Men’s footwear brands are designing out of the box with styles that break away from their traditional offerings, and Project New York (July 19-21) was the perfect setting to dabble with new product.
Blundstone, which has benefited from buzz surrounding its collaboration with Ducati Scrambler and its growing list of notable retail partners (Barney’s, Steven Alan and Urban Outfitters, to name a few), brought out a new range of Spring ’16 clogs—a first for the boot-centric company. The men’s clog has a distinct Blundstone look with the same last as its Original 500 boot, and is available in four earthy colors.
For Blundstone, debuting a clog is their next step toward becoming a multi-purpose, year-round brand, and this move carries on the momentum the company has built this year. Fall ’15 will mark the brand’s biggest offering, including new suede fabrications and its first range designed specifically for women.
Similarly, Pajar Canada is taking a break from heavy-duty, winter boots with a new line of men’s sandals retailing for about $50. The memory foam sandals feature nods to the brand’s utilitarian roots, including crisscross slides with buckles and chunky eyelet hardware, denim-printed leather straps and washed pops of olive green, gray and brown. Pajar USA Vice President Paul Habicht said the sandals are a continuation of the brand’s efforts to become a year-round staple for customers who began by buying boots and then its expanded range of Italian leather sneakers.
The company is also introducing a sleek range of waterproof boot options for men that merchandises well with dressier leather styles. The line includes a chukka lace-up available in black and brown, and a Chelsea boot with brogue details in navy, black and brown. Habicht said the function-meets-fashion boots have received a good response from department stores and independents seeking newness for the shop floor.
Hush Puppies is continuing with Style, its line of contemporary men’s dress shoes, with a new brogue, low wedge chukka, oxford and monk. However, the line has a decidedly relaxed feel with washed gray leathers. That chill feel is carried into a healthy portion of Hush Puppies’ Spring ’16 range, including styles that toe the line between casual and beach footwear, showing little hint of the brand’s suede roots.
The men’s signature collection offers a distressed canvas slip-on with side goring for comfort and a washed canvas cupsole lace-up and slip-on. Some styles are accented with frayed edges. In particular, the brand is having success with its washed blue—a hue that takes on a denim-like appearance on canvas styles and the new leather Rayland Grady sandal.
Even Ted Baker, a brand synonymous with proper footwear attire, is relaxing this spring by focusing more on its “garden occasion and party” footwear instead of its traditional tuxedo dressing. Highlights include suede driving moccasins in dusty rose and teal. Meanwhile, a range of floral print athleisure slides and flip-flops speak to pool party revelers.