Pumps aren’t ready for the endangered species list yet but they are losing fashion ground. For fall, the number-one replacement is some version of a short boot. The number-two look could be straps.

While oxfords are also in the the picture carrying over the lace-up look of boots, straps are a newer silhouette story for most customers.

Actually, straps started to make a fashion impression several years ago. In 1990, ready to wear designers fell in love with interpretations that criss-crossed the instep. The look was a favorite with Donna Karan, Calvin Klein, Anne Klein and Ralph Lauren, to drop a few names. These strappers included day and evening versions, mostly on highish heels although Lauren’s was a tailored calf design on a mid-high stack. It then began to appear as an accent to European couture and r-t-w.

Anyway, ever since then the crisscrosser has been a recurring fashion look. It has been especially strong for evening, but now it is reappearing for day, as well.

But crisscrossers aren’t the only strap story. Another important one is the simple little instep strapper we call the maryjane. This is the look that’s borrowed from children’s shoes, which is also appropriate at this time because of the babydoll look of some clothes. Maryjanes come on all heel heights and in all materials. They work as a basic smooth leather design on a mid heel for working women and in trendy flats.

Then there are the multistrappers. These take on boot airs when they ride up the leg, or a turn-of-the-century, Age of Innocence mood when they’re shoe height.

T’s and such are another strap category that fits into the retro feeling for ’20s and ’30s designs. Instep straps also fall into this group.

There are straps that follow an asymmetric line. Actually, this is one of the most flattering for a woman’s foot and leg. It creates an attractive line.

We’ve been in such a strong pump mentality for the past 10 years that breaking out of the mold takes a little courage. But customers have shown that they’re willing to take a chance with lace-ups and with espadrilles. The pump isn’t always the perfect solution as a footnote.

And as more and more women wear the snug-fitting boots and foot-wrapping oxfords, they become used to having something securely holding their foot. Straps do that. They’re comfortable.

Straps also make an interesting fashion counterpoint to short dressing, providing a little excitement at the foot. With boots and such, customers are getting used to a little drama in their shoes.

Illustrated in the photos, some of the strap options designers are offering for fall. Both Yves St. Laurent and Joseph Abboud opt for crisscrossers but on different heel heights. Dennis Comeau likes an instep strapper on a new asymmetric last whlie Jones New York and Ombeline go the Victorian multistrapper route.

Pumps still are the basic footnotes of choice. But to put a little fashion fun in your marketing, try straps.