The Chicago Shoe Market took place Feb. 20-21 at the Embassy Suites Downtown Chicago.
Nearly 200 vendors exhibited at the event to showcase their upcoming spring, summer and fall shoe collections. The show was hosted by Windy City Shoe Travelersa nonprofit trade-show organization that has put on three shoe-market shows.
Brands like Timberland, Havaianas, Franco Sarto and Steve Madden hosted exhibits at the event, and allowed spectators first dibs on new releases. Several styles weren't even in stores yet, but were available for pre-order at the market.
"We've built an entire shoe store from the ground up at the Embassy Suites," said Eric Willingham, president of Windy City Shoe Travelers Board and account executive at Timberland. "We've brought a group of over 85 different wholesalers that are trying to build a better marketplace for not only the Chicago retailer, but also for the Midwest retailer to shop these different brands."
Willingham went on to discuss how Timberland's presence at the shoe market was representative of the versatility and functionality for shoe lovers. But this didn't just apply to Timberland. Each floor of the hotel had rows of rooms transformed into shoe stores, and each room had its very own look and feel.
"This is the first time the shoe market has been featured at the Embassy," said Bernice VanBuhler, executive director of Windy City Shoe Travelers. "The venue actually worked out [perfectly] and I think it's attracted a good amount of people in the city."
Attendees were greeted with continental breakfast on show mornings, and lunch during the afternoon, and a cocktail reception on the opening day.
Windy City Shoe Travelers plans to host another shoe market show in August. To learn more about that event, visit ChicagoShoeMarket.com .