After our inaugural article last year, the second Retail Buyer’s Guide for the category of Hanging Shoes shows some new developments and innovations that retailers can capitalize on this summer. Trend Report by Anna Langer.
Since their main field of activity is a warm summer setting, it’s no big surprise that beach inspiration is at the forefront for sandals, flip flops, espadrilles and all other kinds of hanging shoes that are not displayed on shelves but, as the name suggests, hanging from displays.
Cool Shoes used the French beach culture and patterns from all around the world which they found on their surf trips as a base for their new styles. Havaianas play with a “Tropical Mood” for both genders and Reef expand their “Beach Casual Collection,” which offers cute-feminine basics that “exemplify the casual beach lifestyle that Reef is all about,” as Footwear Product Line Manager, Colton Marquardt explains.
Heritage vibes are another strong topic for Spring/Summer 2018, with the “Californian spirit of the early 80s,” from Cool Shoes, a “photo print with a vintage feel,” from Havaianas and a redesigned new vulcanized line for men from Reef that gives their heritage men’s styles “a new life.”
Rainbow add that “sandal trends are moving towards having more straps and/or braids and ornaments,” which they are catering for with “new options with braids and flower accessories.” Reef also try a new take on a “classic sling back slip-on that has a removable ankle wrap to dress this style up or down.” For Rainbow their main focus will remain on “keeping quality high and making a comfortable sandal that can be worn every day and won’t wear out.”
Cobian agree that “bringing comfort and support, without sacrificing style, is now expected within the market”, and offer “pillowing and comfort features within key strike points on the footbed, such as the heel and transverse arch.”
TECHNOLOGY & MATERIALS
To ensure top quality, Cool Shoes have all their models handmade and Reef emphasize the very traditional way in which their shoes are made at their factory, gives them a “raw and organic feeling.” Their women’s line uses a cold cement process that allows for foam outsoles, while Cobian use cold press and hot press moulds for their footbeds. Rainbow work with a layered construction that allows for repairs if the shoe breaks. To ensure a great fit, most brands do a combination of usability and wear testing.
EVA and other rubbers continue as the main materials for this category, with Cobian introducing a new silicon-based top-sole material for less wear over time and better rebound. Rainbow are experimenting with shuttle loom nylon with bonded nylon thread. We can also see more leather on our feet: unlined from Reef, top grain unbuckle leather from Rainbow, vegan alternatives from Cobian and Cool Shoes, and Havaianas also introduces leather for the first time.
Other new materials include velvet (Reef & Havaianas), cork from Cool Shoes and 6 oz. canvas, cotton rip-stop and “organic hemp basket weave,” from Reef.
Since footwear needs to go with a lot of different looks and clothes, classic colour ranges including black, brown and grey stay popular, as Rainbow confirm: “We dabble a little in other colours but we’ve found that brown works the best.”
Havaianas utilize synergies between categories and prints that refer to their tropical theme, inspired by “Brazil and in the vibrant way the Brazilian lives,” says Barbara Bento, EMEA Product Merchandising Manager. With inspiration gathered in Miami, Reef play with the contrast of “tropical colour pops and muted natural tones,” and show “subtle pops of vibrancy alongside wearable natural earth tones,” while Cobian match their colour palette with the outdoor and athletic markets.
POINT OF SALE
Besides comfy, quality products that customers will instantly want to wear, if only for the feeling of summer on their feet, brands are also supplying some great aids for shops to capitalize even more on this relatively easy and rewarding product segment. Different kinds and sizes of display allow for presentation in different spots in and outside of the shop, to attract as many customers as possible. Rainbow offer displays made from recycled pallets and Barbara from Havaianas says: “We always have a large selection of POS materials from freestanding displays, to walls, table top displays and special hangers. We create a range of options to suit the different styles of retailers.”
Rainbow have customized hang tags for every style and Cobian feature a special hangtag that “extends off the hanger and over the sandal with specific messaging about the product,” that is unique on the market, as Sean Morrison explains. Reef also launch new hangers made from recycled plastic with an added eco-agent that allows the material to decompose if it ends up in the landfill.