Work Related

The shoes that have been designed for loggers, pole climbers and roof repairmen have found a niche. The footwear industry’s work-related shoes or loggers are predicted to be in demand basing on their sales during the Fashion Footwear Assn of New York’s show. Not only do loggers fit into the expected trend in blue-collar fashion, but they are also sturdy and practical for harsher climates.

Paul Bunyan: Fashion or Folk Hero?

Before Paul Bunyan goes down in the books a fashion legend, let’s check out how loggers are checking out at retail. According to several vendors at the recent Fashion Footwear Association of New York (FFANY) show, stores outside major cities are finding loggers may not answer all retail dreams.

Will they eventually move out of the stockroom onto the selling floor and, more importantly, onto consumers’ feet in larger quantities? Vendors agreed that the look might be a bit too forward for much of the buying public but — as with Dr. Martens — patience will prove a retail virtue.

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There is a footnote that may encourage consumers to get out both their union cards and credit cards, and that’s the classic tan nubuck construction boot, which is making a comeback, according to FFANY resources. It’s a work-related look that’s not quite as severe as loggers, pole climbers and what one resource at FFANY referred to as a roofer boot, but it still fits into the wave of blue-collar fashion that’s washing over the young market.

But it’s not the silhouette that’s making news; it’s the color — a golden tan that in the past has been overshadowed by black. Suddenly, Tan is back and is even showing up in other silhouettes such as a basic Oxford on a lug sole.

The plain-toed Oxford and workbook will not be as plain as they’ve been in the past as moc toe treatments update the look. This detail, also being translated to the rugged category, may seem a minor one, but it’s one that gives retailers a reason to keep on buying. To prove its fashion merits, lines like Dr. Martens, shown by London Underground, Portland, Ore., pictured here, are offering the look for a non-union crowd.

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The Real Interest is Still in Bottoms

Whatever may be happening in uppers, the real interest is still in bottoms, with lug soles still the number-one choice on just about everything. However, there is more to the sole story coming up, and that’s the reintroduction of genuine crepe, a sometimes pricey material but one that keeps the environment in mind with its natural characteristics.

Consumers’ growing awareness of Mother Nature is the reason waterproof leathers mean so much these days. It’s no longer a material reserved for performance looks, but one the consumer is demanding in everyday footwear, particularly in harsher climates.

But being practical isn’t everything even in the men’s business, and the forward end of the business is betting on elongated lasts that finish off in blunter, squarer-toed shapes. Often, they’re being interpreted in slip-on versions that reach around the instep. Chunky heels and soles balance out the look.

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