By Barbara Schneider-Levy

It’s going to be a bright spring, according to buyers attending the Atlanta Shoe Market last month.

Colorful, rich tones were among the top trends on retailers’ shopping lists, followed by performance-driven looks in the barefoot and minimalist categories. Among the brands Southern retailers are banking on for spring ’13 are casual lines such as Naot and Birkenstock, and outdoor looks from Chaco and Merrell. To find out what else topped their lists — and get a glimpse into their
spring forecasts — read on.

Janine Anderson, VP of footwear, Footsmart, Norcross, Ga.
Hot brands
1. Easy Spirit
2. Orthaheel
3. Clarks
Business outlook: “Spring will be much stronger for us. We’re introducing a new catalog — Comfortology — on Sept. 15 that will [expand our] distribution. It [offers] more fashion-forward and updated styles for a younger customer.”

Loretta Mills, GM, Comfortable Soles, Wilmington, N.C.
Hot brands
1. Dansko
2. Naot
3. Sanuk and Merrell flip-flops
Business outlook: “We anticipate a stronger spring than in 2012. We’re [already] up for early fall.”

Meredith Jones, Buyer, Madeleine Page, Greensboro, Ga.
Hot brands
1. Bella Vita
2. Sabrinas
3. Eric Michael
Business outlook: “We didn’t come to the show with a [buying plan], but we detailed more than in past [seasons].”

Ashley Dees, Shoe department manager, Claude Julian’s, Kosciusko, Miss.
Hot brands
1. Toms Shoes
2. Chaco
3. Birkenstock
Business outlook: “We expect business to grow between 30 percent and 40 percent. We expect to get more comfortable with outdoorsy brands and build on that business.”