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Vendors Sound Off at The Atlanta Shoe Show

Casual, color and comfort rule the buys this season.

FN Footwear News Chaco

Brands share insight on key styles and hot items for spring '15 from The Atlanta Shoe Market, which took place Saturday, Aug. 23, through Monday, Aug. 25.

Men's/Outdoor/Athletic
Chaco
Nolan Davis, owner of Outdoor Sports Marketing representing Smart Wool socks & Chaco:
"We really have had a strong turnout from Florida to Mississippi. For Chaco, it's been the GXI [sandal], which we have in 17 colors. [During the show], we've really seen the most growth in kids'. Men's is flat and women's is up significantly, but kids' is doing really great."

K-Swiss
Chris McGerigle, Northeast sales representative:
"Trendwise, the resurgence of the white shoe and heritage tennis styles, which K-Swiss is really known for, is really helpful. With the new shield, new marketing and product, we're doing really well. We've seen a lot of old accounts want to restart with us, and plenty of existing accounts looking to grow their offering."

Johnston & Murphy
Mark Williams, sales representative:
"Wingtips are still our hottest style and retail at $165, so we can find that price-conscious spot, and we have styles at $275 and up that people are looking at. There is some pessimism out there, but maybe not as much as I anticipated. Socks are still as strong as they were. We sell out each season. We have definitely had some new prospects this time around. Most of this show is independents [for me], but they do have multiple stores."

Houghton Birkenstock spring 2014
FN Footwear News Trend Carolinna Espinosa
Irina Shayk for Via Spiga

Irina Shayk for Via Spiga

Photo By Courtesy of brand



Comfort
Birkenstock
Richard Spicer, territory manager:
"We're selling the soft-bottom sandals 3-to-1 over the traditional, firm cork. We really have a ton of new accounts. Our main target remains comfort, but we are now able to have more trendier, fashion-oriented stores because we're on all the runways. It's about as diversified a line as it's ever been. Our target customer was 50 and above, and now we have that second group of the 20- to 35-year-old. Men's and kids' are doing well, but women's are by far and away the biggest. We focus on building our classics and core, but we do sell the fun colors and metallics, too."

Women's & Juniors'
Carolinna Espinosa, Charly Amar
Angela Paterson, director of sales:
"We are certainly seeing new boutique accounts and our existing accounts that are coming back, which is really a must, and our major accounts, too. The [Charly Amar] little driving moccasin is doing very well. The ballet flat with the slight heel and the bow have done extremely well, especially the ones with the touch of color. The Carolinna Espinosa line is doing well, too. We did the camel and coral color combination, which is popular, and the unique heel and the flats are doing quite well for us, especially in the bold black-and-white pattern."

Muk Luks
Pamela Kerwin, account executive:
"We've had a great show, and we've had a really great reaction to the spring line. It's a mix of independents — who may have anywhere from two to 20 stores — and the majors are here, too. Muk Luks overall has had a little bit of a challenge moving into spring and translating what we do for fall to warmer temperatures. We have embraced colors, patterns and embellishments — which is what we're really all about — and applied it to the [footbed] trend. This is really the trend out there right now, so we took it and put our spin on it."

The Sak, Sakroots, Elliott Lucca
Karen Carbone, national sales manager of footwear:
"We haven't done this show for a while, but a lot of stores know us and we're renewing relationships from the past. Most interest has been in Sak and Sakroots, because they have carried the handbags, but now they're interested in the footwear offerings, so we're building on that. We weren't sure what to expect this time around, but I think one thing we know is to bring more bags the second time, because buyers are looking for accessories, too."

Titan Industries Inc.
Joel Gumpel, Southeastern sales representative:
"We get a real local flavor here at this show and see a lot of our regional clients. The GX [by Gwen Stefani] has been doing very well. The first customer I had was Heels.com, and they bought just about everything in the line. Penny Loves Kenny has been doing phenomenal for us, too."

Via Spiga
Allison Burke, account executive:
"We've seen traffic pick up more [on Sunday], because a lot of our clients are small-business owners, so leaving their store on a Saturday isn't really ideal. We're seeing a lot of interest in sandals, espadrilles and the sportier styles."



Children's

See Kai Run
Ali Thompson, sales representative:
"We're seeing a lot of new accounts which is really great, whether older stores or brand-new ones opening. For us, we provide the sort of basics for kids' shoes but with the embellishments the kids want, which, especially here in the South, is what they look for. We're Atlanta-based, so this show is important for us. Florida is a bit tough for us in terms of people visiting because a lot of Florida still shops in New York and it's hard to get them to come to Atlanta. Here, I say it's more Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, the Carolinas and a few from elsewhere, like Colorado."

Stride Rite
Tracy Stenger, sales representative:
"Saturday was a slow-traffic day for us because a lot of people were traveling, but today is a bit better. Sperry Kids and Saucony Kids are doing extremely well for us, and we have six brands here, so it really aims to fill that niche for each store."