Dansko & Naot Drive Early Fall Sales for Comfort Retailers

What’s selling at comfort stores this week? Here, four key retailers weigh in on winning brands and top trends, and talk about what’s not moving.

Sean Bailey, manager, Danform Shoes, Shelburne, Vt.

Top three brands:

Birkenstock: “There’s been growth in the Arizona sandal. In Vermont, we have a sandal-sock thing going on. We like to extend our [sandal] season as much as we can. Since the Arizona doesn’t have a toe loop, or post, you can wear them well into November with socks.”

Blundstone: “People want to look at a wall of 15+ styles, but they usually end up with the core classics — 500s, 550s, 585s. You have people trying them on for the first time and gravitate toward the classics. But, there are people who’ve had them before and are now looking to be a little more fashion forward. They’ve been exploring some of their heeled models.”

Taos: “The canvas sneakers have some legs. You pull the footbed out and you don’t expect there to be so much arch support and cushioning. It’s the most supportive low-profile shoe on the market.”

Top Trends: “I’m happy that lower boots have been trending a little more. People are also more eager to show off their socks.”

Not selling: “There’s been a slowdown of taller boots. These have to fit more than just the foot, such as the ankle and calf, so it’s nice to have something that can fit more [people].”

Valerie Patton, sales associate, Anderson’s Comfort Footwear, Seattle, Wash.

 Top three brands:

Hoka One One: “It’s about the rocker bottom, full footbed and fun colors. They’re also lightweight. Orthopedic surgeon and podiatrists recommend it.”

Naot: “They have a little more fashion and sophistication than Birkenstock, which is more organic. The loafers and oxfords we have in for fall have already sold.”

Dansko: “We do a good business with the Honor, an  athletic-inspired city walker. It’s an urban chic city look without being too much of an athletic look.”

Top trends: “Since our weather has been nice, sandals have been selling. Also, athletic-inspired city walker from slip-ons to lace-ups, that [serve] as a travel shoe.”

Not selling: “We’re a small specialty store and do well with all our selections.”

Mark Waldman, owner, Laurie’s Shoes, St. Louis

Top three brands:

Samuel Hubbard: “It continues to sell for men. It’s becoming stronger due to its  sizes and widths. It’s now [offering] double wides.”

On: “A lot more people are beginning to do more running and walking. It’s doing well due to the construction of the sole”

Naot: “Short boots for early fall, such as the Helm, a big shoe for the brand. We have it in seven colors.”

Top Trends: “Flats continue to get stronger and we’re seeing Gabor flats pick up. We’re selling Rieker boots early, which are usually lined weather boots. And, we’re  seeing Haflinger slippers getting strong early. It’s been hot and I find that interesting.”

Not selling: “Dress shoes continue to do OK, but they’re not setting the world on fire. In the Midwest, it’s not as dressy as years ago.”

Brenner Stroup,  manager, E.G. Geller Shoes, Dallas

Top three brands:

Mephisto: “We have the Emie boot in nine colors and selling them even though it’s been 100 degrees here.  It’s a Chelsea style on a more modern platform sole and retails for $349.”

Pas de Rouge: “We got them in last week and have sold between seven and 10 pairs at $200 to $400. They’ve lowered their prices over the past several years and that’s helped us do some volume.”

Isle Jacobsen: “Tulip slip-on. They sent me an extra case pack by mistake and I kept them.  They were  gone in a couple of weeks. We kill that shoe.”

Top trends: “We’re continuing with the short booties on block heels. We also brought in a couple of shearling boots which we didn’t have the past few years. It’s been 100 degrees, but we’ve had a good response.”

Not selling:  “Loafers have slowed down lately.”

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