Posted by Alex Jackson on June 22, 2018
It’s become apparent that the casual fashion trend has deeply affected the women’s footwear industry. The high heel glam shoe of years past has been pushed to the back of the closet in favor of far more comfortable and practical alternatives of late. So what are women shopping for in their shoes these days? What’s in, out and what do you need to know as a seller to put your best foot forward?
The high heel is out- if you take one thing away from reading this article it’s that the high heel is hurting. No, not just your arches anymore, it’s their sales which have been suffering in recent years. The high heel that’s a heel 3 inches or taller has seen a fairly steady decline in sales since its peak demand earlier this decade. Reasons vary from health concerns such as causing back and knee problems to changing consumer tastes, and some are even now pointing to the #metoo movement as contributing factor to their decline. The high heel these days is considered mostly for special occasions and generally not in the daily rotation. So just what has usurped the high heel in the heart of most women?
The not so high heel- Women have not abandoned the heel entirely, it’s just gotten a lot shorter or wider. The mule and the kitten heel have risen in popularity as a compromise middle ground between the high heel and the flat or sneaker another trend on the rise. These modestly sized heels offer greater comfort and are far more practical without entirely sacrificing the visual appeal that the heel provides.
The rise of the sneaker- comfortable is the overarching trend today in women’s shoes, and the sneaker has benefited greatly from this. NPD a market research group reported that in 2017 the sale of women’s leisure sneakers grew over 37% as a category. Not only have the big names in the sneaker industry like Nike and Adidas benefited greatly but also many of the high-end fashion houses like Louboutin and Gucci. Instead of reinventing the wheel or the sneaker, in this case, these designers have merely updated the sneaker with their higher quality materials and their own trademark flair. Styles of sneaker in demand these days vary from the dad sneaker a clunky and chunky looking 90’s throwback to classic canvas sneakers like the Converse All-star or for the well-heeled consumer the designer version of the classic trainer.
Boots are made for walking- Boots are not going anywhere they are as popular as ever but as we have said before comfort is critical. Look for ankle boots, hiking or cowboy boots anything with a modest heel right for walking.
Summer means sandals- sandals are front and center this time of year and of course, there are many light and airy options out there but one surprising throwback to reemerge this year is the classic Birkenstock. The Birkenstock brand proper has jazzed up its offerings to appeal to consumers outside of the folk festival crowd and other designers such as Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Prada have all done their own take on the buckle slide sandal for this summer season. With sandals be on the lookout for low heels and anything slip on. Bulky or chunky sandals are hot.