At the Micam show in Milan last month, Galibelle, a Lisbon-based company, showed a patented system of interchangeable heel covers that clip onto and off of a plastic heel base. For a couple of years, the Portuguese company has been successfully selling sandals with interchangeable uppers that clip onto studs. All the shoes are made in Portugal.
An Italian company from the Marche region, The Creative, presented a line of slipper boots for babies made with the stitch-and-turn method from Greenland seal fur, with a fluffy rabbit top trim. The company offers under its H:CE brand very high-quality winter boots for women that sell well in the Nordic countries and Russia and feature retractable hooks on their rubber sole for extra grip on icy and snowy surfaces. They are made in Italy with Inuit products permitted by the European Commission.
Pimpolho of Brazil showed baby shoes with a QR code printed on the sole which starts playing gentle lullabies when scanned with a smartphone.
Blowfish Malibu of California showed a collection of vegan shoes, certified by an independent vegan society in the U.K., that is meant to collect funds for an environmental cause. The uppers are made from recycled PET and some of the money earned goes back to Oceania, an organization that cleans the oceans around the world. The packaging is ecological, too.
To give the American brand a more European flavor, Blowfish Malibu has started using a cutting-edge designer based in Berlin. Under the management of Roderic van Praet d'Amerloo, it has also started covering the European market directly. Last year, the brand fell under the control of Caleres. The former European distributor, 33 Joints, has become its U.K. agent, with Antony Nathan on the road.
Palmroth, the well-known Finnish boot manufacturer, presented at Micam a new summer collection drawn from its own heritage, taking old styles from the '30s and '70 s from its archives and recreating the lasts to make high-quality leather fashion shoes and sandals manufactured in its home country.