Posted on September 06 2018
The common image when it comes to footwear is a woman with a closet overflowing with shoes. But, times are changing.
In the US, sales of shoes for men were valued at $37 billion in 2016. It is smaller than the $42 billion spent by women on footwear, but the gap is noticeably smaller compared to earlier years. Men's formal shoes, in particular, is on a rampage in terms of growth. It is expected to reach $9.5 billion by 2022, with a compound annual growth rate of 7% within the forecast period.
But what accounts for the sudden interest in men's footwear? Surely, the males on Earth did not grow extra pairs of feet.
A New Fashion Perspective
A large part of the reason why the market is bigger is the cultural shift in fashion. Just a few decades ago, menswear was considered the workhorse segment. It had to be practical and functional. Suits were supposed to be durable enough that they can be passed on from father to son.
But, men's fashion is expanding its horizons. More men are starting to realize the value of fashion and are exploring their sartorial options.
Take, for instance, NBA events. They are practically interchangeable with Hollywood red carpet events. The basketball players dress to the nines, knowing that their power suits and flashy accessories are part of the brand they are constructing. Another example is the rise of men's fashion in film and TV. If women have Carrie Bradshaw and her Louboutins, Mad Men's Don Draper had his classic American suit, with shiny oxfords on his feet. Fashion became part of the show's appeal.
All these situations lead up to a cultural shift. Fashion is not just for women. Men can be playful and versatile with their choices of clothes and footwear more than ever.
From the point of view of brands and designers, this gives more freedom to the kind of products they offer. For example, a shoe like Alfred features a design that appeals to the style senses of a modern man. It has a bold pattern, owing to the fact that it is made of genuine alligator leather. It has tassel and hardware details. The shoe is also hand-stained and comes in both black and caramel.
The increase in demand from clients wanting more variety in footwear leads to more styles to purchase.
The Sneaker Effect
If you are going to talk about how men's shoes rose to popularity, you need to mention sneakers.
Sneakers went from being an industry to a cultural phenomenon. It is undoubtedly a large financial market, with secondary sales reaching $1 billion in 2016. But, it has also become a movement in itself, with the rise of "sneakerheads" Sneakerheads are individuals who not only collect shoes, but are also knowledgeable on its history, design, and cultural importance. This is not about some guy with a closet full of Air Jordans. Sneaker culture is huge, with magazines, conventions, and a strong following.
A shoe like the Anthony would be right at home within the sneaker revolution. The distinctive patterns and color markings make it highly collectible. The materials it is made from -- ostrich and calf -- are materials that indicate high quality.
Increased interest and increased supply are the factors that make the men's shoe industry exceptionally exciting at this time. Men are moving towards a greater appreciation of shoe fashion, one foot at a time.