The Milan trade show, which ran from Feb 10 to 13, closed with over 43,000 visitors, in terms of daily entrances, compared with 44,227 in the February edition of 2018. However in terms of individual entries, this edition registered a 2.5 percent increase as a higher number of Italians more than offset a drop in foreign visitors.

Annarita Pilotti, chairwoman of Assocalzaturifici, the Italian trade association that manages the trade show, noted that 35 percent more U.S. and 38 percent more Canadian visitors made the trip to attend, indicating growing interest in North America for European footwear. The growth occurred in spite of the fact that the Magic and FN Platform fairs had been held in Las Vegas just a few days earlier. Visitors from Spain rose by 10 percent, while delegates from Russia, France and Germany fell by a double-digit percentage rate.

Pilotti said that she had asked Italian Industry Minister Luigi Di Maio, who attended the opening of the fair, to introduce new measures to support the country's labor-intensive footwear industry by reducing taxes.

The next edition of the show, scheduled for Sept.15-18, should benefit from its proximity with the Milan Fashion Week, which runs from Sept 19 to 25. In 2020, both editions of the trade show will be coupled with the fashion week.

Tommaso Cancellara, secretary general of Assocalzaturifici, said that Micam has become more selective regarding the profile of the exhibitors, barring low-quality manufacturers from attending. This is expected to lead to a slight reduction in the number of exhibitors in the coming years, he noted. Last month, Micam hosted 1,304 exhibitors, including 716 Italian and 588 foreign brands, down slightly from last year's score.

Stressing that Micam Milano wants to stand for “made in quality” rather than “made in Italy,” Cancellara stated that the trade show is not excluding Chinese producers as long as they offer quality goods. For a case in point, he cited the Chinese label King Ping, managed by the designer Ping Wang, which participated in the excellent emerging designers' section of the fair.

Riding on the wave of growing demand for sneakers, Micam held a teaser for a new event called Plug-Mi – The Sneakers Culture Experience – which will be held in September. Plug-Mi will be a separate trade show for the general public, targeting millennials. It be held along with Micam and organized by Fandango Club. Plug-Mi visitors will not have access to Micam, to keep the latter a gathering for industry players, but Micam visitors will have free access to Plug-Mi.

Another sign of the overwhelming interest in sneakers was the presentation at Micam of CH873, the sneaker collection of a rather traditional British shoemaker, Church's. The collection was launched previously with a party thrown in the Soho district of London. Many other brands of dress shoes featured colorful sneakers in their stands. Pollini showed them together with color-coordinated daypacks.

While illustrating the latest trends in sneakers, WSGN cautioned at one of its conferences during the Micam show that the growth of athleisure had slowed down in the U.S. last year. The U.K.-based fashion consultancy had already predicted six months ago that high heels were coming back strongly as an alternative to so-called “trainers,” but Puma's chief executive, Björn Gulden, indicated last month that the bulky sneaker trend in the higher end of the market has not yet peaked.