The Milan sun shone as Drapers meandered through the throngs of buyers at the 50th anniversary edition of Italian footwear trade show Micam on 15-18 September at Fiera Milano.
Overall, the mood from exhibitors was positive, and several remarked that it was busier than the previous edition in February. Footfall fluctuated over the course of the show. Sunday got off to a busy start as Italian independents were the first to pack the halls, but the crowds tailed off in the afternoon in some halls as the 30°C temperatures proved too much for some.
Monday and Tuesday were buzzy as the larger key accounts and international visitors descended. Several brands noted that Micam remains the “global magnet” for footwear, and buyers from as far afield as the US, the Middle East, the Far East and Australia were in attendance.
The number of Russian and Eastern European attendees was up, exhibitors remarked, but they added that there were significantly fewer German and UK buyers than usual. Big names from the UK who were spotted browsing the aisles included John Lewis, Pavers and Sole Trader.
Wednesday, the last day of the show, was typically quiet, and very few visitors made their way from the nearby metro station to the cavernous halls.
In terms of product, sneakers still dominated across both men’s and women’s footwear, and thicker soles stood out as a key trend.
For women’s footwear there was a resurgence in feminine, strappy high heels. However, both Drapers and several brands felt that there was a general lack of innovation and new trends in the footwear market, particularly in men’s footwear. Several aisles were dominated by rows of very similar trainers with few distinguishing features.
As at the February edition, Brexit was a hot topic of discussion among British brands and international buyers. Concerns over possible tariffs, duties and delays at ports were the major worries. Several exhibitors remarked that it was impossible to plan for exiting the European Union, given the ongoing uncertainty over the UK’s course of action. They said it was a balancing act between making the necessary arrangements and wasting time and resources should another delay occur. Brands called for clarity as the 31 October deadline fast approaches.
Another issue discussed on many stands was the future of trade shows in general. Micam hosted a range of experiential additions such as panel talks, fashion shows and activities including hair and make-up stations throughout the show to engage buyers. Orders were being written but wider aisles and empty spaces in the halls suggested there was a smaller amount of brands in attendance compared with previous editions. Some brands said the exhibition was too late in the buying season.
However, despite some rumblings, brands were generally in agreement that trade shows are still an important part of the industry and that Micam remains the must-attend footwear exhibition in Europe.
Mood of the show
Kat Maconie, founder, Kat Maconie
“We see everyone at Micam. There have been buyers from the Middle East, from the domestic market – really from all over the world. We’ve also seen quite a few new accounts, including from the Caribbean and from Greece. The spring 20 collection has gone down really well and we’re also gearing up to launch cosmetics at the end of this year.”
David Corben, managing director, Steptronic
“There were quiet spots on Monday, where there were more exhibitors than visitors. We had a really good day on Sunday though, perhaps the best Sunday we’ve ever had at Micam. We’d done three quarters of what we expected to do at the entire show on Sunday alone, but it did tail off slightly from there. We see the world at Micam, including South Africa and Australia. People do write orders – the international buyers are used to writing orders at trade shows.”
Steve Rolls, marketing manager, Base London
“It has been a bit quiet in general, but Tuesday was very busy. We’ve had a good mix of customers – Polish, Russian, Italian, French and Japanese. Micam is a mecca for footwear. It is a one-stop shop for global footwear buyers. It’s good for us to be here, as our Italian agent writes a lot of orders with independents here, and we get feedback on the products straight from the buyers.”
Laura Buchwald, junior national account manager Germany, Joules
“It has been a good show, but we’ve had mainly independents on the stand, not key accounts. A lot from eastern Europe and Asia but none from the UK or Germany. It is very late in the season for us but it’s the biggest show, so you want to be here.”