Over the past year, footwear brands and retailers generated plenty of news with IPOs, dealmaking, buzzy product releases and much more. And they were certainly impacted by other major news events — most notably the supply chain disruptions and price inflation, as well as the tight hiring market.
But what were the stories that really caught the eye of readers on Footwearnews.com this past year? Some related to America’s former first family, while others were focused on big trends in the industry or news that could impact their health or wallets.
In early January, following the attack on the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C., headlines related to the Trump family captured huge attention, even ones about years-old events. After a parody video on social media highlighted a 2017 article about Nordstrom dropping the Ivanka Trump brand, Twitter users lit up the site discussing the retailer’s actions. And even this FN article explaining the confusion turned out to be a top read for 2021.
Pandemic lockdowns drove more people to discover the benefits of nature, and that trend remained surprisingly robust in 2021, prompting every footwear brand and retailer to hunt for more opportunities to reach those new hikers and urban explorers. So it’s no wonder this was one of FN’s most-read stories of the year.
This was a perfect storm of news events as it was a legal tussle over rent payments — which were a major challenge for many shoe companies during the height of the pandemic, when stores closed and sales revenue plummeted. And of course, it featured the attention-grabbing Trump name.
For holiday mall shoppers, this was big news. For the second year in a row, Simon Property Group announced all of its locations would be closed on Nov. 25, or Thanksgiving Day, but would reopen on Black Friday. This retail trend began in 2020 as companies prioritized employee health and wellness, by allowing them to spend time with family and friends.
Many footwear companies have been trimming their lists of wholesale accounts in favor of DTC channels — especially with more consumers shopping online — but Nike arguably started a big trend when it announced plans to stop selling to some notable national retail chains and dot-coms. (Crocs also made a similar move this year and garnered its fair share of attention.)
The bidding war for Reebok was one of the most exciting acquisitions of the year, and it became even more interesting when it was revealed that NBA icon Shaquille O’Neal was instrumental in helping Authentic Brands Group land the deal. In this FN interview with Shaq and ABG CEO Jamie Salter (ahead of their FNAA Company of the Year win), the two partners shared insider details about what happened.
From stimulus checks sent to the wrong account to the Biden administration’s plan for stimulus checks, readers of FN this year were very interested in getting all the latest information about those cash payments from the government.
For both retailers and consumers, this was a major topic in 2021. As more Americans received their COVID-19 vaccine shots and virus case numbers waned in some parts of the country, the question became: to mask or not to mask?