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Put your best foot forward in spring

A PAIR of comfortable walking shoes is essential for spring with its outdoor activities. Comfort naturally tops the list, while stylish designs are equally important, especially in China, according to Willie Tan, CEO of Skechers China.

"Chinese consumers prefer 'all-round' shoes that can be worn throughout the day, at work and after work," he says.

Among the American casual footwear brand's 350 new styles to be introduced to the Chinese market this spring/summer, most of them are "evolved" sneakers featuring a more colorful palette, lighter fabrics and more stylish silhouettes.

A road show was organized last Friday at the Super Brand Mall in Pudong to display the latest collections.

The women's "Cali" collection, for example, combines traditional sneakers with wood wedge heels. "All women want to be taller," Tan explains. "These shoes make you taller while keeping you comfortable. They also come in various styles and colors so you can easily match them with daily outfits."

The evergreen "Mary Jane" model comes with Skechers' unique traction "biker" outsole and a cushioned insole. It is available in classic black and white and is recommended to be worn with dresses or casual wear to work.

Another highlight is the "Shape-Ups," the fitness trainers designed to make the most of the wearer's walking work out. Providing exercising benefits, they help the wearer burn more calories while walking, and at the same time adjust posture.

Founded in Manhattan Beach, California, in 1992, Skechers is one of the fastest growing shoe brands in US. Targeting buyers between 12 and 25, especially young women, it has been promoted by artists such as Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Ashlee Simpson.

In China, it runs more than 100 stores, including 12 flagship stores in Shanghai, Beijing, Guangzhou and Shenzhen, and six concept stores in Hong Kong.

Compared with Skechers, Ecco from Denmark targets a more mature and sophisticated clientele. At a recent fashion show of this spring/summer collection, models dressed up in various styles, from casual wear to sporty gear, from working attire to evening dresses, and displayed its shoes designed for different occasions.

The "Gisborne" collection features feminine T-bar framing and high heels. It is made from natural, shiny and soft leather in shades of red and black, with a moisture-absorbent socklining.

The "Lite" series of three designs is ideal for walking with its flexible, lightweight and hard-wearing sole. The naturally soft materials are highly breathable and light-weight. Shoes come in bright spring hues such as purple, cherry and lemon.

For men, there is "Barcelona," a fashionable square-toed shoe with an attractive, quality look ideal for work, as well as "Veloce," a modern casual shoe with a dynamic twist.


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