CAT, Ariat Are Leading at Work Boot Stores as Comfort Remains a Top Priority

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

Mark Sorenson, Co-Owner, Haneys Shoes Work, Omaha, Neb.

Top Three Brands

Keen: “Comfort features such as broader caps (toes).”

Timberland PRO: “Most of the styles we buy have a broader cap and nice [comfortable] insole.”

CAT: “We sell railroad-approved brands for the Burlington Northern Railroad [workers]. The railroad handpicks the brands and styles.”

Not selling: “The traditional heavy-duty rugged boots are not selling as well as they used to. People are going for lighter-weight looks and more comfort features.”

Top Trends: “The weight of a boot. [Consumers] want lightweight, comfort [styles].”

Steve Smith, VP and owner, Smith and Edwards Co., Ogden, Utah

Top Three Brands

CAT: “People are gravitating toward their waterproof styles and the comfort.”

Georgia:  “Name recognition.“

Ariat: ”Comfort and styling. The construction industry [workers] are buying it.”

Not selling: “Merrell core work styles. However, within their umbrella they have a couple of tactical styles that have been doing well.”

Top Trends: “We are selling more 8-inch than 6-inch boots. The weather has [impacted] this trend.”

Michael Kienzle, Owner, Sid Boedecker, St. Louis

Top Three Brands

Hy-Test: “Number one thing we have going right now is Hy-Test’s FootRest 2.0. Xergy composite-toe styles. It’s all about comfort.”

Reebok: “Tennis shoes. We do well with them with composite toes.”

Wolverine: “Cowboy boots with safety toes for industrial wear.”

Not selling: “Merrell safety toe styles have not done well for us. The fit is not right.”

Top trends: “[Customers] are all looking for comfort, whether it’s work shoes or tennis shoe [styles].”

Kevin Overman, Manager, Tidewater Safety Shoes, Newport News, Va.

Top Three Brands

Ariat: “The brand’s starting to take over for us. The safety toe pull-on styles are really good. We’re starting to sell more of them, especially since we’re crossing over from summer into fall/winter.”

Timberland PRO: “We have such a variety of styles, 30 different SKUs on the wall.”

Wolverine: Their I-90 series has done well for us. Now they have the Boa closure that’s attracting consumers.”

Not Selling: “Athletic styles since we’re getting away from summer and starting to roll into fall. When the summer first started, we were selling about 75 percent athletics, but it’s now turning back the other way.”

Top Trends: “For us, a lot of our business is [targeted] to the shipyard [workers] across the street. These workers require waterproof footwear.”

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