Comfy shoes are fast becoming the norm as more young Americans are choosing footwear that is both stylish and practical.

New research from Mintel reveals that 65 percent of buyers are most likely to select athletic shoes while 53 percent opt for casual shoes. By contrast, only 34 percent of customers prefer dress shoes.

Younger buyers are largely behind the trend, with shoppers aged 18-34 making up 37 percent of those who have bought shoes based on comfort.

“Casual styles are among the most purchased shoes in America today, even among younger consumers,” Alexis DeSalva, Retail and Apparel Analyst at Mintel, said in a press release. “Young consumers aren’t solely choosing shoes for comfort, but also because comfortable shoes are now considered cool, with comfort and style increasingly being considered synonymous. In fact, we’re seeing a trickle down effect from the high end fashion world, which has been featuring more casual shoe styles.”

The surge has led more brands to include comfortable wear in their collections and is emblematic of the rise in casual attire becoming more common in professional settings.

DeSalva added, “More mainstream brands and retailers have featured comfortable shoes like sneakers and slide sandals as part of their assortments, making comfort a cool trend. Additionally, the increased acceptance of less formal footwear choices is a reflection of the growing trends in casual fashion and relaxed dress codes, as well as flexible work situations.”

Mintel’s study also showed sales growth for men and women’s footwear has been steadily growing - with purchases up 17 percent in the last five years - climbing to 63.2 billion US dollars (47.6 GBP) in 2017.

“An optimistic outlook is in store for both segments of the footwear category, with consistent growth expected from both men’s and women’s shoes over the next five years,” DeSalva added. “We find that consumers are generally becoming more comfortable with shopping online for footwear, despite the fact that in-store shopping has historically been preferred.”

 

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