Sneakers with a vintage look, wedges, flats, peep toes and gladiator sandals for girls were the key highlights at GDS, the shoe fair in Düsseldorf, this season. Buyers were euphoric over bright colors, a key trend, for next summer. Eco-friendly materials and new comfortable fits were also key trends at the fair.

As Tino Soulis of Replay Shoes explained, “Buyers are looking for sneakers for men and flats in bright colors like violet and pink for girls. We got direct orders on the fair.” Dirk Fuchs from Diesel was equally excited: “Shoe retailers are looking for new trends and brands; we had a lot of new buyers at our stand.” Michael Gerlach of Airstep footwear in Italy added: “We are happy. The new hall concept gave us a big response and new clients.” Business was relaxed and all were in a good mood.

Overall, the new concept of GDS (shoes and accessories) and Global Shoes (the leading trade show for sourcing) proved to be a resounding success. Some 33,000 buyers visited the fair grounds, with 27,000 of them attending GDS and 6,500 Global Shoes. Both fairs closed almost on par with last year (September 2007: 33,500 visitors). Most visitors came from Germany as well as the Benelux countries, Italy, UK, France and Denmark. There was also a good response to the new “urban authentic” and “urban spirit” areas in hall 1, “design attack” and white-cubed high fashion area in hall 2.

Together, GDS and Global Shoes hosted 1,269 exhibitors from 40 countries for the S/S 2009 season, with 820 exhibitors and 2,000 collections showing at GDS alone.

GDS will run from March 13-15 and from Sept. 11-13 next year.

—Lisa Dartmann