First Look at Stride Rite’s Cambridge Collection

In a nod to its heritage as one of America’s oldest children’s footwear makers, Stride Rite is launching a special limited collection of baby shoes for spring. The Cambridge Collection, named for the company’s Massachusetts headquarters, offers modern takes on such classic styles as the white bootie, fisherman sandal and Mary Jane shoe.

“Brands today are increasingly grounded in their heritage and authenticity when creating product,” said senior designer Emily James, who led the development of the collection. “Stride Rite, which is nostalgic to multiple generations who got their very first pair of shoes [from us], is no exception.”

The assortment consists of three boys’ and three girls’ styles, as well as a unisex white bootie available with white, blue or pink laces. All the shoes incorporate Stride Rite’s Sensory Response Technology, designed to optimize the biomechanics of the child’s foot to promote the development of healthy walking patterns.

Targeted to higher-end distribution, the shoes use more premium materials such as tumbled, embossed and glisten leather uppers, as well as shimmery and distressed outsoles. “We wanted the collection to look vintage but feel luxurious,” James said. “That was the challenge: keeping our hallmark silhouettes looking like classic Stride Rite while adding [upscale] materials and treatments.”

The color palette features muted shades of pink, baby blue, navy and brown, accented by pops of green.

Priced at $55, the shoes will be available in multiple widths and sold in vintage Stride Rite boxes. For fall ’12, the company plans to expand the collection with tall boots and other seasonal looks.

The Designer

Emily James, who studied design at Syracuse University, is a nearly 10-year Stride Rite veteran. She got her start in the company’s former Tommy Hilfiger division and now, as senior designer, plays a key role in setting the trend direction across all of Stride Rite’s kids’ lines.

The Inspiration
The Cambridge Collection brings the past and present together, James said. Drawing from Stride Rite’s 92-year shoemaking heritage, she and her team took some of the brand’s most enduring baby silhouettes and reimagined them for today’s consumer, using contemporary outsoles, materials and hardware.

The Pitch
The collection was unveiled last month during FFANY appointments and will be shown to select retailers at the FN Platform event in Las Vegas next month.

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