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Apparel & footwear | Sandals & water shoes | New trends
September 2014

New trends in

sandals and water shoes

The new season’s sandals and water shoes will have something to suit all your customers’ tastes and needs, reports RHIANAH FREDERICKS

Nothing is constant, as the seasons change, so too do footwear trends, as well as what is considered to be in fashion. Materials, colour, styles etc. are constantly changed to suit the new season’s trends and the new summer sandal ranges will have something to offer all your customers — whether they favour reliable performance sandals, or fancy something bold or bling.

At last year’s GDS summer footwear trade show international style predictors said that Versatile Utility Sandals would be the new trend — but with a fashion twist. Wide bandage straps with individually adjustable Velcro fasteners, outer soles made of cork or EVA, plus clear colours, especially white and silver, were the key elements in international ranges shown for the European summer season.

Reduced gladiator sandals was another international trend identified for the 2014 Summer/Spring collections, with reduced white, black and grey key colours. At the other end of the spectrum are sandals in 40’s, 50’s and 60’s horizontal or vertical stripes, polka dots and comic prints.

Slip-ons were vintage and asexual, while gladiator sandals featured more ornamental and jewellery decorations. More functional sandals in warm brown and olive tones with fringes, braiding and animal prints give a fashionable lift. Washed leather, hemp and raffia are used in more ethnic style ranges.

At the Agenda Show — which revolves around action sports, lifestyle and outdoor brands geared toward the youth market — there has been a massive shift in lifestyle sandal ranges toward incorporating higher priced premium quality leather rather than lower-end priced materials, says Stuart Daykin from Reef Brazil.

The basic EVA rubbers, used for Havaianas sandals or other flip flops, are also much more focused on colour. The styles are mainly casual and functional with Vibram patent designs being used on top-end sandals.

“Brighter colours like coral, purple and lime greens are the colour pops this season,” he says, while black and white pin stripes will also be popular. For the next season, however, the focus in new products will be more on new technologies, he adds. Most of these trends will be seen in ranges available to Southern African customers.

Earthy tones

Earthy colours like brown, tan and chocolate will be popular in the Jeep sandal ranges this season says Lynton Picker from local distributor Footwear Trading. They have a variety of men’s and ladies sandals in the fashionable lifestyle, as well as functional outdoor, categories.

Their sandal uppers will mainly be leather, and in some cases, a combination with leather-suede trims, says Picker. Earthy colours are the in colours in their range and with camo prints used in linings.

Styles to expect are, “a combination of trendy thongs and mules as well as functional outdoor trail sandals,” adds Picker. The sandals in the Levis ladies range will be available in the neutral colours like black, tan, stone, red and navy in the classic styles that epitomise the brand, says Lara Slotsky from local distributor Footwear Trading.

“These styles are aimed at the everyday woman. They can be dressed up or down depending, on the occasion,” says Slotsky. “Comfort, fit and style are some of the attributes of the Levis ladies sandal collection for summer.”

Bright and bold

The Ipanema sandal range, manufactured in Brazil, represents the vivid and colourful lifestyle that Brazil is known for. “The collection is overflowing with the happy and exotic spirit of Brazilian beaches and culture,” says Philip Fouché from the brand’s local distributor, Intershu Distributors.

These sandals are available in a variety of bright colours, such as pink and orange, blue and silver, as well as blue and red. They are also adorned with bold and beautiful prints and have crystals, charms and gemstones on their straps, which make them a focal part of a wearer’s beach outfit, says Fouché.

“Beautiful, elegant and modern describe the stunning collection from Grendha for summer 2014,” says Fouché. They will also be available from Intershu Distributors.

The range features classic silhouettes, as well as newer shaped gladiator style sandals that have a stylish twist. These sandals come in glamorous, exotic, animal prints, teamed up with metallic straps. There are also more relaxed styles that feature glitter or appliqué flowers.

Their neutral tones are complemented by splashes of brighter fuchsia, turquoise, cobalt and gold. “Designed and made to the highest standards in Brazil, Grendha sandals are in touch with a relaxed lifestyle, without losing the stylish edge for which it has become synonymous,” says Fouché.

Eco friendly

The Rider brand of sandals are known as cool down, or recovery, footwear, which feature proprietary technology that support arches and provide ventilation that help cool and soothe feet as the wearer walks.

The range has cushioned insoles with soft uppers and a “state-of-the-art soles fit and feel as natural as going barefoot,” says Fouché of Intershu Distributors. Many of the sandals in the range use materials that allow the wearer to go from surf, to sand and street, while giving equal performance.

These sandals are not only trendy, but “Riders are made from 30% recyclable materials, while 99% of the industrial waste created in their manufacturing is recycled or reused,” Fouché explains.

They are designed to be durable and conform to the foot, while cushioning the wearer’s foot and accommodating his natural gate. “Riders aren't just a flip flop. They're an attitude, a reflection of a more laid-back way of life,” he says.

Changeable straps

Suavesoles is a new flip flop brand to land in South Africa, says Warren Talbot, marketing manager of distributor Chappers Sports Direct. It uses a combination of Dutch design engineering and orthopaedic influence to offer an easy and durable system for changing flip flop straps.

Suavesoles flip flops are available in men’s and ladies styles, and comes with three changeable straps in a variety of colours to match the wearer’s mood. Both the sole and straps embrace your feet naturally, says Talbot, making them ideal for wearing when walking on sandy beaches or doing other activities.

Suavesoles flip flops are a fast growing trend around the world and each product will always carry the claim, Mas suave que el suelo, mas fuerte que tus pies (softer than the ground, tougher than your feet), he adds.

Athletic and multi-functional

Reef’s Phantom Flight and Player sandals combine athletic and casual features in performance sandals that have a clean athletic style and lightweight profile. The Phantom Flight provides the kind of support needed for the coastal athlete, while still maintaining the casual lifestyle feel integral to Reef’s DNA, says Brenton Jessop from local distributor Reef Brazil.

The Phantom Player has Reef’s famous bottle-opener in its sole. “Always thinking in terms of fun and multi-function, the bottle opener embedded in the sole makes it easy to pop open a refreshing beverage at any appropriate time,” he says.

Both sandals also feature Eco One technology, which enhances the bio-degradation of plastic products in biologically active landfills.

“The Rodeo flip is a lightweight performance sandal with athletic styling that has everything a guy wants in a sandal.” These sandals feature a water-friendly synthetic nubuck upper and a dual-density EVA footbed that uses a glue-free moulded construction, which helps reduce our carbon footprint, he explains. It also uses Eco One technology.

Their Fanning sandal has a water-friendly synthetic nubuck upper and grippy rubber footbed that makes it practical for any waterman. It features a contoured compression moulded EVA footbed with anatomical arch support, a full 360 degrees heel airbag enclosed in soft polyurethane, and a church key bottle opener.

In their women’s sandal ranges, Reef has expanded their sport collection with the Phoenix, which is the “ultimate women’s go-to sandal for an active lifestyle,” says Jessop. It has a soft synthetic upper with a jersey lining, a moulded anatomical arch support and lightweight moulded EVA outsole.

“It’s ideal for walking to the yoga class, the beach, or fitness room, while providing that familiar comfort after exercising,” says Jessop.

Their ladies Stargazer has been a hot seller since its debut last year and will feature an array of additional colour offerings this year, he says. It is an elegant sandal that has a thin sparkly rubber strap and squishy Eva footbed that provides superior comfort, while its durable rubber outsole is ideal when walking on slippery surfaces.

Reef Brazil will also feature new offerings in their Rob Machado Signature Series — a Bali-inspired tan and suede leather collection — which includes the Machado High and Low. Both sandals have suede uppers and decks, ethnic-inspired liners and feature Reef’s custom Swellular Traction rubber outsole.

Updating best sellers

Hi-Tec are known for their durable, trendy, outdoor sandals, and this season is no different, say Joanne Esterhuizen. “We have introduced some new sandal styles, and also taken best sellers and updated their design, always ensuring we keep our sandals trendy, but functional.”

Their Reef Strap sandal has been updated to offer a convenient buckle, instead of a Velcro-bungee crossing closing method, which allows a more comfortable fit.

Other popular styles like their Zamora and Bahama Sport sandals will remain in the range, but will be available in new colour ways for the season. The Zamora will now be available in dark grey/Prussian, whereas the Bahama Sport will come in a variety of different colours, including a vibrant flame (red) colour.

The Advance is a robust sandal with an aggressive outsole and big toe bumper, “it’s the 4x4 of Sandals in our range,” says Esterhuizen.

In their junior category, the Ray and Eel will be available “in fantastic colours like light blue, neon lime and pink,” she says. They use toggle fastening technology as well as Velcro, which are easier for little fingers to get on and off. The built-in synthetic materials ensure that they can be used for everyday activities, as well as in water.

The Savannah Strap is a new addition to their lady-specific range. This new style will be available in feminine colour ways like dark sea grey and dark grey pink. The shoe features multiple straps that offer the foot good support and its durable rubber outsole improves traction and performance.

Existing women’s models like the Swerve have been updated to include colours like charcoal and emerald.

Water shoes

In the Hi-Tec water shoe range, the White Water will be available in bright summer colours and the brand also has some other exciting prospects lined up for 2015, which will be launched later in the year, says Esterhuizen.

Some suppliers of water shoes are also mainly keeping their faithful styles. The only change in the Aqualine range of water shoes will be an additional fourth colour in their Hydro Glow selection, says Kevin de Wet from local distributor De Wet Sports.

They will now also be available in a neon blue with a black trim.

Other colours in the range include a variety of neon colours like green, pink, yellow, etc. with black or neon trims. The range also features more neutral colour ways, such as navy blue, royal blue and grey.

The Aqualine range of shoes are comfortable as they have padded mesh uppers and rubberised soles that give the necessary grip needed for slippery surfaces, for example on the rocks while fishing, he explains. These water shoes also offer a variety of closure options — such as adjustable toggles, Velcro straps, elastic laces, etc., allowing wearers the opportunity to choose the best fit for them.

The elastic lacing system that is used on the Hydro Cross ensures a snug fit, while the toggle system of their Hydro Tech allows the wearer to adjust it to the point that it feels most comfortable. The Velcro strap also ensures a tight fit that can be determined at the wearer’s own discretion.

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