The mood of the international shoe sector remains quietly optimistic. This was demonstrated at GDS and Global Shoes, a trade show for sourcing, that ended on Sunday. A total of approx. 28,500 buyers from 82 countries came to the Düsseldorf exhibition center (Sept. 11-13), most of them from Germany, Benelux, Italy, Great Britain, Spain and France. 765 exhibitors with over 1,800 collections presented trends for spring/summer 2010 and the current season, and overall the newly organized lifestyle world of street fashion, urbanwear and denim brands in Hall 3 and the progressive brands in the White Cubes community located in Hall 4 resonated positively with attendees.

Fashion was the key word for summer. Bright colors, including blue tones, and new sandal styles like gladiators were key winners at the show. G-Star had a great response to its stylish women’s shoes and sandals. Sneakers were still major players, while desert boots and soft mocassins in nice colors and natural materials were top sellers.

The Converse stand, in particular, was busy and crowded all day long. CEO Willy Umland said: “Retailers are replacing their last orders for summer. After GDS we are finishing the spring/summer 2010 order season.”

Natural aspects, including materials such as cork, sisal and wood, were important, and exhibitors such as Snipe and El Naturalista, whose stands were decorated with a natural wood look and were crowded on all fair days, were well received.

“We had a great debut for our no lifestyle concept,” said Marketing Manager Susanne Ojeda-Moreno.

At the same time, technical features like wellness and comfort were increasingly important.

For the fashion shoe brands, the fair was good for establishing contact with retailers. Several exhibitors were not happy with the traffic, while others complained the fair was too late for them – many brands had already shown at Bread & Butter in Berlin. Overall, traffic fell short of expectations. Nevertheless, the design of the show was nice and trendy and overall most buyers did do business, with the first fair day being the strongest for most exhibitors.

Director Kirstin Deutelmoser explained: “The pooling of the individual lifestyle worlds and the extension of the information program for retail have proven to be good steps to take. Strong premium and quality brands have continued to bank on GDS.”

The next GDS and Global Shoes will be held in Düsseldorf from Mar. 12-14, 2010, with progressive fashion brands expected to show in the White Cubes.

—Lisa Dartmann