With wellness top of mind, more shoppers are putting health, comfort and happiness at the forefront in their purchases, especially when it comes to footwear. “More consumers recognize the value and importance of proper support, fit and comfort,” explains täōs founder Glen Barad. While täōs has been in the comfort space for 20 years, succeeding primarily on word of mouth from consumers and independents; now Barad and his team are planning to take a more proactive approach to build brand awareness, with the potential for a greater number of consumers to be receptive to its story. Here, brand executives tell us what’s in store for comfort for 2024 and beyond.
How is your brand propelling the comfort category forward?
“Biza continues to focus on trend-driven styling with modern day comfort features. These include memory foam cushioned insoles, adjustment features, shock absorbing outsoles, soft uppers and linings.” – Dave Astobiza, president, Biza
“Arcopedico has made a commitment to developing styles that are eco-friendly, sustainable and comfortable. The brand’s DNA encompasses a supportive sole and non-binding upper, making our footwear ideal for anyone looking for a ready-to-wear shoe that offers comfort and support.” – Sydney Simas, VP of sales and marketing, Simco Imported Shoes
“The wellness benefit of Xelero’s technology is that it helps people walk easier, with less pain, due to underlying conditions.” – Dan Werremeyer, president, Instride Shoes
“KLOGS has been a leader in comfort for 25 years. Our removable TRUComfort insole cradles the foot in cushion and support that doesn’t fade over time. Recent Heeluxe testing shows the cushion and support in a pair of KLOGS outlasts traditional EVA footwear, 4-6 times.” – Victoria Feldman, marketing director, Latitudes
“From ECCO’s beginning, founder Karl Toosbuy aspired to make shoes that were built around comfort and quality. This year we are launching our latest midsole called LYTR (pronounced Lighter). It’s our lightest, softest, and most comfortable midsole yet. We are also rolling out styles with Dual Width insoles to allow the customer to have a little extra room if they are in between sizes.” – Brandy LaPlante, sales manager, ECCO
“There is comfort and then there is next level comfort. We have taken our comfort features and integrated them into new collections and new types of products. We are providing the younger generation with newer styling that gives them the looks they want with the comfort they are demanding.”– Ayelet Lax Levy, president of U.S. operations, Naot
“No two feet are created equally. Our sneakers, boots and most of our flats can be customized to each foot’s needs with our proprietary Sole Saver Pack. It helps customers to mix-and-match according to their needs; whether that’s for a narrow, regular, or wide fit.” – Caroline McCulloch, co-founder, FRANKIE4
“Mephisto creates shoes with removable and replaceable insoles to allow users to insert custom orthotics or choose insoles that suit their specific comfort and support needs. Our footwear is designed to not only elevate your fashion sense, but also ensure you experience unparalleled comfort with every step.” – Rusty Hall, president, Mephisto USA
“Täōs premium quality and on trend styles have always been designed ‘foot first’ around our exclusive and innovative footbeds. Upcoming lines are Understandably Fresh – meaning they bring a newness or freshness to the comfort space while still being intuitive and understandable to the consumer.” - Glen Barad, founder, täōs
“Our brand is propelling the category forward with our new styles and bottoms that feature the footbed comfort that we are known for but in exciting and more fashion-forward offerings.” – Megan Gold, design director, Alegria
“Finn Comfort has always strived to produce the best authentically healthy footwear possible, utilizing materials and production methods that are also healthier for the environment. The best comfort footwear retailers ensure they are satisfying increased demand for healthier products by carrying the best brands and products in this category. They also make sure their salespeople are sufficiently trained and educated to present the right products to the consumer.” - Justin Orrell-Jones, president, Finn Comfort USA
What specific silhouettes are trending in comfort for 2024?
“Transitional footwear, lug style boots and wedge sandals.” – Dave Astobiza, Biza
“Utilitarian styles, styles that offer fashion and function (not necessarily dress shoes), pops of color, fun materials.” – Sydney Simas, Arcopedico
“Customers love the effortless slip-on of a clog and how it pairs with wider leg and cropped hem-lines.” – Victoria Feldman, Latitudes
“Mary Janes, flats and platforms.” – Rusty Hall, Mephisto USA
“Ballet Flats! Ballet flats are a wardrobe essential, but they’ve tortured women’s feet for years. Our solution - hidden support, a heel raise, adjustable fitting and designs that are kind to the heels and soft on the toes.” – Caroline McCulloch, FRANKIE4
“Our new styles focus on outdoor, travel, versatility and promoting movement.” – Glen Barad, täōs
“Running styles will continue to be important with more casual upper treatments and materials.” – Dan Werremeyer, Instride Shoes
“Sneakers are still dominating for Spring. For Fall, the women’s loafer is emerging in interpretations including heeled, mules and a classic penny loafer.” -Brandy LaPlante, ECCO
“We see chunkier bottoms coming back around, as well as a big return to dressier styles,” – Ayelet Lax Levy, Naot
“Dress shoes and Y2K-influenced sneakers.” – Megan Gold, Alegria
Klogs / Grenada
The mule takes on a new feel for 2024. Unlike a traditional mule, this deep heel cup holds the foot in place and reduces slipping. Supple oiled leathers and rivets along the counter make Grenada a seasonless style. A removable TRU-Comfort insole and wide toe box help provide cushion and comfort. MSRP $149.95.
ECCO / Gruuv
ECCO reintroduces the Gruuv for men and women after a small test of the style in Spring 2023. The outsole is made using a dynamic two-way flex rubber sole that offers grip and flexibility. The shoe features the Dual Width insole system and a cushioned polyurethane midsole. Elastic laces make it easy to slip on and off. MSRP $220.
Alegria / Meadow
Alegria branches into a category called “Signature Arch” which features this western-inspired stack heel with a stain resistant upper. The Signature Arch footbed is its most refined and feminine offering to date, still offering superior arch support. Double elastic gores with counter zipper make for an easy on-and-off situation. MSRP $150.
Arcopedico / ZION
Arcopedico is excited to introduce ZION, a medium-height boot featuring the brand’s patented Twin-Arch Support System. Made from recycled materials, the ZION offers a comfortable sole paired with fashion elements. The boot is vegan, machine washable and will stretch to accommodate multiple calf widths. MSRP $160.
täōs / Advance
The perfect traveler, Advance looks as good as it performs while walking on any terrain. From town to trail, its bright, fun colors with leather and textile uppers provide style and comfort. The durable lightweight Super-Energy Return midsole and Curves & Pods removable footbed offer superior support. MSRP $160.
Xelero / Matrix V
Crafted as the ultimate motion control shoe, the women’s Matrix V features a combination nubuck and full grain leather upper. Xelero designs its shoes to support the foot structure and improve gait biomechanics during heel contact, midstance, and propulsion. The shoe is available in three widths. MSRP $209.99.
Naot / Elite
The stylish and sophisticated Elite from Naot has a little secret – it provides height while hiding the fact that there is a cork footbed inside with arch support. The pitch of the foot, metatarsal support, heel indentation and arch support are unique for a shoe of this height. The sole has an anti-slip tread. MSRP $195.
Mephisto / Ysabel
Mephisto’s Soft-Air Technology is designed to provide superior fit and support with arch support to reduce strain on the feet and shock absorption to reduce the impact on joints. Adjustable Velcro straps make for easy on/off. Premium cork is wrapped in leather for a light and airy vibe. MSRP $289.
Biza / Shasta
Available in in an array of fun colors including purple, red and green; the Shasta features a vintage leather upper, memory foam cushioned insole and faux buckle detail with a Velcro adjustment for easy customization. A polyurethane midsole and rubber outsole provide traction. MSRP $144.95.
Finn Comfort / Barbuda
Step out in comfort and style with the Barbuda in Blue Words colorway. The footbeds are anatomically contour molded and ergonomically designed to support the feet, making each step comfortable and pain free. Part of the brand’s FinnMellow Super Soft Collection, Barbuda is in stock in sizes 36–43. MSRP $295.