What’s Selling: Ecco and Clarks Among the Hot Men’s Comfort Brands This Summer

What’s selling in men’s comfort this week?

Here, four independent retailers weigh in on the winning brands and top trends in the market, and talk about what’s not moving.

Tim Hammond, owner, Total Comfort Shoes, Columbus, Ohio

Top three brands:

1. Ecco: “Men like the styling and comfort across its dress shoes, casuals and sandals. Between these three [categories], it’s a top brand.”

2. OluKai: “It’s a great summer shoe. The sandals and flip-flops are very comfortable. [Men] can wear them to parties and on vacation. And they’re nice if going out to dinner.”

3. Clarks: “It’s a staple for our stores, offering dress and casual shoes that are moderately priced. We’ve carried the brand for a long time and have lots of repeat business.”

What’s not selling: “Outdoor hiking styles and some [outdoor] sandals. [Overall], the rugged shoes are not going as well as they had been.”

Dennie Campbell, buyer, Selby Shoes Etc., Portland, Maine

Top three brands:

1. Rockport: “We’ve been doing well with Rockport’s ‘Let’s Walk’ collection of lightweight comfort looks with a great footbed. And they’re nice-looking shoes.”

2. Clarks: “The Unstructured line has been excellent — lightweight and comfortable.”

3. Keen: “This time of year for us, we’re doing a lot of water shoes.”

What’s not selling: “White soles for us are tough, even for women. If a younger guy comes in, he’ll go for it.”

Top trends: “Athleisure more than anything, and styles that have a transitional look. This is not a dressy part of the country, so dress-up for men is not a super dressy shoe.”

Andrew Koutsoukos, owner, Shoes-n-Feet, San Francisco

Top three brands:

1. On: “Most people buy [their sneakers] for walking around as an everyday shoe. It’s about the design and then the brand’s buzz. [Customers] know it’s the ‘cool brand.’”

2. Ecco: “Soft 7 lace-up style.”

3. Blundstone: “There’s a big buzz around them. They’re comfortable for that type of boot — softer, have a little more cushioning and last longer. A lot of Chelsea boots are leather-soled and hard.”

What’s not selling: “Samuel Hubbard is a brand that was popular for the first two years, but seems to have slowed down. While they have newer styles, we [still] have the ones they [launched] with. We need to get in the newer, better-looking styles. They also slowed down their huge advertising campaign. We used to see a lot of people come in and say they saw The New York Times ad.”

Top trends: “Men are difficult. They don’t buy as many pairs and wear each longer.”

Perry Calhoun, co-owner, The Shoe Market, Greensboro, N.C.

Top three brands:

1. Finn Comfort:  “It offers support. We do almost $2 million a year in those shoes.”

2. Samuel Hubbard: “They’re as hot as a pistol, making a great product. Owner Bruce Katz interprets [styles] well, and customers have caught on, buying them for the look and comfort. The company puts a lot more into the shoes than what they’re selling them for. They have guts and they last. It rings the cash register.”

3. Ecco: “They make a solid shoe that doesn’t tear up.”

What’s not selling: “We try to buy the winners, and most of our [product] is performing. We buy the mediocre lines in moderation and we sell them, but the top [three] brands are powerhouses.”

Top trends: “Sneakers are doing well, and the New Balance 990 is hot. Men are also looking for dress-casuals and casuals.”


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