The Daily Gamecock

Shoes of the summer: What footwear will be Columbia's sole-mate?

<p>Columbia shoe store owner Kelly Tabor poses with Sorel goods in his store on April 10, 2024. Tabor owns Good for the Sole Shoes &amp; Accessories located at 728 Saluda Ave. in Five Points.</p>
Columbia shoe store owner Kelly Tabor poses with Sorel goods in his store on April 10, 2024. Tabor owns Good for the Sole Shoes & Accessories located at 728 Saluda Ave. in Five Points.

As summer makes it way to Columbia, it brings a variety of footwear trends with it.

Kelly Tabor, the co-owner of Good for the Sole Shoes and Accessories in Five Points, said the chunky and colorful qualities of  "retro" shoes will boost their popularity throughout the summer. 

“Anything that's a throwback to the 70s and the 90s is still on trend," Tabor said. "Fashion is on a 20-year repeat." 

Tabor said the versatility of multicolored sneakers will keep them in style this summer, as well, as they can be worn both casually or formally depending on how they're styled. 

Susana Blalock, USC Fashion Board's assistant to the head of public relations, said she also sees the appeal in footwear that can be worn for any occasion.

“I think definitely kitten heels are in trend right now," Blalock said. "I feel like they can be dressed up or down." 

Customers have been looking for shoes that match their accessories, Tabor said. This has led to a high demand for both sneakers and sandals with tortoiseshell designs, which is a common pattern used in sunglasses.

Columbia shoe restorer Alan Nguyen said he plans to stock his shelves with the throwback theme this summer by leaning into the popular Y2K aesthetic

“This summer, there's been a really big boom into Y2K or 2000s style runners,” Nguyen said. “So, ASICS, Nike and New Balance sneakers are really hot right now.” 

While Nguyen said he loves the on-trend Jordan 4 sneakers, he also encourages people to buy against the trend this summer to help save money.

“The (Jordan) 1s are gone right now. They’re dead," Nguyen said. "I don’t mind because they’re going to be cheap.” 

Despite the rising summer heat, Nguyen said he prefers sneakers over open-toed shoes on most occasions. 

“I would say (wear open-toed shoes) when it’s 100 degrees outside," Nguyen said. "Other than that, put your socks on and wear some sneakers.” 

Blalock said she also prefers closed-toed shoes when dressing casually and that high socks can help accessorize outfits this summer. 

“I don’t like seeing people's toes," Blalock said. "I personally hate no-show socks. I feel like you can accessorize your look with (high) socks." 

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Tabor, on the other hand, said he thinks sports sandals will be worn extensively this summer due to their functionality and comfort. 

“When you get into the 90- and 100-degree weather ... the more open the better," Tabor said.  

Environmentally friendly shoes — specifically from Spain — will also likely be in trend this summer, Tabor said.

“Spanish shoes for casual wear is like what the Italian shoes are for haute couture ... they're just made so well,” Tabor said. “Also, a lot of those Spanish companies are very environmentally friendly." 

Many Spanish shoe companies use glues and tanning processes that produce very little pollution, Tabor said, and the earthy exterior of the shoes is what will make them thrive.

The final trend Tabor looks to promote this summer are shoes that were made to last. Fast fashion is short-lived and harmful to the environment, he said, so it is better to buy items that will last for a while.

“Buy quality. Don’t buy fast fashion. Fast fashion is ending up in our wastelands and in our dumps, and it’s just — it's polluting the world,” Tabor said. “Buy things that you’re going to keep.” 


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