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Sneaker prices are rising at the fastest rate of inflation in 20 years

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Image: Nike via Pexels

Everything from supermarkets to fuel to fashion seems to be getting more expensive. Footwear is the latest category to see an increase in prices, as inflation surges at the fastest rate in 20 years.

In the U.S., consumer prices have risen 5.4 percent in September alone, with further increases expected throughout the remained of 2021 and the holiday season. Figures from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show shoe prices increased 6.5 percent in September in comparison to last year. Women’s shoes were up 4.9 percent, children’s 11.9 percent and men’s increased 5.5 percent, reported Footwear News.

Figures from the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA) show U.S. consumers are seeing shoe prices increase at the fast rate in over two decades. In its monthly Shoe Price Report higher wages for retail staff and increases in import duties and taxes were cited as reasons for the surging prices.

“Shoppers typically accustomed to modest inflation may be surprised this holiday season to find limited staff in stores to explain why prices are appreciably higher,” said FDRA chief economist Gary Raines.

The rise in footwear prices can also be attributed to a rise in import charges, which rose to 146.3 million dollars in August, reported Footwear News. “This marked the seventh month of a year over year increase in a row. Duties also rose for the sixth straight month in a row in August to 320.6 million dollars,” said the global footwear news outlet.

“Footwear shoppers are feeling the repercussions from both higher duties from China and surging demand that are pushing retail footwear prices dramatically higher,” said Raines. “We expect these gains to last well into next year.”

Inventory shortages

With brands such as Nike, Adidas and Under Armour suffering inventory shortages ahead of the holiday season due to the Vietnam factory closures, increased prices will further impact what is a proving to be a challenging last quarter.

Athletic shoes are largely made from synthetic materials, including plastic, nylon mesh and polyurethane foam, all of which are in short supply, increasing the cost of of raw materials for companies.

Transport has become more expensive too, with container costs rising 500 percent compared to pre-pandemic levels. On all fronts consumers are paying an increase in prices and the surge looks set to continue.

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