If you have been to the Micam, you have experienced the ultimate shoe nirvana. Held twice a year in Milan, Italy, the Micam is the world’s premier trade show for footwear. Manufacturers and retailers from all corners of the earth converge over this glorious four-day shoe orgy to buy, sell, and celebrate shoes.
The Micam is a euphoria-inducing shoefest. The endless buffet of platforms, wedges, espadrilles, motorcycle boots, and Swarovski-covered everything may overwhelm even the most die-hard shoeholic. Fear not for your pocketbook, however, because you cannot walk out of the Micam with any shoes other than the ones that you wore into it. You must instead satisfy yourself with precious memories (and surreptitiously taken photos).
The Micam takes place at Milano Fiera, a sprawling exhibition complex just northwest of Milan. In all, the Micam Spring 2014 hosted 1,600 exhibitors. They are grouped into general categories such as young women’s sporty and ladies’ dressy. After cruising the aisles a bit and a few cappuccinos, you get the general flavor of the hot trends. Biker boots, platforms, and blingy heels start to repeat. The most striking and unusual shoes then begin to stand out.
Here is a sampling:
New Rock shoes don’t just stand out–they scream! These unapologetically in-your-face shoes and boots are the baddest of badass glam rock shoes. Their aggressive metal and leather combinations are covered with buckles, steel toes, and tons of devil-may-care attitude. Michael Jackson probably had that in mind when he wore them on stage.
Equally arresting, and yet utterly opposite, Due Italiani’s sandals are unfiltered innocence and flirtation. Their brightly hued wood wedges are hand painted with floral motifs. In fact, looking at all their colorful bags and sandals felt a little like watching birds of paradise in a human-size birdcage. Of the many fun sandals at the Micam, they were certainly some of the most original.
The rest can be described one word—sparkle! And lots of it. Sparkle on boots, flats, sandals, sparkly buckles, sparkly heels. The exhibit with most noticeable amount of it, was Francesco Sacco. Wedges, platforms, stilettos, and high tops—there is no form of footwear that Mr. Sacco cannot (or will not) adorn with crystals. His shoes incorporated practically every shade or hue a woman could have in her wardrobe. Even his more sober (okay, matronly) shoe-and-bag ensembles were adorned with enough crystals to make any other sequins or jewelry seem silly.
Sadly, not all calzaturieri at the Micam allow everyone to see their shoes. Higher-profile brands like Sergio Rossi and Giuseppe Zanotti are completely inaccessible to all but a select few. Their booths are entirely enclosed with only a small door that is carefully guarded to ensure that only those on “the list” are allowed to enter the inner sanctum. You would have better luck getting into Fort Knox. If you really want to see the truly breath-taking artistry of these masters in one place, go to the Rinascente department store in downtown Milan. Your pocketbook will regret it but your heart will not.
The sharply dressed people who attend the Micam come from all over the world. It’s the United Nations of footwear. Many of the exhibitors and buyers will return in the fall. The rest of us will have a few brochures as mementos. And then we set our sights on the next adventure….handbags at the Mipel.
Do you have questions about shoe shopping in Italy? Send Manuela Rumsey a message.