Footwear is flocking to sneakers and flat styles, but Kenneth Cole is placing faith in high heels.
The company hopes that its “rebound” comfort technology system, which it has embedded into a hero range of high heels called the “Riley” collection, will help stoke sales of its women’s footwear.
The brand felt that the rising popularity of sneakers created a space in the market to craft performance-geared high heels.
“We love sneakers and we love what that has meant for our business, but we felt like we wanted to create something that felt good and looked good. We took knowledge of the sneaker market and felt there was a huge opportunity in high heels,” Roberto Zamarra, president of women’s footwear, explained of the line, which launched in late August.
The Riley pumps come in heel heights of 50, 85 and 110 millimeters and in an array of fabrications and finishes. The highest height, which equates to about 4.3 inches, is where Zamarra really considered the test. “All of your pressure is on the ball of the foot at that height, and that’s where we have put our comfort zone — the sell-throughs are fantastic,” he said.
The rebound system used in the Riley pumps is an evolution of comfort technology first used in Kenneth Cole’s 925 heel collection, which launched in 2009.
The brand intends for Riley to lead its women’s dress shoe sector and the company will release new iterations — including boots — each season.
“We try to create three buckets in our business — modern dress, modern casual and modern sport. That one-third that is modern dress is where the Riley should be leader,” Zamarra said of the company’s strategy.