It’s ballet flat season once again, so it’s time to break out those chic little shoes.While Audrey Hepburn may have walked around effortlessly in a pair, for Birkenstock Mayari many of us, these barely-there looks aren’t always the most comfortable option around.But don’t think you need to cross them off your spring footwear list entirely. Comfort brands have stepped in with on-trend options that include enhanced comfort features such as super-soft uppers and cushioned footbeds.Let’s start from the top. Think about all those times ballet flats Birkenstock Sale have rubbed against your skin, causing blisters that required a box of Band-Aids to make it through the day. Today, brands are increasingly addressing this issue with styles made from glove-like leathers that are gentle on skin.Take Cole Haan’s Tali Bow ballet flat from the Grand.OS collection: Its leather is lined, and the shoe features a padded Birkenstock Sandals leather footbed and lightweight rubber outsole. Meanwhile, Aerosoles Teashop ballet style is designed with its signature Stitch N Turn technology for flexibility, and adds a memory-foam footbed.While the season’s wave of ballet flats make comfort the priority, that doesn’t mean style has been put on the back burner. Ecco’s Shape Tassel Ballerina version has a modern tapered Birkenstock Outlet toe, while adding a fun pom-pom to the vamp. Or try FitFlop’s Adoraballerina, an athletic-inspired version that works with today’s offering of yoga pants or capris.
For many retailers, toning footwear proved to be a huge blessing in an otherwise bleak 2009.The launch of two high-profile product lines — Skechers Shape-ups and Reebok EasyTone, both of which Mbt Shoes claim to increase muscle activation during wear — generated retail traffic and ignited the athletic women’s shoe market.“It was critical [to our industry],” said Chris Santaella, Foot Locker’s VP and DMM of footwear. “There hadn’t been a lot of new innovation in several years. It took [consumers’ interest] away from some of the electronics and put it Mbt Sandals back into footwear.”It also provided much-needed revenue for stores that had watched sales struggle for months.“The family footwear retailers and the sporting goods retailers benefited [from toning] in the fourth Fitflop Sandals quarter. They don’t break out those numbers, but it was meaningful for them,” said Scott Krasik, an analyst at C.L. King & Associates. “On a percent of total, it wasn’t that big, but it was full-priced sales at a price point that may be two or three times their average.”Although rocker-bottom shoes have been on the market for several years, debuts from major fashion and athletic names helped the growing wellness trend reach critical mass.“There is a customer who is focused on health and wellness, and Fitflops it was time for a category to surface and satisfy the demand,” said Sam Sato, chief merchandising officer at Finish Line. “Last year we saw a lot of newness in the marketplace relevant to technology and design aesthetic. In early spring, it was with the Nike Air Max + 2009, which was about a fresh new introduction Birkenstock Shoes at a time when our industry was a bit stale. By midyear, this toning category was resonating with customers and their [needs].”Nick Grayston, SVP and president of footwear at Sears Holdings Corp., said the value proposition of toning product made it particularly relevant to the times. “We all want more for our money, and improved fitness technologies Fitflops Sandals For Women are a spot-on example of increased value,” he said.But not all retailers have embraced toning footwear wholeheartedly. Some say it’s a fad, and almost all agree there will be a brand shakeout as manufacturers race to bring more product to market.
Contemporary U.K. designer Finn Stone has a quirky take on footwear. Stone, who creates furniture, Fitflops Sale among other items, recently unveiled a giant Lego-covered heel as part of his spring art collection, which also includes a teapot, cane and hat, all adorned with Legos. Smaller, wearable versions of the art piece can be ordered by request through the artist’s website, Finnstone.com. His future plans include a collection of chrome-cast shoes and a series Mbt Outlet of oversized stiletto loungers. – Lauren LaDeau.Related How Tamara Mellon Is Bringing Back Her Namesake Line From Bankruptcy.Eco-friendly footwear company Coclico and The Open Space Alliance want to make New York a little greener. On Earth Day, April 22, the brand is throwing an in-store shopping party at its 275 Mott St. location and donating 20 percent Cheap Birkenstocks of the proceeds to the OSA to build gardens in Brooklyn. “The partnership with OSA is perfect for us because not only do they help improve parks but they do so in an area we personally care about,” said owner Sandra Canselier. At the party, OSA will be giving away 20 VIP tickets for its summer concert http://www.cheapbirkenstocksoutletsale.com series, which in the past has featured performances by Weezer, Nas and Damian Marley. Customers who make a purchase online on Earth Day also qualify for the VIP tickets and gifts with purchase. – L.L.FitFlop has teamed up with luxury e-tailer Net-a-porter.com to assist those affected by HIV. The duo is introducing the Manyano sandal to raise Fitflops Clearance proceeds for South Africa-based nonprofit organization Wola Nani, which helps to bring relief to areas of the country where the disease is prevalent. The leather sandal is hand-beaded by the women of the Wola Nani cooperative and is embedded with FitFlop’s toning technology. “We believe fashion has the ability to unite women across the world,” said FitFlop Birkenstock founder Marcia Kilgore. The brand plans to donate all of its net sales to Wola Nani, and Net-a-porter, which is the exclusive retailer, will donate 20 percent of its net profit. The $130 sandal, available in women’s sizes 5 to 10, debuts online April 20. – L.L.For painter Mark Schwartz, shoes are a creative motivation. In fact, Fitflop Sale the artist and former assistant to Roger Vivier makes nothing but paintings that are inspired by footwear. “The reaction that I get from a shoe has always been incredible,” Schwartz said. “The beauty and form of it just inspire me.” Andy Warhol took notice of his work when Vivier introduced the two men during the 1980s. “We Mbt would meet every month and sit in the backroom of Roger’s Madison Avenue store and just draw,” Schwartz recalled of Warhol. Prices for the artist’s watercolor paintings range from $500 to $5,000 depending on size and can be found on Highheeledart.blogspot.com. – Gerald Flores

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