Trade Show Executives Talk What to Expect at This Season’s FFANY, Magic, Micam & More

After a period of growth spurred by post-quarantine spending and the return of events last year, 2022 has brought with it supply chain challenges and spiking in­flation — two topics that will certainly be top-of-mind during the upcoming summer trade shows.

In response, event organizers are working to bring the industry together to uncover the best ways to navigate through these issues. Whether by offering networking events, hosting educational panels, or creating digital tools that facilitate the new post-pandemic way of doing business, trade shows are focused on implementing meaningful changes that will facilitate even more connections.

Here, organizers of the footwear community’s largest markets discuss what’s new this season and why their shows remain essential for the industry.

Kelly Helfman

President, Informa Markets Fashion

Kelly Helfman, Informa Markets Fashion
Kelly Helfman
CREDIT: Informa Markets Fashion

ENSURING THE SHOW REMAINS A MUST-VISIT: “With the return to in-person events, we are excited to incorporate new amenities under one roof in one location. We are now offering our brands the ability to conduct live-stream selling from the show floor to reach retailers who are not at the event, as well as offering retail buyers the opportunity to go live from the show while shopping, allowing their consumers to pre-order live. We are also adding metaverse education and other workshops for both brands and retailers.”

WHAT’S NEW: “Our contemporary men’s show, Project, is returning to New York in July, after not holding a physical event in the city since before the spread of the coronavirus. The show will feature a curated presentation of men’s and gender-fluid apparel, footwear, and accessories, ranging from premium to affordable luxury price points. The show is also getting a new home. We’re moving to a venue called Iron 23 in the Flatiron District.”

BRANDS TO WATCH: “At Project New York, buyers should check out Todd Patrick, Le Bonnet, New Braves, OAS, and Ron Dorff. At our Vegas shows in August, don’t miss Scotch & Soda footwear and Katy Perry Footwear, both new to Project Las Vegas. At Magic, be on the lookout for Petite Jolie, Minnetonka, Floafers and 4Earth by Blowfish Malibu.”

Matt Priest

President & CEO of FDRA and FFANY

Matt Priest, FFANY
Matt Priest

ENSURING THE SHOW REMAINS A MUST-VISIT: “There’s never a doubt in our minds that, as retailers descend upon the city on a quarterly basis to find new shoe styles and new brands, New York is the place to be. We have a robust marketplace that aims to serve the industry in the best way, and we really look to the industry to leads us in what we do.”

WHAT TO EXPECT: “This will be our second in-person market in New York, but we’re anticipating a much larger turnout than we had in December.”

BRANDS TO WATCH: “Birkenstock, Toms, Jessica Simpson and Hey Dude are all must-sees this season. Also be on the lookout for Kappa, Superga, and Dearfoams.”

SPECIAL EVENTS: “This June market, we will have the Two Ten Footwear Foundation charity event on June 6, which is a holdover from the December market last year. We are also planning a robust lineup of events for our August market.”

Marisa Nicholson

SVP & Show Director, Outdoor Retailer

Marisa Nicholson, Outdoor Retailer
Marisa Nicholson
CREDIT: Outdoor Retailer

WHAT TO EXPECT: “The use of responsible materials will be at the forefront at Outdoor Retailer this summer and is the topic for multiple education sessions. We also have several education sessions planned that will discuss trends and the future consumer to help attendees plan for beyond this year.”

BRANDS TO WATCH: “This summer’s Outdoor Retailer features more than 550 exhibiting brands, and over 20% are new. Among the new exhibitors to see are Decathlon, Floafers, Bloch, Glyder, Aventon Bikes and more. Some of the heritage exhibitors back this summer include Adidas Terrex, Dansko, Fox River, Vasque Footwear, Helly Hansen and CamelBak.”

SPECIAL EVENTS: “To mark [OR’s 40th anniversary], we’re holding a party on the first night of the summer show, June 9. That party follows our annual Inspiration Awards. On June 10, we’re hosting the 5Point Film Festival of adventure films and stories.”

FUTURE PLANS: “We see the return to Salt Lake City [in January 2023] as an opportunity for our industry to work closely with state officials on the programs and policies that are important to our community and necessary for the growth of our industry. We believe that collectively staying engaged is constructive — we have the ability to leverage the weight of our industry to make an impact. We have always made it a goal to unite our industry, and we’ll continue to create opportunities for everyone to be engaged, to do business and to celebrate each other.”

Siro Badon

President, Assocalzaturifici

Siro Badon, MICAM
Siro Badon

ENSURING THE SHOW REMAINS A MUST-VISIT: “By visiting [Micam Milano], those in the trade can catch up on the latest products and trends thanks to the presence of top Italian manufacturers and leading footwear brands. In addition, alongside the exhibition, we also offer a packed lineup of talks and seminars that explore subjects of topical interest, from environmental sustainability to the future of retailing.”

WHAT TO EXPECT: “At this next edition, Micam will once again demonstrate the importance it attributes to sustainability by extending its new Micam Green Zone, which represents both a think-tank and a promotional opportunity for businesses. The area is dedicated to all those who want to know more about how to reduce the environmental impact of their production processes. There will also be a section dedicated to VCS (Verified and Certified Steps), the certification mark owned by Assocalzaturifici.”

BRANDS TO WATCH: “For sure, the creations of emerging designers shouldn’t be missed. As always, a panel of experts will select some of the most interesting new talents on the international scene exclusively for the event.”

SPECIAL EVENTS: “The Micam Tales Square will be back: an area inspired by the marketing campaign that has become a real happening for visitors to the fair to look forward to.”

Laura Conwell-O’Brien

Executive Director, The Atlanta Shoe Market

Laura Conwell-O’Brien, Atlanta Shoe Market
Laura Conwell-O’Brien
CREDIT: Robin Bish

ENSURING THE SHOW REMAINS A MUST-VISIT: “With the ease of traveling to Atlanta both domestically and internationally, the Atlanta Shoe Market remains the most economic show to attend for both companies and retailers. And the show has the largest collection of shoes all under one roof.”

WHAT TO EXPECT: “The Atlanta Shoe Market has become an international show with exhibitors from Brazil, Mexico, Portugal, Spain, and Italy. There are many brands from Canada and Puerto Rico as well.”

SPECIAL EVENTS: “The Atlanta Shoe Market has planned an opening night reception and casino party, which is complimentary to all attendees. Additionally, the National Shoe Retailers Association (NSRA) is conducting a seminar on Sunday, Aug. 14, where Management One’s Dane Cohen will outline key strategies that will help retailers build a solid framework around their inventory purchases, keep cash flow positive and succeed in a changing environment.

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