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Sneaker Industry Success To Continue, Says Economist

Date: April 09 2014

By: Sneaker Freaker

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Sneaker-BackgroundInterest in sneakers seems at an all-time high right now, as new blogs pop up everyday to feed the hype machine, more sneaker-focussed stores open, and camp-outs continue to replace the club for many heads on a Friday night. Humans are often of the thinking that all good things must come to an end though, but Forbes Magazine's resident 'sneakerologist' reckons the good times can keep rolling. Matt Powell's article, 'When will the sneaker cycle end' evaluates a few market factors and concludes that sneaker brands are in charge of their own destiny for the foreseeable future. Some of the key points include...


  • The athletic shoe industry as a whole has not seen a downturn in revenue in the last decade. The highest level of growth was around 10 percent, in 2010, and the lowest level was in 2006, when figures equaled the previous year's revenue .

  • There has been volatility in the market by category. Basketball sneaks went down and are now heading now up, up up; while toning shoes had an explosive rise followed by a dramatic crash (when the courts said Skechers was talking bulls#!t in claiming their Shape-Ups toned your ass for you).

  • The last meltdown in the sneaker market was in the 90s when The Gap popularised khakis and dress shoes through a series of depressing ads, and now there is no one retailer with all that power.

  • There is more market segmentation in the sneaker industry, meaning not every shoe shop is trying to be Foot Locker – many stores have their own audience and promote their own aesthetic. So they won't crumble altogether, basically, if something did go whack with fashion trends.

  • We are still in a 'strong denim period', and sneakers are the most favoured footwear with jeans.

  • More offices than ever permit their employees to wear their own choice of casual attire, meaning people are wearing sneakers to work. This means we're wearing sneaks more days in the week, which would make a lot of people seek more variety in their shoe closet.

  • Athletic apparel is extremely popular at the moment – sneakers will remain popular in tow with this trend.

  • The Internet will continue to help disseminate information about new sneaker releases and generate hype, making buying sneakers feel exciting.

  • Many brands have been effective at keeping desired releases in short supply to maintain growth and excitement in product lines.


Powell finishes by writing, 'I believe all these factors taken together show that the strong demand for sneakers will not abate. We can expect this “cycle” to continue for some time to come.'

Let's hope so! Read the full article here.

Pic via Quiccs

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