Ditch The Stilettos For Sneakers?

Growth of “Athleisure” is Making Waves in The Footwear Market

Has the rising popularity of “athleisure” fundamentally changed the way women are dressing in Canada? According to the most recent market data, it’s quite possible. And while casual fashion styles have become the norm in the apparel industry, the growth of “athleisure” is increasingly making waves in the footwear market as well.

“The growth of athleisure has really been tied to the notion of embracing comfortable, well-designed, casual fashion that is both functional and fashionable,” says Sandy Silva, Fashion Industry Analyst at The NPD Group. “This trend is clearly being seen in the footwear market where the popularity of stilettos and formal dress shoes has decreased just as the athleisure trend has begun to take hold.”

According to The NPD Group, a leading global information company, sales of pumps declined by -5 per cent in 2015 after a -16 per cent decline the year prior. At the same time sales of fashion sneakers and block-heeled pumps have grown. In 2015 unit sales of non-athletic women’s shoes declined by -5 per cent. Conversely, unit sales of athletic women’s shoes increased by nearly +8 per cent in the same time period.

Are Sneakers The New Dress Shoe?

“While the stiletto will always hold a special place in any women’s wardrobe, the reality is that women today are busier than ever and as such they are far more inclined to embrace fashion styles that are functional and comfortable – especially if they happen to be on-trend,” adds Silva.

And as the weather gets warmer, the opportunities to embrace casual footwear trends become even more abundant. In 2015 unit sales of women’s sandals also increased by 5 per cent. Casual fashion is also making its mark on the slipper segment, where unit sales increased by nearly 8 per cent in 2015 after growing by 5 per cent the year prior.

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Erick Bauer

The NPD Group, Inc.
900 West Shore Road
Port Washington, NY 11050

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