Comfort meets fashion
Let’s be honest, who wants to wear shoes that are uncomfortable today? Probably nobody! And that’s why I always find it difficult to use the term “comfortable shoes” or “comfort shoes” when I write about this segment. Even a fashionable shoe has to be comfortable. And a comfortable shoe as fashionable as possible. On the other hand, it is about shoes being able to do a bit more – whether more width, more inner life or even acting as problem solvers, then it is worth taking a closer look. So perhaps we should rather talk about functional shoes in this context? Not really a nice word either.
Whether wellness, comfort or function…Unfortunately, no one has yet found a really appealing name for this segment. It is important in any case – not least against the background of demographic development. People are getting older and want to look good. Not only in terms of clothing, but also in terms of shoes, which, however, have to convince with a perfect fit.
This blog post is therefore dedicated to the topic of “Comfort meets Fashion”. And at first glance it is noticeable that the “comfort shoe manufacturers” have really put their backs into it. Not only in terms of the fashion level of their collections. The image has also been refined, as the great lifestyle photos impressively prove.
Comfortable and fashionable in AUTUMN/WINTER 2023/24
The loafer has arrived. As a comfortable loafer that you can slip into quickly and easily, it is predestined for this segment anyway. Voluminous bottoms are perfect for showing off more width. But flatter versions are also on the rise. Elastic inserts at the sides, Side elastic inserts, interchangeable footbeds and narrow heels are comfort guarantors par excellence alongside soft leather, including patent leather again! Small details like snaffles, chains or tassels raise the fashion level.
Pumps and ballerinas
More colour, more shine and more femininity also provide new impulses in the comfort shoe segment. Always with the necessary casualness, of course. When it comes to styling, it’s all about the mix. Style breaks and contrasts characterise the looks: fine meets coarse, gloss meets matt, discreet meets colourful, voluminous meets slender. Pumps and ballerinas are back in the mix. Comfortable block heels dominate the heels. Discreet (but flexible) platforms and soft footbeds provide more comfort. Slightly wider V-shaped cutout offer more “foot freedom” in pumps and ballerinas. Soft nubukes are truly skin-flattering.
Booties – sporty and chic
The cottagecore trend targets the longing for freedom and the beauties of nature. The advantages of a simple life in a forest cabin are romanticised and placed in an urban context. Streetwear meets folklore. There are no clear styling rules, on the contrary: imagination is called for! The best prerequisites for fashionable, comfortable booties. Lace-up ankle boots (with side zippers!) go well above the ankle (great with skirts and dresses). Booties with gathers emphasise the softness of the leather, profiled, slightly thicker but always flexible soles ensure a relaxed appearance. In addition to warm brown tones (with a hand finish), light, neutral colours like white and off-white as well as versatile light beige shades are in demand. Fur trims and lining (fun fur and teddy are ethically correct) increase the cuddle factor and keep feet warm.
Sneakers shine with gloss and animal prints
The sporty looks we’ve learned to love will stay with us next autumn/winter: Jogpants, quilted waistcoats, casual knits or cool sweats and hoodies, and always chunky sneakers to go with them – the perfect sparring partners of the comfort shoe scene thanks to more volume. But it needs that certain novelty value to set new impulses at the POS. Now is the time for more glamour, more colour and more chic. Sneakers and sneaker boots are also allowed to shine: Lacquer and metallics shine. The new styles are enhanced by small but fine details such as patent applications, metallic piping, sequins, golden eyelets or lurex laces. Animal prints are the order of the day: Zebra, tiger and leo bring the “wild side of life” to life. Function is a given: side zips, elastics, interchangeable footbeds, flexible soles or, even better, soles with balance technology ensure maximum physical well-being.
Solid looks with cargo trousers, checked shirt, quilted waistcoat and parka become unisex favourite companions. However, the booming hiking and trekking trend requires more than just weatherproof clothing. The demand for functional sneakers and boots is also being fuelled by the wanderlust. Manufacturers are ready and offering a veritable cornucopia of shoe types for the most diverse outdoor activities. Comfort and function go hand in hand. Particularly in demand are hybrid types, extra-light hiking styles that are somewhere between a sneaker and a mountain boot and are by no means only worn for hiking. An outdoor feeling is conveyed by natural colours, above all the trend colour green in all its facets. Brightly coloured accents (neon) liven things up. Function is everything. The hiking and trekking styles have numerous comfort features such as soft padding, hooks and eyes or practical quick-release fasteners. Mesh and neoprene are combined with leather. Special attention is paid to the sole technology. Slip-resistant profiles, flexibility and lightness are a must. Balance soles also improve walking comfort and posture. Tex equipment ensures dry, warm feet in wind and weather.
Home sweet home
We make ourselves really cosy at home in the cold season. With chic slippers? Chic? Yes! Slippers have long since shed their stuffy image. Now fashionable models made of soft felt, knitted fabric, plush or real lambskin are entering the domestic scene. With the enormous variety of of shapes and colours, it’s hard to decide on just one pair. You can choose from classic clogs, but also ballerinas, mules, moccasins or casual booties that can be worn for a quick trip out the door. Recycled materials, e.g. recycled cork or felt, meet the desire for sustainability.
And if it is still so “cozy” and comfortably at home. From 5 – 7 March, we would like you to go ” out of doors” again, as the phrase goes. We are looking forward to welcoming you at Areal Böhler.
See you soon at SHOES in Düsseldorf!
Interview with Michael Weyergans, Member of the Executive Board, Brand Manager/Brand Management Ganter Shoes & Hassia Shoes
A touch of femininity
How would you describe the general trend in the comfort shoe segment?
Michael Weyergans: Fashion is being sought after. Fashionable themes are being translated to the comfort shoe segment. The dusty image is completely gone. But we can do more. Comfort is more than an add-on. It’s about core competence and last know-how. We are specialists. We know our way around anatomy and biomechanics, and at Ganter, for example, we offer widths from F to L. At Hassia, the spectrum ranges from G to K. Here we are talking about two worlds: Comfort Fit and Comfort Plus.
How feminine is comfort shoe fashion becoming?
Michael Weyergans: Very feminine. At Hassia it’s details like platform, shine and decorations that give the shoe more femininity. I’m thinking especially of materials like metallics, patent and brush.
Can you tell us the most important shoe type for autumn/winter 2023/24?
Michael Weyergans: At Hassia it’s clearly the college shoe or loafer. But pumps are also back. With rounded squares and block heels. At Ganter it’s low shoes and ankle-high lace-up boots. This is a very urban style. Sneaker boots and sneakers with appliqués in gold are also important. Above all, there is a touch of femininity!