Photo credit: Jorelle Gates Photography If you aren’t a shoe retailer, vendor, or buyer, you may be wondering what the Chicago Shoe Market is exactly. It is an event that was created in response to a need for a personalized buying experience, where local retailer could easily attend and meet with all of the industries top vendors in one place. Other shoe expos are typically held in Las Vegas, which requires a lot more time and resources to attend, and since the shows in Vegas are typically much larger, the intimate nature of the setting is lost in those spaces.
For a shoe enthusiast and blogger like myself, this event is just as much fun as it is educational. Talking to a vendor or shoe designer about the origin of the brand and the design process, and the upcoming line is so exciting. It is also really great discovering smaller shoe labels that aren’t as visible yet in the big department stores or online market places, All Black is one of my favorite lines I’ve discovered here, and a few of their styles can be found at Anthropologie stores and other specialty boutiques like Shoo store in Milwaukee.
This is my second time partnering with The Chicago Shoe Market expo, and each time I’m surprised by the wide range of footwear I find. Over 300 shoe brands were featured, from household names like Steve Madden, Frye, and Corso Como, to cutting edge labels like Aussie favorite Silent D, which is making its United States launch this year, and specialty hand made shoes like Bed Stu that have already made it to my personal wish list.
Some of the key trends I noticed were lace-ups in both sandals and boots, over-the-knee boots, luxe leather and suede booties, strappy block heeled booties, many with buckles and other hardware. Other styles worth noting – platforms, boots, and sneakers, done up with embellishments, embroidery, and glitter.