Reviews were mixed at WSA, the USA’s largest footwear trade show, held in Las Vegas July 31-August 3, 2003. The show, which boasts over 1 million square feet of shoes, 26,000 attendees and more than 1,000 exhibitors was spread over three Vegas venues, the Mandalay Bay Convention Center, the Sands Expo and the Venetian Hotel. Vendors were optimistic, yet traffic seemed slow and offered little excitement to the retailer looking for fresh inspiration.
"The highlights were Mihara Puma, Reebok and Medium, for their innovative designs and great colors, while the low points included all the suits walking around," complained Mazik Saevitz, co-owner of Conveyor, the recently opened footwear boutique in California’s Fred Segal Santa Monica store.
Color was a key trend seen everywhere at WSA, from the athletic footwear section to the funky juniors’ designs. At the Mandalay Bay, where trend-driven footwear collections were shown, GBMI’s Pony, Mecca, Hot Kiss, Nautica and Diesel labels were always full of energy, and customers. At Brazilian sandal company Melissa/Rider, funky colored plastic footwear, called "Plasticodelic" was the key trend. Similar styling was seen throughout the show. The high-heeled flip flop in a variety of candy colors was also a strong style. It was a bestseller at California-based Seychelles.
At the Sands, where active footwear was shown, color ruled as well. Retro athletic labels such as Pro Keds and Onitsuka Tiger provided effective pops of color. Major athletic labels such as Puma, Reebok and Fila showed their limited fashion ranges, where brightly colored accents, and metallic leathers were almost as important as the clean, white sneaker.
(Edina Sultanik Silver, US Bureau Chief)