Sacrifice style for comfort? That’s so last season

Lifestyle footwear for spring 2014 is cute, wearable and offers all-day support.
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Throughout the next month, SNEWS will recap its coverage of Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2013 with select stories from the O.R. Daily we published at the show July 31 – Aug. 3. It’s an opportunity for you to catch up on stories you might have missed in O.R.D., and for us to update and upload the articles to our searchable archives.

Look up from your computer screen for a moment. Chances are there’s a woman in a pair of wedge heels nearby. She probably looks good — and if she’s scored a spring sample, she’s probably pretty comfortable, too.

Spring 2014 lifestyle footwear proves that a heel can provide support, walking shoes aren’t just for grandparents and that both men and women love a slip-on.

Walking with purpose is one reason customers gravitate toward Toms, and each season Toms get a little sexier. This time around, the company introduces its Platform Wedge collection, with lower heels than previous wedges, increased comfort and cleaner designs. The shoes have suede straps and either cork or rope soles (MSRPs $69-$79).

Minnetonka Moccasin, best known for its fringed moccasins and booties, has been playing in the wedge category for a few seasons. The most fashionable of the new products is the Libby (MSRP $65), a cork wedge with a Southwestern print on the jute-and-linen upper.

Durango Boots launches its Milan Collection, which contains a few wedge styles with colorful leather uppers featuring decorative perforation and hardware, such as metal studs.

“We’ve always used leather for our fashion products,” said Sales Director Micah Covert, adding that this season’s products mix retro and modern sensibilities. “They’re lightweight and more flexible, but feature traditional patterns with a fresh twist.”

Earthies Campora

LifestyleFootwear_Earthies_campora_nubuck_black

The Casela (MSRP $169) and Campora (MSRP $179), nubuck-upper and stacked-wood heels from Earthies, look as far from outdoorsy as you can get. They’d pair perfectly with a cute dress, but once customers feel the deep heel cups and cushy-yet-supportive midsole, they’ll know a night on the town won’t end in foot pain.

The phrase “walking shoes” used to conjure images of Grandpa’s orthopedic shoes. Time for an update.

Rockport Modern Walking Shoes

LifestyleFootwear_Rockport_CraftedSportCasualMudguardOx

Rockport brings what it calls “modern walking shoes,” which add retro hipster detailing to practical footwear. Rockport, owned by Adidas, incorporates Adidas Adiprene technology in both the forefoot and the heel for all-day comfort.

Dansko, known for its clogs, steps into the walking world with its Santa Fe sneakers collection and Sienna performance sandal line. All of the products have Poron lining for energy return and arch support.

“These are for the woman who sees health and fitness as part of her everyday life,” said Ebeth Pitman, Dansko’s vice president of marketing. “She values being healthy and wants a product that complements her lifestyle.”

Notable products in the line are the Santa Fe, a lace-up walking shoe, and the Isabel and Irene strappy sandals (both MSRP $120).

For the first time, Salewa launches a few lifestyle products — the men’s Escape (MSRP $169) and women’s Ramble (MSRP $149) — which are as comfortable at a lounge after work as they are in a meadow.

Oliberté’s men’s Lemayo (MSRP $125) is the company’s version of a deck shoe for those who seek a rugged/casual look for every day. The Natolo (MSRP $133) is the company’s newest moccasin; it’s made in Ethiopia and features a map of the country on the sole of the shoe. Now with Ortholite insoles, Oliberté’s offerings are ready to offer a cushy experience in any environment.

Clarks, on the other hand, is known for its lifestyle products but has launched outdoor products with its multisport Outset for men and Inset for women (MSRP $120). While it has a multisport title, it’s casual enough to pair with jeans.

In terms of fabric, linen and jute are big, and items with such fabric uppers often are featuring fun prints and polka dots. OTZ Shoes offers its OTZ-300GMS linen (both MSRP $80) with CorkLite comfort technology outsole.

Those fabrics are popular because consumers connect with natural fibers. Plus, companies like NoShu and Toms are telling a recycling story in many of their products.

NoShu launches its men’s Even Board (MSRP $64) with a simple, wide toe box and a zero-drop offset with an 8mm thick outsole. It features recycled-rubber inner tube at the heel. Its women’s counterpart, the Camden Stripe (MSRP $49), has recycled inner tube as its outsole.

Another fun print for flats is the polka dots at Dr. Scholl’s Shoes. The dots pop up in its Marlee Slip On and Maylee Lace Up (both MSRP $65).

Oliberte Blanca

LifestyleFootwear_Oliberte_Blanca

Suede and nubuck leather flats are raging, too. Oliberté brings its Blanca Wingtip Smoking Slipper (MSRP $110).

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