A Whole New World
Brands Are Redefining Comfort & Style for Today’s Re-imagined Workplace.
Over the past two years, comfort has been king when it comes to footwear trends. But as the world continues to open up and a “return to the office” starts to impact more and more people, how much ground will style gain back? Here are some of the ways that the evolving workplace will impact footwear trends this season and beyond.
Consumers Will Define the Trends
“The return to the workplace has allowed the consumer to define how work shoes look and feel. Women are gravitating towards traditional silhouettes that are less structured and incorporate softer leathers, lower heel heights and feel more like her athletic footwear underfoot. Dansko has seen a reinvigoration of some of our Mary Jane and flatter dress silhouettes and we have complemented them with leather covered wedges and lower outside heels in supple leathers that look very professional but are as comfortable as the slippers and sneakers she may have been wearing during the pandemic.”
— Kitty Bolinger, EVP of sales, Dansko
Transitional Styles Will Blend Comfort with Professional Style
“We have witnessed a trend in comfort taking precedence over fashion since 2020. As we see people going from the stay-at-home working model back to the office, the end-consumer does not want to sacrifice the comfort they have grown accustomed to over the past couple years. For Arcopedico’s newest collection, we strive to offer transitional styles that are professional enough to be worn in the office, but comfortable enough that at the end of the day people’s feet are happy and pain free.”
— Sydney Simas, VP, Simco Imported Shoes (Arcopedico)
Rubber Soled Shoes Will Be an Ongoing Trend
“The past two years have emphasized a trend that was already ongoing. Today, 95% of the world’s population wears rubber-soled shoes, for leisure or business occasions, because comfort has become an essential element of the modern living… It is a phenomenon in continuous growth, destined to last several seasons. People want style together with comfort, they want both and they don’t give any room for compromise. Geox has an advantage on this. Thanks to our special patented technologies, we give people performing and extremely comfortable shoes, be these sneakers or more formal styles. SPHERICA has the ambition to offer a shoe that is a footwear game changer. Its weight is ultra-light and the sole is characterized by spherical cushioning elements distributed along the entire surface.”
— Mario Moretti Polegato, chairman and founder, Geox
Wool Clogs Trending Up
“Our consumers don’t necessarily tell us they are purchasing for work, per se, but we have seen a huge uptick in wool clog purchases. Not just at the holidays, but year-round. We believe this is directly related to people working more from home and wanting footwear that enhances the mindset that they are at home — yet also at work — at home!”
Justin Orrell-Jones, president & CEO, Finn Comfort
Athletic Elements Influence Workplace Footwear
“What we’re seeing is a migration of generations in the current workforce. These consumers are looking for comfort more than anything else and are used to wearing athletic-style footwear that they can rely on. For Twisted X, comfort is important in every category and every style we produce. What we have done is taken the feeling of athletic comfort that they’re accustomed to and infused it into all our work products. Comfort is our prized possession and truly what we do best, as reflected by our latest offerings.”
— Lee Lemon, VP of sales, Twisted X
Hybrid Style — Professional, Polished Comfort
“We’ve entered this new world of a hybrid work space where people are alternating time in the office and remote. This of course impacts the footwear we’re choosing to wear. We want to appear professional and polished but still feel comfortable – this is where Loafers and Ballet flats come in. Ours are designed to be deconstructed in supple leathers for maximum comfort! And for our professional sporty ladies who prefer combining a blazer with cool casual sneakers we made sure to include a great assortment!”
— Annie Pho, senior designer, Vionic
Bringing New Innovation to Market
“We have all seen athletic footwear dominate most workplace environments over the past few years. From the medical world to the service industry, athletics at all levels have become the go-to.
Here lies the issue, typical athletic footwear is designed to serve a purpose and be worn for a limited amount of hours per day. In short, the majority of athletics are designed to perform for a short-term activity, be it running, walking, etc. Most materials found in that category of footwear are comfortable for the short-term as per its design, however not meant for the 8, 10, 12 hour shifts that the medical and service industry demands of its work force.
To fill this void, we started development in a new outsole in order to bring eyes back on the Alegria Brand. Using the same DNA that brought us to the dance, so to speak, a new outsole was born. Updated materials, arch support, slip-resistance, and wearability provide wellness and sustain those long work hours. With Fall 2022 the ROK n ROLL collection by Alegria is launched.”
— Scott Cates, president of sales, Alegria
Dress to Impress...in Comfort, of Course
“People are ready to throw out their sweats and dress to impress again but we have seen a shift to more comfort-focused footwear. Over the past two years, their feet have adjusted to wearing flats and having support. Because of this we have seen an increase in the sales of women’s flat shoes and booties as well as men’s more casual comfort dress shoes for both work and events.”
— Ayelet Lax Levy, president, Naot USA
Twisted X: The Women’s Zero-X Slip On, $89.95, is part of an eco-forward footwear line crafted for comfort in every step. It uses a no glue construction method and is handcrafted with a full-grain leather upper. The Zero-X Slip-On has an air-mesh lining for improved breathability, 100% bamboo laces, and a durable molded rubber outsole infused with rice husk from repurposed agricultural byproduct.
Alegria: Ramona is a style standout with a luxe lug outsole and leather upper and lining. The versatile leather shootie, $189.95, also delivers on comfort with details such as bold side goring and a hint of padding at the raised heel quarter. Plus, it has a slip-resistant sole and a removable, suede leather footbed.
Ecco: The Track Clog, $160, balances the breathability of full-grain leather with the durability of oiled nubuck. A Gore-Tex waterproof construction keeps feet dry in wet conditions, plus a leather-covered inlay sole with ECFS delivers increased air circulation. The light, flexible, and comfortable sole offers traction and grip. Available September 2022.
Ecco: The sleek Street Lite CVO Sneaker, $130, can dress up or dress down. Available in both pebbled full-grain or butter-soft Nappa leather, the sneaker has a super-soft textile lining for comfort. Ecco Fluidform construction provides soft, flexible, fluid movement, and a patterned tread delivers stability and grip. Available in June 2022.
Geox: Boasting buttoned up style with plenty of comfort, the women’s D Spherica shoe, $160, delivers a cushioned feel thanks to its Zero Shock System featuring ultra-soft spheres. The Zero Shock System features two interlocked layers of two different densities in a single sole for comfort, balance, and support.
Twisted X: Blending classic casual style with eco-conscious design, the Zero-X Chukka for men, $94.95, is made without glue, eliminating harsh chemical adhesives. An air-mesh lining offers improved breathability and comfort, and a BioBlend midsole is made using castor bean oil for sustained comfort. The Zero-X collection aims to reduce the waste associated with traditional footwear construction.
Halsa: Boasting a stylish leather upper and decorative metal buttons, Halsa’s Anna, $159.95, also features a removable, anatomically correct Equilibrium + insole to keep feet properly aligned and supported, and the footbed and linings are treated with Silver Ion antimicrobial solution to protect against fungus, bacteria, and odor. Available Fall ’22.
Arcopedico: Look good and feel good. Comfortable and fashionable, the men’s Komodo, $165, features a soft and water resistant leather upper and a supportive sole. A true work shoe, it can transition easily from the office to the comforts of working from home. Available September 2022.
Naot: The slip-on Eiger shoe ($180) has inside gore at both sides of the instep for accessibility and a padded heel cup for extra comfort and support. Padded technical lining at the front provides comfort and absorbs moisture. A removable, anatomic cork & latex footbed is wrapped in suede and molds to the shape of the foot with wear. The polyurethane sole is lightweight, durable and slip resistant.
Dansko: A classic style with modern comfort, Callista ($145) is a versatile Mary Jane with hook and loop adjustability for a perfect fit. It has leather uppers and a removable footbed with memory foam. Plus, the style has Dansko Natural Arch technology for added support. Available in July.
Dansko: Slide into comfort and style. Dansko’s Lexie, $125, is a lightweight, soft leather slide. It has a removable footbed featuring Dansko Natural Arch technology for added support. And it has a lightweight rubber outsole. Available in May.
Propét: Jana is a ladies clog with an open back. The easy-on-off style offers comfort in every step. The $104.95 Jana style transitions easily from home to office. Plus, it has a removable footbed to accommodate orthotics and a PU outsole for cushion, traction and durability.
Finn Comfort: Talk about classic comfort – stylish wool offerings are trending up for Finn. Seen here is the Brig Wool Clog, $215, for women in Aqua and Red. Available in sizes 36-43, it features a removable and replaceable wool footbed.
Ara: The blue suede Kyle, $194.95, combines high-quality upper materials with a soft, padded insole and a forefoot cushioning sytem to create a comfortable walking sensation — all thanks to ara’s HighSoft technology.
Alegria: A vegan slip-on style, Savvie ($98.95), eases on and off and is detailed with bold crisscross elastic bands on the vamp and side quarters. It keeps every stride cushioned with a touch of padding at the heel, while a removable cushioned footbed and lightweight slip-resistant sport rocker outsole ensures comfort.
Vionic: Spring style is in full effect in Vionic’s cute and stylish Kensley loafer, $129.95. The slip-on style features a crinkle patent upper and metallic silver rand to go along with chunky lug soles, two timely trends that help make this comfy, lightweight loafer a style that can work it from 9 to 5 and beyond.
Ara: In addition to a trendy upper pattern the Layton II, $179.95, features the combination of ara’s HiFlex shaft and a flexible and shock-absorbent outsole for comfort. A removable insole delivers on fit and support requirements. Plus, it features a BambooSoft, cozy terry lining made with bamboo fibers.