Despite this rather gloomy picture I’ve just painted, the entire athletic footwear world isn’t about to collapse, forcing us to confront a future of vintage flip flops and hand-me-down Crocs. However, just at a time when retail is taking a pounding, when mortgages and unemployment figures are bananas, when blah, blah, more negative blah... prices simply have to rise, exerting even more stress on fatigued wallets and over-it sneaker store owners.
It might be an idealistic view, but the next time you’re in Bodega, Sneakersnstuff, St Alfred, HAL, Espionage, UNDFTD, Size? or your local joint... think about all of these things and how they relate to the pair of shoes in front of you. Are you prepared to pay more for quality? Do you care what your shoes are made out of? Do you care how long they’ll last? A 10% increase will push your new Vans from $90 to just under $100. Is that a deal breaker? Or will you go for the handmade kudu leather FEITs at $280? Both shoes get the job done handsomely but one is a third of the price. Which offers better value?
As my research shows, how these price increases are passed on and what compromises it forces on product will play a huge role in shaping the industry over the next few seasons. Who knows when things will get better? They say nothing stays the same but maybe we need to accept that what we are facing now... is the new status quo?
SNEAKER FREAKER ED.
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