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Slipper Buzz: Acorn, SmartWool, Levi's and More...

Acorn is leaving the comforts of home behind in favor of a walk in the great outdoors.

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Inside Out

Acorn is leaving the comforts of home behind in favor of a walk in the great outdoors. Based on the success of its foray into street looks in 2005, the Lewiston, Maine-based company has continued to ramp up its offering of more traditional shoes. The latest addition is the Earthroamer Collection, featuring men’s and women’s looks with an eco-friendly slant. The uppers combine water-repellent wool felt blended with 50 percent recycled PET and rough-out suede, while the outsole is made of natural rubber hand-pressed with jute. The shoes are lined in brushed mesh that’s been treated with Agion antimicrobial agent, and feature removable molded footbeds. “They’re designed for function, versatility and all-day wear,” said Karen Haskell, VP of brand design and marketing for Acorn. Slated to hit stores in July, the collection includes a clog, moc and boot in an array of colors. Retail prices will range from $75 to $100.

Sock Hop


After 15 years in the sock business, Steamboat Springs, Colo.-based SmartWool is stepping into footwear with indoor-outdoor shoes and slippers that tap into its hosiery heritage. The men’s and women’s styles feature double-merino wool uppers (that are naturally antimicrobial and odor-resistant) and durable gum-rubber-and-hemp outsoles. There is also a clog style with a felt bottom (above). Since comfort is key to the line, all styles also feature contoured EVA footbeds with arch support.

According to Molly Cuffe, SmartWool’s communications manager, the company decided to broaden its product offering at the suggestion of retailers and consumers looking for another way to enjoy the fun socks. “We’re playing off the success of our lifestyle sock line,” said Cuffe. “The shoes are great after skiing or snowboarding. You can slip them on and drive home.” The collection, which will retail from $70 to $125, includes three women’s and two men’s styles. The line will be available in September, and is targeted to SmartWool’s current account list, which includes independent shoe and outdoor specialty stores.

Denim Friendly

Iconic denim brand Levi’s is bringing its relaxed approach to dressing to the slipper world with a collection of at-home and indoor-outdoor footwear. The debut offering, aimed at guys ages 15 to 25, includes a scuff at $35 and a moccasin (at left) at $45. Both styles are designed to footnote Levi’s denim casual wear. Slated to hit stores in September, the line will be targeted to accounts that carry Levi’s apparel. A companion women’s collection is on the drawing board. The collection is being produced under license by Pickerington, Ohio-based R.G. Barry.

Dinner Time

Women’s contemporary brand BC Footwear is introducing its first slippers this fall. The indoor-outdoor collection consists of takes on some of the brand’s best-selling shoe styles, whimsically renamed after classic American comfort foods: Meatloaf, a penny moc (below); Mac and Cheese, a cowboy boot; and Pot Roast, a riding boot. “As a reaction to the economy, our culture is craving comfort,” said Danny Silvera, director of marketing for El Segundo, Calif.-based Seychelles, BC’s parent company. “The TV Dinner collection offers the coziness of hanging out at home.” The slippers will retail from $40 to $50 at independents and online retailers.

TREND FORECAST

This fall, the slipper category is cozier than ever, as at-home looks put the focus on retro sweater knits and fun fur. Classic booties and clogs are packed with comfort features ranging from plush linings to sturdy indoor-outdoor soles. Here, Footwear News makes slipper shopping a snap with a cheat sheet of the season’s top trends.

Colors and Patterns

• Pastel bedroom tones: pink, blue, champagne

• Brights: raspberry pink, emerald green, royal blue, regal purple

• Earthy neutrals: cream, beige, brown, green

Materials

• Plushes and micro suedes

• Fair Isle, cable and argyle knits

• Menswear-inspired plaids, herringbones and tweeds

• Faux fur

• Sheepskin

• Boiled wool and wool felt

Silhouettes

• Booties

• Clogs

• Moccasins

• Ballerinas

• Soft-sole slipper-socks

Features and Benefits

• Indoor-outdoor soles

• Cushioned, contoured footbeds

• Cozy linings

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