Break out them cowboy hats because for fall/winter 2005/06, it’s all about the wild, wild West. Western boots were all the rage at the WSA (World Shoe Association) trade show in Las Vegas, February 4 – 9. The bi-annual show took place at three venues: the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, Sands Expo Convention Center and The Venetian hotel and featured over 1600 exhibitors showcasing more than 6000 brands.

Over 30,000 registered participants turned out for the four-day show, which experienced a significantly slow Sunday due to the Super Bowl. According to many exhibitors, the show was "dead" by 3:00 p.m.—the time the football game started. There was certainly no absence of trends though.

Western boots were a favorite across the board in women’s. Looks were offered every which way imaginable, from classic or contemporary to simple or stylized. Old Gringo is the king of cowboy boots and offered classic styles in everything from funky pink python to the mother of all boots, its "Flor de Chale"—a hand tooled boot with antiqued caimen vamp that wholesales for well over $500. More stylized versions came from brands such as Diesel, who took a directional approach on boots, wedge-heel shoes and even a boot/sneaker style. Dr. Martens even tried its hand at the cowboy boot offering an embossed low version in black with a selection of accent colors.

Harness boots were also a favorite and were featured in a variety of styles from classic brown leather at Frye to ruby red, high-heeled and vampy at Naturalizer.

The next edition of WSA will take place in Las Vegas August 4 - 7. For more information, visit www.wsashow.com.



Joselle Yokogawa, Features Editor