When you go shoe shopping, do you look for style first then seriousness, or are you a function first then fashion type of buyer?
While there are people who fit either description, the truth is, many are a little of both depending on the time of year and whether they’re searching for a specific type of footwear.
John Laanstra, owner of Payton and Buckle Fine Footwear and a 35-year-plus veteran of the shoe industry, figures you can tell a fair bit about a person by what they invest in for their feet.
“Shoes are a lot about personality,” he says. “For example, what one person wants in a work shoe is different than what the next person wants.”
Low boots continue to be in fashion for women and even men, marking the third straight year of that trend. For some, it’s their go-everywhere shoe for most of the year. But there are always going to be those people who, despite the arrival of fall rains and winter snows, will still choose a stylish low slip-on over a winter boot.
Similarities between companies
Quite adept at moving from season to season and offering “a little bit of everything for everybody,” Laanstra says, is Clarks, one of the top-selling brands in his three stores.
They’ve been around nearly 200 years, since Cyrus and James Clark crafted a pair of slippers out of sheepskin off-cuts back in the UK. Much has changed since those simple days and Clarks went on to become a worldwide footwear phenomenon, building a reputation for quality products and high-level workmanship.
Similarly, Payton & Buckle has been around for nearly 100 years and has done a fine job providing for the footwear needs of the community. Never ones to delve into the discount shoe market, the company has filled a niche in the Valley by offering mid-to-upper price point shoes.
Of Clarks, Laanstra says, “They have a wide range of prices and styles for both women and men. There’s something for everybody and every budget, and you know you’re getting quality no matter where you slot into that range.”
Here’s some other reasons people wear Clarks today:
- They’ve figured out how to make their shoes fit well; you’re bound to find a pair that are not too tight, not too loose
- They’ve moved with the times, shifting from a focus on function over fashion to offering many choices for men and women on shoes and boots
- They appeal to a wide age group with so many styles to choose from