What Will Be the Must-Have Men’s Shoe for Spring? Execs from Saks, Ssense & More Weigh in on 2024 Footwear Trends

Following mixed results from holiday, many retailers are eager to find new styles to spark consumer spending in their stores in 2024.

Indeed, after years of challenging market conditions, the footwear industry is poised to return to a more normalized cycle this year, many experts predict. And while inflation and high interest rates still linger, most companies are looking to drive innovation through new product launches, store concepts and technology in order to move their business forward in the new year.

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This newness can’t come soon enough for the men’s market. According to recent data from Circana, men’s footwear dollar sales, excluding direct-to-consumer data, were down 5 percent in the fourth quarter of 2023 compared to the same period in 2022. Men’s shoes were dragged down by lagging sales in boots, which fell 16 percent in the period, and sandals, which saw a 11 percent drop in Q4, the retail analytics firm noted.

Sneakers, however, grew 1 percent in the period, driven by basketball inspired styles and running shoes. And loafers, which have seen growth in the men’s business over the last few seasons, saw consumers gravitate to designer models, with the segment up 5 percent in Q4. The loafer category overall, however, was down 4 percent in the period.

And with the fall/winter 2024 men’s market in full swing, FN caught up with top retailers to discuss what’s selling now and what they expect to see trending for next fall.

Pitti Uomo, street style, menswear, mens fashion
Pitti Uomo, street style, menswear, mens fashion

What types of men’s footwear are driving sales right now in your stores?

Federico Barassi, vice president of menswear buying at Ssense: “It’s all about the boots right now. There’s still an appetite for the quiet luxury trend that has been around for the last few seasons, so we’re seeing our customers gravitate towards simple, clean silhouettes. Styles such as the Our Legacy Camion and Marsèll Cassello, alongside strong options from Maison Margiela – MM6 and mainline – are great examples of boots that have been doing well.”

Sophie Jordan, menswear buying director at Mytheresa: “Loafers continue to overperform, especially in softer leathers that work well styled back to denim and not only tailored looks. Manolo Blahnik’s Perry loafer and the classic Gucci horsebit loafer consistently sell for us. Luxury sneakers are growing faster overall than sports sneakers. Minimal and clean styles that have an identifiable brand, such as the Zegna Triple Stitch or Bottega Intrecciato Sawyer sneaker aren’t necessarily new but have a lot of momentum.”

Reginald Christian, senior fashion manager of men’s at Saks Fifth Avenue: “We are seeing dress casual footwear strongly resonate with our clients. Men’s day-to-day wardrobes have become more multifaceted, and they are investing in natural and versatile elevated styles like suede sneakers and sleek silhouettes and colorways like black, white and gray. For our holiday season, we saw the strongest success from brands that have invested in their core following, including Prada, Amiri and Gucci.”

Jonathan Pak, founder and owner at Patron of the New: “Dior’s B23 runners, Loewe shearling boots, Celine loafers, Marni fury slides, Tabi boots, Maison Mihara Yasuhiro sneakers and Amiri sneakers are all doing well right now.”

Pitti Uomo, street style, menswear, mens fashion
Pitti Uomo, street style, menswear, mens fashion

What are some of the big shoe trend stories for to look out for this spring for men?

Barassi: “We’re seeing the low/flat sneaker trend propelled by the Adidas Sambas, with a pivot towards a more elevated and sartorial direction with slim loafers as well. Driven by the likes of Lemaire’s now classic piped loafer. Brands such as Auralee, Bode, The Row and Wales Bonner have put out their own iterations that have been really well received by our customers.”

Jordan: “We saw a fashion approach to lace-up shoes, from brands such as Bottega Veneta and Prada. They are the perfect balance to dress up or down.”

Christian: “Going into the spring season, our clients are looking for versatility. The desire for quality footwear that can lend itself from day to night or indoor to outdoor, will feel like a relevant addition to their wardrobes.”

Pak: “Men are currently preferring neutral color palettes and streamlined silhouettes in their footwear choices. They are seeking versatile options that seamlessly coordinate with a variety of outfits.”

PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 20: A model walks the runway during the Louis Vuitton Ready to Wear Spring/Summer 2024 fashion show as part of the Paris Men Fashion Week on June 20, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 20: A model walks the runway during the Louis Vuitton Ready to Wear Spring/Summer 2024 fashion show as part of the Paris Men Fashion Week on June 20, 2023 in Paris, France. (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

What is the must-have shoe as we move into the spring season?

Barassi: “Clogs have been around for a little while, but brands like Dries Van Noten, JW Anderson, Eckhaus Latta and Birkenstock are breathing new life into this silhouette by providing fashionable solutions for this spring and summer-appropriate footwear style. Clogs offer both ease and practicality while still feeling put-together – they’re refined, yet approachable.”

Jordan: “The Row classic loafer. Chic and timeless.”

Christian: “In alignment with the seasonal trend direction this spring, the must have-shoe styles this season will address functionality and timeless style. Dress shoe styles like drivers, loafers and mules will be top of mind.”

Pak: “For my store, especially in Miami, the must have shoe that we can never keep in stock is the Marni Fury slide, every season we get about five to six different colorways and they sell out quickly.”

Santoni, Milan, Mens shoes, loafers, Italian shoes
Santoni, Milan, Mens shoes, loafers, Italian shoes

Do you see the loafer trend continuing this year for men?

Barassi: “The loafer trend will continue this year. We may see the flat/slim iteration evolve into something different for the spring/summer ‘25 runways later this year, but as we continue to monitor our customer and consumer appetites, there are hints of longevity within the loafer space.”

Jordan: “Without a doubt the loafer trend will continue as it’s become such a wardrobe staple, but this easy to wear style will have competition from even more minimal shapes such as The Row’s Canal shoe or a Prada inspired leather ‘slipper’ style. Evening wear is growing in our RTW offering which will have a knock-on effect for footwear with more demand for evening fabrications in shoes, such as patent leather and velvet.”

Christian: “The resurgence of loafers will remain a staple in our customer’ wardrobes. As we move forward, they will continue to seek fresh footwear updates in construction and design that evolve with their lifestyles. Versatility will be top of mind and their shopping style will extend beyond one silhouette.”

Pak: “Loafers will always be timeless so yes, I believe they will still be sought after, currently our number one selling loafers at Patron of the New are Celine and Dior. For the future, any luxury shoe with an Asics or Ugg shape will also be on a lot of people’s wish lists.”

Milan fashion week, street style, milan fashion week men's, men's fashion week
Milan fashion week, street style, milan fashion week men's, men's fashion week

What men’s trends are you predicting to take hold for fall 2024?

Barassi: “We’re seeing nostalgia manifest itself through fall/winter appropriate styles reminiscent of Ugg boots and Timberlands. Balenciaga provided their answer to the Ugg when their Alaska boots graced the runway at their Hancock Park pre-fall ‘24 show in Los Angeles. Bottega Veneta is also fronting a Timbs-adjacent style with their Haddock Boots, as seen in their most recent spring 2024 campaign fronted by rapper A$AP Rocky. And if pop culture and the zeitgeist is anything to go by, there’s no doubt we’ll continue to see this trend throughout the season after Pharrell’s Louis Vuitton collab with the heritage boot maker [Timberland].”

Jordan: “A move away from very chunky shapes, replaced by a more elegant and refined silhouette. We are seeing more formal shoes with hand-painted patina for a luxurious finish. There is also more Bordeaux coming through as a new trend color.”

Christian: “For the upcoming fall 2024 season, our customers will continue to seek versatility and functionality in their shopping choices. The tracker boot will feel relevant, as well as lace-up dress shoes that can be easily styled up or down.”

Pak: “In the upcoming fall season of 2024, men will be in pursuit of comfortable footwear, particularly cozy shoes and boots. The anticipated trend includes the popularity of shearling boots, exemplified by the sought-after Loewe shearling boots, known for consistently selling out at Patron.”

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