Most of us love sneakers with the comfort and variety of styles and colours they come in. Over the last few years, we have witnessed significant changes in the world of shoes. Not only that a lot of the ladies now are replacing high heels with the ease and freedom of flat sports shoes, but sneakers have become the new luxury shoes.
People are dressing more and more casual and it’s widespread in all the strata of society. As a consequence, more brands like Gucci, Prada and Louis Vuitton are embracing the idea of sneakers as a key to the heart of the new generation of luxury consumers. With the increased interest in designer sneakers, brands also expand the number of sneakers on sale, diversifying price points and even moving their manufacture away from China.
This turned out to be a smart move, which helped increasing sneaker sales by 10% last year. And while Adidas and Nike have dominated the sneaker sector with a lower price range for years, they left a market gap for luxury sneakers.
Designer sneakers are a hit in the online sales as well. In April this year, Versace worked with the popular online marketplace Goat. The shop specializes in rare sneakers and Versace’s styles were sold out within the first 24 hours for the price of $920 per pair.
Another luxury fashion website, Net-a-Porter, increased its sneaker sales from one-quarter to one-third of the total sales for 2017. And luxury sneaker sales grew by 50% in the first half of 2018 compared to the same period last year and thus the overall sales increased by 44%.
The success of sneakers in the last years might be a little surprising and totally expected at the same time. “Sneakers aren’t a new product, it’s the customer who’s new” – shared the design director of Balenciaga shoes David Tourniaire-Beauciel. He is convinced that the customer is “looking for comfort, colour, technology and to be cool and elegant at the same time.” To him, it’s about mixing Manolo Blahnik with Nike.
And of course, as luxury sneakers have gone mainstream, the market becomes saturated, therefore brands now have to work hard to stand out. The key to making a difference is to have a smart communication strategy rooted in building a culture of credibility.