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Footwear Stores Are Embracing New Trends to Capture Customers

Hush Puppies and Designer Shoe Warehouse among retailers staying one step ahead with their store designs

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HIKING. BALLET. MERMAIDCORE. Athleisure. Sustainability. These are just some of the trends abounding in footwear this year.

Thanks to brands like Hoka, rail sneakers are big business, while at the other end of the spectrum, bow embellishments and mermaid aesthetics are making a comeback via the runway. Crocs and Asics are leading the way with eco-friendly footwear. And athleisure and comfort have only grown in popularity since the pandemic. Brands are looking to these trends to determine how they merchandise their products, with exciting results.

Footwear Stores Are Embracing New Trends to Capture Customers

Comfy Not Stuffy

For the new Hush Puppies (Rockford, Mich.) store in Jakarta, Indonesia, global architecture and design firm MG2 (Seattle) “embraced the casual and comfortable that customers are looking for,” says MG2 Senior Associate Marta Abas.

Hush Puppies recently debuted a new store design in Jakarta, Indonesia, designed by Seattle-based MG2. Hush Puppies recently debuted a new store design in Jakarta, Indonesia, designed by Seattle-based MG2.

Bright and welcoming, the layout is designed for cross-merchandising. Everything from shoes to bags is immediately visible through open shelving, while the try-on area is framed by globes of day-like illumination.

Footwear Stores Are Embracing New Trends to Capture Customers 📷 Courtesy of Hush Puppies/Wolverine

There’s nothing stuffy about the space, instead it’s a fresh, open store that offers a memorable shopping experience. As well as a fitting room with custom illustrated wallpaper, “we added moments of fun, like Jason the Basset Hound peeking through,” says Abas. “It celebrates the brand and makes customers smile.”

Footwear Stores Are Embracing New Trends to Capture Customers Neutral colored fixtures create a backdrop to Hush Puppies’ colorful merchandise and apparel.

Neutral fixtures make a calm backdrop for elements of color and humor. Wavy shapes and textures – “like the merchandising tables with chunky, off-center legs,” points out Mitch Pride, Principal at MG2 – lend a warm, comfy feeling. “The brand is focusing on happiness and comfort. So that’s what we did in this store,” says Pride. “This design is a kit, so it can be scaled and applied to different architecture across the brand’s 600 stores and thousands of shop-in-shops.”

The result is comfort as a lifestyle, in a space that’s inviting and approachable, featuring soft organic shapes and the relaxation of this iconic brand.

Footwear Stores Are Embracing New Trends to Capture Customers 📷 Richard Cadan, Fairfield, Conn.

Footwear Stores Are Embracing New Trends to Capture Customers

Raw and Refined

The latest Designer Shoe Warehouse (DSW; Columbus, Ohio) concept, brought to life by Minneapolis-based NELSON Worldwide, looks to meet the customer need for brand storytelling.

“Warehouse Reimagined plays up ‘warehouse’ in a fresh, signature way,” says Mari Miura, Design Leader in Retail Practice, NELSON Worldwide. “The balance between the raw industrial ‘warehouse’ look and feel of natural concrete stains and exposed metal ductwork and refined finishes such as light wood creates a neutral yet visually interesting backdrop for the products to be hero and cues up the latest shoe trends’ ‘fresh off the truck’ mentality.”

Footwear Stores Are Embracing New Trends to Capture Customers Concrete and exposed metal ductwork help support the “Warehouse Reimagined” concept in store.

It’s a wide-open space that puts everything at the customers’ fingertips. Located at key zones are digital screens for promotional storytelling and social media opportunities. In the kids’ section, vibrant flooring graphics provide an exploratory journey, complete with a racetrack and range of stamped footprints for shoe sizing fun.

Footwear Stores Are Embracing New Trends to Capture Customers

Flanked by a sign that reads Now Trending: the heart of the store is for trying on. “Athleisure is what inspired the Center Shop. It’s a destination for brand stories and cross merchandising,” says Mallory Stein, Designer at NELSON Worldwide. “The design is flexible to accommodate whatever the trend of the moment is, whether it’s a designer brand or style focused.”

As for these stores, leaning into what customers want to shop and wear is what will keep footwear retailers on the front foot as in-store shopping continues to evolve.

PHOTO GALLERY (31 IMAGES)
📷 Courtesy of Hush Puppies/Wolverine | Richard Cadan, Fairfield, Conn.

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