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 Spring Shoes for Men Step Brightly


             Spring Shoes for Men Step Brightly


An assortment of bold men's shoes, many decorated with bright Crayola colors, are starting to make their way into stores this month. Not your father's wingtips, these interpretations of classic styles—bucks, loafers, saddle shoes and brogues—feature thick, neon-colored rubber soles, lime-green suede uppers or even dangerous-looking metal spikes. Brands varied as Brooks Brothers, Ferragamo and Jimmy Choo have stepped into the game.


The trend has grown out of the recent craze for high-end sneakers with soles, laces and uppers in bright, cartoony colors. Now, men are showing interest in grown-up shoes that make a distinctive statement. Designers are also hoping men start indulging in a pair of "just for fun" shoes, the way women bought striking, impractical heels in the "Sex and the City" days.


Christian Louboutin and Jimmy Choo, two brands known for attention-grabbing heels for women, are adding men's collections. Christian Louboutin opened a men's store in Paris last year and plans to open a second in New York this spring. Both brands offer men's shoes with the whimsy and look-at-me boldness of their women's lines, and those styles, the labels say, are outselling more-sedate shoes.


                                                                       F. Martin Ramin for The Wall Street Journal Cole Haan


At Jimmy Choo, which launched a men's collection last year, customers' response to the more fashion-forward shoes in the fall 2011 line was so strong that the brand increased its selection of statement shoes for spring, says Joshua Schulman, the label's chief executive. It added a desert boot in yellow and Klein blue (after the artist Yves Klein) and a penny loafer in a shiny red calf leather with a burlesque-style female silhouette on the penny.


At Barneys New York, bold-colored styles have been a growing part of its shoe business, especially after the look emerged last spring on the runways, says Tom Kalenderian, Barneys' general merchandise manager of men's. Jil Sander's shoes with colored soles and bottoms sold out last year, and the store increased its assortment of bold shoes for fall and this spring, he says. It's also carrying more daring colors. "We bought lime green chukka boots from Heschung," a French brand. "This trend is not something we see tempering off very quickly," he says. "It has legs."


But Mark McNairy, whose Mark McNairy New Amsterdam label is often credited with popularizing colorful soles, thinks many men are at a stage when they are ready to move on from sneakers. "A lot of my customers are in their first pair of proper shoes," he says.