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Casual will still dominate men's footwear in SA, but formal making a strong comeback

Published: 17th Jan 2022
Author: Tony Dickson - S&V Editor

On 04 January, Footwear News surveyed US retailers about trends expected to dominate the men's market there this year. Their picks suggested footwear, dominated by sneakers, will remain mostly casual, whereas formal clothing is making a comeback. Read the full article: HerernLocally, last week we asked a dozen men's footwear suppliers for their forecasts. 4 - all importers - responded:

Michael Craft, Dangee Carken
Johannesburg, Gauteng, SA – Nothing pleases South Africans more than a fresh pair of kicks.
      Men’s footwear for 2022 is a hard one to pinpoint any specific style or shoe. My favourites for this year are the more 'out there', rough looking rebellious shoes with a modern twist. The grungier the style as well as thicker soled shoes are definitely expected to take off this year with the trend to decorate shoes being widely represented this season.
        Where I believe sneakers will keep their momentum, the likes of formals are slowly making a comeback in the first quarter of the year with an anticipated increase in the following quarters.
      These days people want to make every moment count so making a statement when going out is big deal, it’s out with the basics and in with the new fashion!
      Bring out the rebel in you.

Nas Kokoroyanis, Florsheim SA/Derek Brown Agencies
Johannesburg, Gauteng, SA – Based on my recent experience, I believe we are mirroring what is happening in the US and Europe. Sneakers are still a feature and growing amongst the younger population. But, in saying that, we have experienced a large growth in formal sales in the last 4 months of last year, and going into this year too. This seems to be for the following reasons: one is the increase in numbers @ formal functions, and functions themselves, and secondly, more people are returning to work. I also, personally, believe that  SA men are sick of dressing casually for the last 2 years (working from home), and now want to dress up again.

Laurence Lotzoff, Dale Footwear/Hush Puppies SA
Johannesburg, Gauteng, SA – We have seen an uptick in demand across all our categories and noticeably in our new waterproof dress range, our beach sandals and sneaker categories, and most definitely in our new slipper/lounge collection.
      I think consumers are in a state of flux ranging from going back to work in an office environment to still work-from-home so the demand for related footwear is showing.
      Even though COVID meant a lot more stay at home situations, our response in the slipper category was well-timed and it seems despite the changes in work environment, the category is here to stay and growing!

Brian Carmichael, MTL Trading
Cape Town, W. Cape, SA – Despite the visible presence of relatively inexpensive men's flip flops, sneakers and trainers in store-branded retail, we are also experiencing a renewed demand for formal and more structured smart casual footwear in our markets.
      Formal inflows retailed very well last year leading to shortages which are currently being replenished.

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