Are Mandals Living Up to the Buzz This Season?

Donna Makaroff
Manager, Shoe Market, Hingham, Mass.

“Our men’s sandal business is good on a regular basis, [but we] expanded due to [last] year’s success. The lion’s share comes from comfort-sport [looks] at $100 and under. The No. 1 style is OluKai’s Ohana, a water-friendly flip-flop with great arch support at $69.95. We also do well with comfort [sandals] with adjustable Velcro straps that fit a lot of sizes. We [carry] some from Josef Seibel and Ecco.”

Kenny Rubenstein
Owner & buyer, Rubensteins, New Orleans

“I expected sandals to be better this season, and they were, to an extent. I did well with To Boot’s fisherman, crisscross, slide and flip-flop styles. I [typically] don’t do well with really expensive sandals. I can’t do styles over $200. I also carry Teva and had a variety from Hari Mari in different colors. For spring ’16, I’ll stay flat with my buying since I don’t feel there will be growth.”

Rick Lee
Owner, Soula, Brooklyn, N.Y.

“Our men’s sandal business seems to be trending down. The one bright spot for us has been Birkenstock. But we’re finding our guys are not looking for sandals as [much as] summer slip-ons and sneakers in lightweight meshes and fabrics. We always try to offer some sandal options. Right now, we have a few Keen flip-flops and waterproof fisherman sandals. They’re performing OK, but not gangbusters.”

Scott Starbuck
Owner, City Soles, Chicago

“I’m a fashion guy and love mandals, but unfortunately, they don’t retail as well as we’d [like] them to. We buy them with good intentions, but we never have full sell-through with them — even the fashion guy is wearing simple flip-flops. Due to bad weather, we cancelled our flip-flop order to not compete with clearance sales everywhere. For spring ’16, we’ll dabble in [more trend-driven] looks, but our biggest dollars will be in classic flip-flops and easy, simple styles.”

Pam Coven
Owner, Louie’s, Portland, Ore.

“We’ve had seasons where we don’t carry sandals at all, [but] we had a little bit this season, such as Birkenstock’s Arizona style and a flip-flop and slide from Cushe. Our guy tends not to be a big sandal wearer. He’ll go [for] a barefoot slip-on [from] SeaVees or Vans. Guys want super-comfort at a [good] price. For spring ’16, I don’t see a big sandal resurgence, [especially] in the Northwest, where our weather doesn’t scream for sandals.”

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