and function. We have also expanded our offering for men with ergonomically designed two-bar slides and sneakers that have the same muscle-loading midsole [as our other FitFlops].”
— Marcia Kilgore, founder & designer


“The main trend [for spring] will be technical rocker-sole shoes and sandals that are high-performance, high-quality, stable and safe — also footwear that strengthens, tones and aligns the body, and properly guides the foot strike. Another trend will be lightweight rocker-sole shoes and sandals that are functional and at the same time more palatable in style and design for the mainstream healthy lifestyle.” — Terry Stillman, president & VP of marketing


“The ‘rocker’ look will continue to be the preferred look, but with lower profiles. So while someone [might] still prefer the ‘rocker’ profile, other more-athletic-oriented individuals will seek more-innovative toning footwear. We will introduce a new [toning] segment called Motion Balance Training. It’s a very challenging shoe.” — Ike Alvear, executive director


“The [wellness] hype is over. [Consumers want] things that improve posture and relieve back pain. Cushioning will be key, [with] stress reduction. [Many] baby boomers have back issues, posture issues, plantar fasciitis, etc. We are working to accommodate this sector of the marketplace. Consumers want a product that feels great and looks good as well. We’re working to provide comfort, cushioning, stability and fashion.” — David Corsi, president & COO

LA Gear

“We see toning as the genesis of a broader fitness trend. Toning footwear has inspired millions of consumers to get off the couch and start walking again. The challenge now is to encourage the new consumer to continue to live a healthy lifestyle by providing them with new, understandable technologies and comfortable, great-looking styles. Affordability is also key to the continued growth of this market.” — Scott Coble, president

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