A grab bag of market trends set the pace for this season’s footwear collections. Sustainability, vegan, plant-based, and performance all come into play in styles that feature material innovations developed for a modern eco-active, value-driven consumer lifestyle. In other words, shoes launched this Fall tell the story of what you eat, how you exercise, and where you stand on issues like climate change and animal welfare.
Advances in textiles are providing shoe designers with more, and better, options when it comes to eco alternatives that are durable, functional and aesthetically on-trend, whether that is synthetic leathers, recycled canvas, or materials made from bio-waste. Enhanced green manufacturing, wider availability of sustainably-sourced materials and greater efforts around textiles that are responsibly-produced are key to the latest footwear developments.
Easier access to these materials is giving rise to new niche categories. Emerging this season, for example, are “eco-vegan,”and “plant-based vegan,” shoes where once there was just “vegan.” The performance shoe category has been a frontrunner in this trend, with “performance lifestyle,” and “sustainable performance,” but the range of materials to support these claims continues to climb with new functional, eco-friendly textiles for uppers, foams and components.