Sole Commerce Retailers Sound Off on Spring Hits

NEW YORK — Retailers attending last week’s Sole Commerce here were greeted with an expanded lineup of global names and a more tightly edited product mix.

“My goal has been to raise the quality and expand the international offering,” said Leslie Gallin, president of footwear for Advanstar Global LLC, noting that participation from companies in France, Spain and Italy was on the rise. “We want to differentiate this show from FN Platform.”

Notable overseas exhibitors at the show included Apologie Paris, SI-V Milano and Florence, Italy-based Visconti & Du Reau.

While many retailers were looking for newness, comfort and athletic still ruled the floor. Here, storeowners and vendors sound off on the season ahead.

Kerry Steffen
The House; Millburn, N.J.

“We like the fringe bohemian feel this time around, and some of the metallic and distressed boots look good for us, too. Embellished Birkenstock is going to be a big thing for us again this spring. The strappy sandal with the floral print or metallic is a fun way to add glitz with the bohemian feel. The show this year feels busy, and there are more people than usual here and in Vegas, so I’m feeling more encouraged with the buys for spring.”

Ceci Hadawar
If the Shoe Fits; Orleans, Mass.

“I’m looking for a higher-end shoe, with a closed toe for early spring and more comfort with a fashion edge. The Internet is still the biggest challenge for us. We find that the 20- to 40-year-olds are online early on and negating the big buy for me. I’m in a more remote area and they used to have to buy from me, and now they don’t have to anymore. I’m focused on the consummate shopper now, not just the local, [since I’m at a resort on Cape Cod].”

Teresa Soroka
Ame Ame; New York

“Global warming and the unpredictable weather make it hard to decide what you need. I’m still a small retailer, but flash sales and brands not being loyal to pricing makes you hesitant. For me, I started with rain gear, but now I’m focused on the stylish traveler. It’s searching for product that is comfort with style.”

Marianne Morales
Heart and Soles; Mount Kisco, N.Y.

“We are looking for comfort and style: slip-on sneakers, espadrilles and shoes with ankle straps.”

Joanne Brown
Two Skirts; Telluride, Colo.

“This year, we’re seeing a lot more chunky heels and wood heels. Espadrilles will be big for us in spring, and we’re looking at sneakers with the white rubber soles, too, as we’re seeing a lot of those.”

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