American fashion is now much more casual than just five years ago, and that includes footwear. The trend is especially apparent when it comes to sales of women’s sneakers, which have soared by over 37% across the U.S. since the start of 2017.
Meanwhile, high heels’ sales have dropped by 11% over the same span, according to an online research group.
Brands such as Adidas, Nike, Dr. Scholl’s Puma, UGG, Roxy and Steven Madden are only a few of the brands that are receiving a benefit of women wearing footwear that is more comfortable.
A footwear specialist said that it has become a basic consumer need for comfort and that comfort is due to everyone being so busy and always running around everywhere.
Brands that focus on comfort have been more successful because that is something women want regardless of age. The sneaker trend is likely to continue for the next couple of years in double-digit growth, as it becomes a lifestyle choice, said the analyst.
Even in the large metropolitan area, comfortable footwear is being worn more by women. Women on the New York City subway can be seen in many varieties of flats and sneakers.
In contrast, sky-high heels, heels that are three inches and above, are falling fastest, as consumers shift toward one pair of footwear that can be worn day and night. Even when it comes to dressier events, sensible heels have become more appealing, say industry experts.
However, the shift in footwear is not due to a lack of choices when it comes to shoes. Retail inventory for high heels has increased 28% during 2017 in comparison to 2016, said online research firm Edited.
One retail consultancy said that it is not so much the rejection of high heels as it is the many different alternatives available to wear instead of high heels. Shoes sales overall are on the increase, it is just that the increase has been spread over many different categories.
Women, said one industry expert, are still wearing their high heels for the fancy events.
Sales of athletic footwear were up 2% in the U.S. over the last year and generated sales of close to $20 billion. Amongst the leisure sneakers for women, Nike and Adidas accounted for near half the growth across that segment.