What’s Selling: Comfort Looks Are Trending at Women’s Stores — Heels Aren’t

What’s selling in the women’s fashion market this week? Here, four key retailers weigh in on winning brands and top trends and talk about what’s not moving.

Anthony Brown, sales manager, Ooh! Ooh! Shoes, Charleston, S.C.

Top Brands:

Coclico: “There’s an interesting craftsman aesthetic to the brand that our [shopper] identifies with. It resonates with my out-of-town consumers since It’s a brand they don’t see everywhere. There’s a good comfort level and they’re well made.”

Dolce Vita: “We have a younger college student that gravitates to the brand. The more casual styling is right on trend. The wedges have been a big hit for us.”

On Running: “The aesthetic draws the eye. We don’t have a lot of competition from athletic vendors or running stores here, so when tourists are looking for something to walk around in, they go straight to the [brand]. We sell more than 200 pairs a month.”

Top Trends: “The espadrille business was particularly strong this year, the strongest I’ve seen in a long time.  For espadrilles, it was Castaner’s collaboration with Missoni that was well received. And, any kind of flat was good.”

Hot Take: “The sneaker business continues to drive just about everything. We’re doing well with P448. It’s from Italy and a competitor to Golden Goose, but at a better price point. I’m seeing interest in trainers that are fashion-oriented, such as a new fashion sneaker from Tretorn with a slimmer profile.“

David Assil, owner, Madison, Beverly Hills

Top Brands:

Officine Creative: “Style, price and fit. We do well with both boots and sandals.“

Fauzian Jeunesse: “They’re mostly short boots, some with a little bit of a heel.”

Mara Bini: “Moccasins with leather soles or versions that half leather and rubber. They’re done in crocodile prints and smooth leathers, and some we designed ourselves.”

Top Trends: “We sell boots year-round, both shoe boots and above-the-ankle styles. I also believe in platforms. And, we’re selling tennis shoes that are [unique] such as Puma’s collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld.”

Not Selling: “Heels are dead, particularly skinny stilettos.”

Hot Take: “I’ve never seen retail so brutal, but we’re doing pretty well since I moved away from [popular] brands. I was one of the first to bring in Prada, Dolce, Valentino, Balenciaga, among others. I was also one of the first to drop them in 2008 after the crash. I saw the handwriting on the wall of over-distribution and these brands not allowing me to sell online. Also, the quality dropped and the prices went crazy. You used to be able to get them for $395, now they’re $700 or $800.”

Veronica Miranda, manager, The Shoe Box, New York

Top Brands:

C by Cholé: “It’s No. 1 for comfort. They have wedges and summer shoes with support that are not too flat. “

Marc Fisher: “There’s a lot of variations of low wedges, along with everyday walking shoes that are especially [popular] in New York.”

Karl Lagerfeld: “They have comfortable slides.”

Top Trends: “Wedges and slides. People are looking for comfort.”

Not Selling: “Stilettos. We’re in the New York, which has a lot to do with it.”

Hot Take: “More wedges and comfortable slides. Something they can wear for every day.”

Jennifer Binghi, Shoe-Inn, Scarsdale, N.Y.

Top Brands:

Birkenstock: “It’s across the board from young girls to women in their ’80s. I can’t keep them in stock — both the Arizona and Giza.”

Giove: “It’s a sneaker brand we bring in out of Italy, similar to Golden Goose but at $200 to $250. All of the Italian sneakers we bring in exclusively sell well.”

Ilse Jacobsen: “It’s all word-of-mouth. The Tulip slip-on casual is out of control. It’s comfortable and water-resistant.”

Top Trends: “Consumers are looking for comfort. Right now, it’s summer and people are going on vacation to Europe. They need a comfortable shoe to walk around that will go from afternoon to night.”

Not Selling: “This time of year, dress shoes and loafers.”

Hot Take: “If a style fits and is comfortable, customers come back and buy it in three other colors.”

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