For Famous Footwear, back to school fashion is all about curating a consumer-focused assortment – and this season, that takes form in perennial favorites from footwear brands such as Birkenstock, Converse, Crocs, Dr. Martens and Nike.
Famous Footwear – part of the Caleres portfolio – offers the hottest trends from sought-after brands for the entire family. And with over 900 brick-and-mortar stores nationwide and a best-in-class ecommerce site, the retailer must be doing something right. Caleres recently announced that Famous delivered record second quarter sales and record operating earnings that exceed the full-year 2019.
The brand told FN that much of its differentiation lies in its omni-channel strategy, which involves customer-first services that make shopping at Famous Footwear “convenient and accessible.” This includes its Famously Fast in-store and curbside Pickup and Famously Easy Returns policy, alongside tenured associates who focus on “making the customer feel their best no matter what they’re looking for.” Its award winning Famously You Rewards program, which saw a 20 percent increase in new members since the start of the year, also provides valuable incentives for the Famous consumer.
It’s been an exciting year for the brand already with the launch of a new e-commerce site – where sales have increased more than 50 percent over 2019 – and a private label credit card linked to its Famously You Rewards program. “We’ll continue to expand features and functions on our e-commerce platform and mobile app and will continue to invest in our brick-and-mortar footprint – implementing superior shopping experiences like kids’ and athletics shop-n-shops.”
This time of year, it’s all about Back to School – historically the most important time of year for Famous,” the brand said. Famous Footwear’s back-to-school and fall fashion lineup debuts new styles from consumer-favorites such as Birkenstock, Converse, and Dr. Martens, which – true to form – feature quintessential Nineties fare, both classic and sporty, alongside bold and uber-colorful styles from Crocs and Nike.
Footwear aside, the brand goes a step beyond with its own company-wide ambitions. Famous Footwear told FN, “We’ve been expanding our national partnership with the non-profit organization Ticket to Dream Foundation. Since the launch of the program at the end of 2020, we are excited to report we’ve just passed the $4 million mark in donations to assist foster youth across the country. Our round-up at the register option, both in-stores and online, has proven very successful for connecting our customer with this great cause, and we’re excited to continue the momentum.’
The brand added that it will also continue to “focus its assortment on the key brands that resonate and emotionally connect with our customers.”
SHOE OF THE MONTH: Vionic’s ‘Tokyo Sneaker’ Pairs Style, Authentic Support, JULY 2021
Sporty style and bona fide support rarely go hand-in-hand — but for Vionic, a footwear brand by Caleres, its raison d’être is to pair a smart aesthetic with lasting comfort that promotes an enduring feeling of wellbeing for its wearers.
Self-described as a style-driven, supportive footwear brand, Vionic’s credo is to “promote wellness from the ground up.” The brand told FN, “[Our] customers don’t have to compromise between looking good and feeling good. Our proprietary, podiatrist-developed Vio-Motion™ footbed technology is designed into every shoe we make, delivering Three-Zone Comfort stability, cushioning, and ultimate arch support.”
“The wellness derived from this empowers people to step up to their best lives—especially if they suffer from plantar fasciitis or other chronic foot ailments—providing the relief they seek in shoes they love to wear.”
Coupled with Three-Zone Comfort, Vionic active styles Tokyo, also offer its 1st Ray technology, which specifically helps with forefoot stability and flexibility through the big toe, the brand explained.
A top seller, Tokyo is billed as the most comfortable active shoe Vionic offers. Prized for its lightweight feel, flexibility and stability, the Tokyo is made with breathable mesh and man-made uppers, a durable rubber outsole, and its textile-covered Vio-Motion™ orthotic is removable. Tokyo is offered in six colorways, inclusive of a “Pastel Lilac” that is wholly unique.
Vionic explained that its current overall design focus emphasizes the comfort and casualization trend grown out of time spent at home over the past year. “We’re mixing fashion with sporty-outdoorsy elements, like lug soles and waterproof constructions, including our first-ever waterproof sneaker. We’re additionally offering customers styles that serve the back-to-office transition and the work-from-home hybrid.”
“Materials reflect a creative use of knit, faux-shearling, and puffy-inspired quilting to impart an inviting visual softness in optimistic colors and patterns. Where we’ve been is definitely reflected in where we are going.”
Style and trends aside, Vionic takes pride in its Vionic Innovation Lab, a consumer-centric platform filled with wide-ranging lifestyle content created by leading medical doctors and health and wellness experts. The brand said that many of its products carry the APMA Seal of Acceptance, which certifies that its shoes are beneficial in promoting foot health, “making Vionic one of only a few footwear brands with demonstrated ability to provide proper support. Whether it’s work, rest, or play, we stand out in a wellness-focused way with a stylish, supportive product that the marketplace previously lacked.”
From the brand’s perspective, Vionic’s niche focus on wellness is what enabled it to emerge as “a key growth brand” within the Caleres portfolio.
“It’s the uniqueness of our wellness-delivering support technology and the way it’s infused into coveted collections of modern classics and fresh trends. It’s the breadth of our selection, offering something for everyone and every occasion. It’s our following; backed up by product experts who champion us, influencers who follow us, editors who feature us, and most importantly consumers—our incredible ‘raving fans’—who affirm that our shoes have changed their lives.”
“Caleres has been a great fit for Vionic, and we’ve only just gotten started. We’re excited to see how this partnership can make footwear history.”
SHOE OF THE MONTH: Allen Edmonds Turns Best-Selling Shoe into Sneaker, JUNE 2021
Functionality, versatility and comfort are just a few of the leading key descriptors for upcoming fall fashion – and for Allen Edmonds, a heritage footwear brand by Caleres, its focus is on meeting said “needs of the current moment” by delivering expanded and evolved lines that cater to shoppers’ shifted preferences.
That’s why its fall lineup includes the “Strand Oxford Sneaker,” its best-selling Strand style newly available as a rubber-soled sneaker. The handsome pick—available in a bourbon-colored “walnut” or black—is designed with six-eyelet, lace-up, dress sneaker uppers featuring brogue details and then strategically paired with customizable rubber soles available in colors such as blue or red. It’s just the type of hybrid shoe shoppers might seek when heading back into the workplace, due to its “dress casual” style, FlyFormTM removable insole that provides enhanced support and shock absorption, and its flexibility and comfort.
“As dress codes and workplaces are evolving, we are too,” Allen Edmonds told FN. “We’re expanding our line of elevated leather sneakers, introducing brand new styles of ruggedly refined boots and updating some of our most iconic designs with rich materials and colors like golden turmeric, deep burgundy and edgy shades of green. It’s a collection of functionally versatile footwear built to meet the needs of the current moment.”
Its Strand Oxford Sneaker offers a heritage look and feel, which authentically speaks to the brand’s beginnings nearly a century ago. “Since 1922, our shoes have set the standard for timeless American style. We work with the world’s top tanneries to source the very best materials like full-grain European calfskin and English suede,” the brand explained to FN.
Allen Edmonds calls U.S. presidents, business leaders and “multiple generations of discerning individuals” among the fans of its footwear – and they said that the brand aims to represent both the “rich history and future possibilities” for American style. “We share many of the same core values as the other members of our family of brands [at Caleres], including a focus on fit, comfort and timeless design. At the same time, we bring a unique perspective to mix through our singular dedication to using exceptional materials and craftsmanship to make the very best men’s shoes, sneakers and boots.”
Handcrafted in Port Washington, Wisconsin, Allen Edmonds said that its attention to quality and American craftsmanship is perhaps its greatest differentiator. “Both time-tested processes and the latest innovative techniques are used to ensure the highest level of craftsmanship for our footwear, including our dress shoes and boots,” the brand said. “A commitment to honesty, integrity and quality have set us apart for the last century and will continue to define our every step forward into the next one.”
SHOE OF THE MONTH: Naturalizer’s True Colors Collection, MAY 2021
“Let’s get real” is the pithy plea behind Naturalizer’s recently expanded True Colors Collection — and the brand’s continual commitment to footwear inclusivity is inspired by the notion that nude is not a “one-shade-fits-all” kind of color.
Naturalizer, a Caleres brand, first dipped its toe into color inclusivity in spring 2019 when it initially debuted the True Colors Collection. Its expanded collection now features ten neutral shades in a variety of silhouettes, ranging from delectable, enticingly named colors such as Nutmeg, Cocoa and Barely Cremé, to richer, more traditional hues in the vein of Mahogany or Espresso.
To create its new range of nudes, Naturalizer utilized its own consumer insights and feedback to help guide the undertones for each shade that should be considered during the design process, the company explained.
And one of the brand’s greatest differentiators is its enduring dedication to comfort and fit. Naturalizer’s Contour Plus Comfort technology is inherently inclusive, as it helps pinpoints those tough-to-find sizes and widths for women’s shoes and translates it into practical, feminine footwear.
But technology aside, Naturalizer’s “Vera” shoe is a top seller in the collection, a simplistically elegant sandal with an open silhouette and modern heel shape, available in all ten shades. Later this year, Naturalizer will launch a limited-edition “Astara” sneaker designed in collaboration with Candace Reels of The Female Collective, which will benefit Black Girls Code, and in addition, will relaunch its RSVP Collection of styles later this summer.
Also in alignment with Naturalizer’s design inclusivity is the brand’s Today We Will campaign, which matches passion with purpose through showcasing the stories of diverse, driven, inspiring female leaders and their chosen Naturalizer styles — bringing the brand full circle.
“Naturalizer is a lead asset within the Caleres portfolio with a rich heritage and signature aesthetic,” the company told FN. It is a brand for all women — with a mission to design shoes that fit how women live their lives.”