During the last two months I've met with representatives from nearly every shoe company to preview their models for 2015 and early 2016. Amid a blizzard of flashy colors and names, there are some larger trends you can look forward to on the shelves in the coming months.
More is More
With minimalism becoming more passe and brands like Hoka growing by leaps and bounds, every company is creating an oversized shoe for their line and adding some extra cushioning to models across the spectrum.
Even light, neutral trainers—like the Brooks Launch, Saucony Kinvara, Sketchers GoRun, or Karhu Flow—are getting additional layers of foam and softer material to provide plush rides. Gone is the desire for "proprioception," or feel for the road. Consumers seem to be demanding more underfoot and companies are responding. (Cheaper oil and labor prices are helping make this possible as well.)
Cushion and Bounce
In addition to models that provide a soft ride, many companies are producing shoes that are both cushioned and responsive. The Adidas Boost models define the extreme of this category with their superior bounce-back properties, which our Shoe Lab has shown are the highest compared to other foams.
Look for shoes built with new foams directly competing with Boost. Also, models with traditional foams may be designed with slightly firmer, bouncier midsoles—particularly in the forefoot—for those wanting less ground contact time. New shoes seem to be falling more into categories of "plush" versus "pop" (both with more underfoot) rather than cushion (thick) versus feel (thin).