Conversely, high heel sales are plummeting in comparison, showing that casual items are selling more than their luxury counterparts. The sale of women's casual trainers increased by roughly 40% last year, while high heel sales decreased by more than 10%.
Traditionally, women's shoe sales have been higher for fancy styles that focus mostly on fashion appeal, such as high heels. However, with so many newer brands releasing product lines that focus solely (pun intended) on fit and feel, women seem to be opting for comfortable styles instead. With companies now providing new material technologies that make casual shoes more comfortable than ever, women everywhere are curious about how much more comfortable these shoes really are, spurring a spike in sales fuelled by advancement-driven curiosity.
With that said, we took a closer look at some of the biggest women's casual wear stories of 2017-2018, some of which were born out of men's fashion trends, including Nike's collaboration with Off-White and Converse's collaboration with Tyler the Creator:
Nike X Off-White
In this new wave of designer brands working together to create hybrid products, Nike and Off-White are probably the two most notable collaborators. The designer of the Off-White brand, Virgil Abloh, partnered with Nike to create hybrid shoe designs between Off-White styles and Nike's “The Ten” collection, which includes legendary models like the Air Jordan 1. Other notable designs popping up in the mix include the Air Max 90, Air Presto, Blazer Mid, Air Max 97, Air Force 1, and the Chuck Taylor All-Star. You won’t be able to find these in every store, but there are a few online sites such as The Sole Women's who feature the latest collections including the Blazer, Air Max 97 and Zoom Fly designs. They will also be able to help guide you on where you can buy them.
Abloh commented on the impact that these 10 pivotal shoe designs have had on culture, fashion, and casual wear performance when expressing how proud he was to participate in what became the biggest sneaker collaboration of 2017. Nike and Off-White released teaser photos on Instagram to build hype for the collection months before its official release, with one of the more notable female celebrity endorsements coming from Naomi Campbell. Of course, with The Ten collection consisting of running and basketball shoes, all of the styles in the Nike x Off-White collaboration are great for casual or athletic wear for both men and women.
Converse X Tyler The Creator
Nike-owned company Converse has also made waves with their recent collaboration with Tyler the Creator. The trendsetting collection includes the increasingly popular Gold Le Fleur x Converse Chuck 70 sporting a unique burlap exterior that the collaboration has become known for.
Before that addition, Tyler had already partnered with Converse to create the flower-motif One Star which was previously known as the flagship of Tyler's shoe design contributions.
Ranging from the bright colours of the Red, Blue One Star to the Pink, Orange Golf Le Fleur, this is a well-balanced unisex collection with designs that are favoured by both men and women. Plus, Tyler's collaboration with Converse includes the “All-Neutral” selection, which as the name suggests, is suitable for just about any outfit.
More Women Are Opting For Comfort And Durability
The trend away from luxury shoes is most evident in the sky-high heels – those with heels higher than three inches – which have been seeing the strongest decrease in sales over the past few years. Furthermore, product variety is not the problem here, as retail inventory in the high heel department has risen by nearly 30%.
This proves that, while manufacturers are still churning out new high heel designs, consumers are still opting for casual trainers because comfort takes precedence over heel height on most occasions. Regardless of age or lifestyle, all women enjoy wearing comfortable shoes, especially during everyday activities. The limited functionality of high heels makes them a style that is typically reserved for fancy events, while casual trainers can be used for everything from sports to a walk in the park.
Going Beyond The Luxury Selection
Affordability is another factor that is driving casual footwear sales up, as the average consumer can only afford to purchase so many pairs of luxury shoes before they have to revert back to buying more reasonably priced footwear on an ongoing basis. It's possible to purchase 2-10+ pairs of casual trainers for the price of one pair of designer brand high heels.
Thus, it stands to reason that many women have passed their luxury shoe phase because they already have everything they need in that department, which is sending luxury shoe sales down and casual shoe sales up. Only the most avid shoe collectors will have more than a dozen pairs of high heels, and after that, comfort-oriented trainers become a more practical option for regular shopping.