Being one of the original shoe bloggers in the industry, I got to know a lot of people i.e. shop owners, brand owners, people in the shoe industry etc. And because of this, I get to hear a lot about what is going on, for everyone, which allows me to understand the industry better. The last few years have been interesting to say the least. A lot of ups and downs with the growth of social media and globalization and brands from all around the world now being able to market anyone in the world at the drop of a dime. It has made the options endless for the consumer, but truth be told, it has made the industry overly saturated for the companies as they compete for the global, internet consumer. And whether you know it or not, many brands, factories, retails stores are suffering due to this. So the question is, what is going on in the mind of the consumers? What has changed for them in the shoe industry? Was it all a trend? I have a few theories of my own so thought that I would discuss them and then ask for all of you to leave your comments/opinions.
People are not wearing dress shoes as much. With the way that the world is changing to be more casual, you see more and more people wearing these hybrid dress shoes with sneaker soles, or just full-on wearing sneakers with their work attire. People want to be comfortable and therefore the idea of wearing leather soled shoes in the age of ‘the sneaker’ looks less and less appealing to them so they stop buying $400 dress shoes when they can get 2 pairs of $200 sneakers. And as workplace dress codes seem to be getting more and more relaxed, the idea of wearing your sneakers to work seems to be more and more appealing.
Too many cheap, online internet brands ruining it for the good quality brands. With this craze of social media and the ability to just create a shoe brand and build it on Instagram, the industry has become immensely saturated and the consumer has a million options to choose from these days. The problem lies in the fact that everyone’s marketing campaign is this: ‘We are such and such online shoe company making handmade shoes that have cut the middleman and therefore able to sell you the “best dress shoes in the world” for only $299.’ And the consumer believes this crap and buys it. And the shoes are mediocre and the client believes that this mediocre is the end all be all, never understanding why they should invest in the more expensive, and better-made product.
People have too many dress shoes. Sometimes, I feel that buying well-made dress shoes was a trend that boomed in the beginning of the social media craze and being able to buy European made shoes from the US in only a few clicks on the computer. People went shoe crazy and were buying 10-20 shoes in a year. And let’s be honest, who really needs that many shoes? I mean, don’t get me wrong, I probably have around 150 but I am a bit sick for shoes. But I don’t need them all, not even close. So, lot’s of people started buying up all of these exotic European shoe brands that were never available to them before without taking a trip to Europe. But $20,000 dollars later with a closet full of shoes, they started to realize, ‘shit, what I have done? I don’t need all of these. I better start selling them off now.’ So there was this huge boom of consumers by dress shoes which made it great for the original brands that were there to be there for the boom. But now has come the crash were people spent more than they could and/or needed and now have stopped buying dress shoes full stop.
Or maybe there is a 4th option I have not yet thought about and would love to hear all of your opinions on why the shoe industry has quieted down. And this is coming from a lot of brands/shop owners out there who have been struggling to keep up with the boom of 2016/early 2017.
Look forward to hearing your comments!
Justin, ‘The Shoe Snob’