The Unexpected Star of Spring ’20 Retail Buys at New York Men’s Shows

Spring ’20 is shaping up to be another season of casual, comfortable footwear for men. According to specialty and independent shoe store retailers at this week’s Project and MRKET shows in New York, fashion sneakers, hybrid casuals and performance styles from Swiss-made On were high on their shopping lists.

“Everyone is looking for comfort,” said Verrandall Tucker, owner of Details on Granby in Norfolk, Va., about the trend. ”Most people are wearing white-bottom shoes, even with suits.”

Casuals on sneaker bottoms were a focus for Steve Jamison, owner of Blue Sole Shoes in Philadelphia. “Guys are dressing more casually,” said Jamison. “Customers are adding casuals they can wear with more fitted and knit suits.”

Also following up on the sneaker trend was Ted Sharifian, owner of Kian Matthew in Englewood, N.J., who will be adding versions with more refined leather uppers. “People are dressing in suits with open collars and wearing sneakers,” he noted. “Because these styles are comfortable, people will keep the look around.” He observed sneakers and suits have been a trend popularized by many sports commentators on TV, sparking guys to follow suit.

A suede casual from Trask for spring ’20 on a wedge bottom.
CREDIT: George Chinsee

Comfort also rules at The Haberdashery in Forty Fort, Pa. According to co-owner Eric Kuhn, dress sneakers have been a strong look at the store. Today’s slim jeans, he explained, give guys the opportunity to show off their shoes and guys are responding by opting for more luxurious fashion sneakers in rich leathers.

At 45/46 Fine Men’s Apparel in Cincinnati, owner Jim Young said moving into spring ’20, he’ll be continuing with dress-casual shoes on lightweight wedge bottoms, currently a popular look among his clientele. “Men want multipurpose shoes,” he said. “They want styles they can start and end their day in.”

Geox spring ’20 boat shoe on lightweight gray bottom.
CREDIT: GEORGE CHINSEE

Among the store’s key brands are leather casuals on white wedge bottoms from the 1850 line by Johnston & Murphy and casuals by Olukai. Rounding out the offering are performance looks from core running brand On, an unexpected hit for many retailers in the fashion market.

Like Young, Jim Civitello, owner of Enson’s in New Haven, Ct., noted On has been a top performer. “We sell five to six pairs a week,” said the retailer. “They’re light and comfortable.“

On has also been a must-have brand with customers at Lansky Brothers in Memphis, Tenn., according to co-owner Julie Lansky. “The brand is a beast right now,” she said, and it’s having an impact on the store’s dress shoe and leather sneaker businesses. “Guys are putting them on with everything.”

According to Lansky, On running styles with bungee cord closures make great travel shoes since they can be slipped on and off easily at airports. Since the store is located in a hotel, Lansky said, it caters to tourists who are picking up a pair.

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