I sensed a few recurring themes in footwear at the Spring 2012 menswear trade shows. Allow me to paint a foreshadowing of what shoes we might see in store the season after next.
Creepers - next season's batch will come in a variety of incarnations, most toothsome of these are the ones with jagged "teeth" at the bottom of the sole, giving the functionality of added traction, as well as a sharper profile. Some brands have also taken certain elements of the creeper, say, the leather-stitched uppers or the thick soles, and molded them into modern renditions of punk classic creeper.
George Cox printed hair calf creepers with a jagged sole
double-monkstrap creepers in suede with bronze buckles by Caminando
a slimmer dress-shoe-creeper with the classic leather stitching by George Cox
star-punched pull-on boots with creeper soles by Caminando
Prints - whether they be painted or embroidered, digital or faux-finished, there's just something so artistic and so fleeting about prints (in that you know they won't come back exactly the same next season) that I never get tired of them. These were my favorites:
needlepoint slippers by Stubbs and Wootton, in leopard and in a coat-of-arms print
velvet loafers by Stubbs and Wootton, emblazoned with a storm cloud and musical notes. Might these two come as a pair?
Stubbs and Wootton espadrilles, embroidered with surfboards and tassels
crepe-soled moccasins in snakeskin-print leather by Yuketen
a painterly print on lace-ups by Osborn
a beachy pair of printed slip-ons by Osborn
Whitewashed - next season's white shoes are white from upper to sole, leading the eye to focus more on the shoe's silhouette rather on the white as a a contrast to something else.
white monkstrap creepers by George Cox
whitewashed brogue shoes and boots from Florsheim by Duckie Brown
The New Moccasin - comes in a handful of iterations---some tough, some folksy, some refined---mostly kooky!
wingtip-perforated moccasins by Yuketen
I saw a couple of smart uses of fringe:
multi-colored moccasins with fringe accent by Yuketen
elegant fringed monk-strap dress moccasins by A.Testoni
pillow-soft huaraches from Florsheim by Duckie Brown
lug-soled studded buckle mocassins from Caminando