The largest trade show of its kind on the US East Coast, the New York Shoe Expo and FFANY Collections (www.ffany.org) took place on June 8 through June 10 at the Javits Convention Center, the Hilton Hotel and various showrooms across midtown Manhattan. Exhibitor categories ranged from women’s, men’s and children’s footwear to handbags, accessories and industry technology.

Roughly 4,200 retail buyers attended this fall 2005 season with several brands previewing next spring. Attendance was up 1.2% over the previous year. Although business seemed slow at times at the Center, those exhibiting at the Hilton were generally pleased with their appointments and turnout.

Familiar names ranged from CELS and Dollhouse to Birkenstock and John Fluevog; first-time exhibitors included high-end lines Charles Jourdan and Missoni to Levi’s Footwear.

Western boots, slouchy boots, earth, checks, mixed media, wedges, embroidery, prints and comfort were some of the key trends for the season.

Fresh from Irregular Choice were black and gold pigskin kitten heels with cherubim prints, with embroidered rosettes. Metallic blue distressed leather, fuzzy felt appliqués, paisley, cockades, painted soles and gingham pumps were other highlights of Danny Sullivan’s wildly imaginative collection.

Royal Elastics is continuing the trend for prints of buds in its flats for spring, with a larger emphasis on mixing fabrics and patterns including herringbone and plaids, particularly in its men’s styles.

Rocketdog used fall-inspired colors and fabrics such as gray suede, brown corduroy and crushed velvet for a crafty, vintage feel with delicate rosettes or floral-inspired embroidery. A peep toe heel with sequined embroidery was also a hit with retailers.

Colorful, decorative embroidery is the spring 2006 story for Diesel’s women’s leather, nylon and suede casual hybrids. For men, expect to see sporty boxer shoe concept styles, vintage sport casual hybrids made with super soft leathers for a tumbling effect, as well as details such as duct tape-inspired hand-painted stripes.

Pony is offering signature logos in airbrushed styles on its old school chrome line, as well as a brighter and whiter palette for its runner-like Boxxa styles.

Steve Madden Mens combined jute with prints on thongs for guys, worked camouflage print into his suede/canvas casual styles, and showed suede slip-ons with embroidered tigers in a new comfort casual category.

Rockport continues to be on the forefront of technology next spring with its Sole Innovation line for women, which provides extra deep heel cushioning for long-term walking comfort, DMX air chambers, and completely machine washable boat shoes for guys. While fashion was an emerging story for women, with ostrich prints and metallics, the big story for guys was color, with juicy sherbets used on hybrid boat styles as well as on the I.Travel line, with its grosgrain-like overlays.

Evisu is featuring four or five materials on single styles and continuing with its badge programs and high tops. Its all-denim high top nicknamed "Evisaurus" should be a bestseller.

Tsubo’s signature bubble soles will become smaller in the coming seasons. At the same time, the company has combined leather and brown and gray check nylon woven mesh on its most directional uppers.

Ben Sherman is offering small retro prints in its slip-ons and sporty distressed canvas lace-ups. The company is also growing its formal category, with cognac ankle boots modishly shaped and with checked uppers.

Blackstone from the Netherlands is offering brown wingtips with stripes, blue distressed and frayed leather, and pointed spectators with red laces.

TUK is continuing with its strong performing single- or doublestacked, vulcanized “creeper” soles that have been a hit with band such as U2 and Green Day. The company is excited, having recently picked up the license for Emily The Strange.

The story from Oakley was its synthetic leather, suede and nubuck “Silk” high and low tops with ballistic nylon overlays for structural support and street-influenced prints. Although the company is still producing military and industrial boots, golf shoes will be a major focus for this coming spring.

FFANY has been representing footwear manufacturers globally since 1979, with an emphasis on business with retailers based in North America.