BoF Insights | What’s Next for Luxury Shoes in 5 Charts

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The post-pandemic casualisation of fashion has now also left its imprint on designer footwear. In the aftermath of Covid-19, high-income shoppers today are looking for comfort, versatility and style reinvention when shopping for designer shoes. For many brands, it’s a creative shift that they will need to accommodate in order to compete effectively and appeal to consumers’ changing demands, according to the latest report from BoF Insights, “The New Statement Shoe: Reimagining Designer Footwear.”

In exploring the post-pandemic luxury footwear market, BoF Insights zeroed in on high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) to find out more about their preferences when buying designer shoes, including a survey fielded by luxury research firm Altiant on behalf of BoF Insights. Of the more than 300 HNWIs surveyed in the US, China and the UK, the vast majority of respondents have both purchased designer shoes in the past 12 months and intend to purchase more in the next year.

For sure, the sign of growing HNWI demand is promising for brands competing in this category, which global market research firm Euromonitor International expects to increase to $40 billion by 2027 from $31 billion today. While China and the UK are important markets for luxury footwear — at 9 percent and 2 percent of global sales, respectively — it’s the US that commands the biggest share, at nearly 40 percent today.

Capturing the market now requires brands and retailers to adapt their assortments to reflect new, and perhaps more challenging, consumer preferences. Shoppers want luxury shoes to have the same style impact as before, while being reluctant to relinquish comfort. BoF Insights finds that in the aftermath of Covid-19, over 70 percent of HNWIs say that they tend to look for more comfortable shoes — even while the majority are seeking out statement styles.

HNWI shoppers are reluctant to give up comfort, even while seeking out statement shoes

New contemporary brands have taken note, carving out a space in the competitive landscape by offering a combination of style and comfort. As designer Amina Muaddi, whose namesake brand was launched in 2018, told BoF Insights: “I have very few styles that have an extremely high heel or a more sculptural silhouette that is not for every day,” adding, “I try to create shoe styles that you can feel comfortable in for hours, that are pretty to look at and that are practical to walk in.”

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