The Global Footwear Market Trend – The Rise of Athletic Footwear

3D printed footwear market

Footwear is an indispensable aspect when it comes to the human’s sole. It is a known fact that footwear empowers the feet to manage a diverse range of activities. From imparting cushioning, flexibility, and/or rigidity as well as stability, footwear is inseparable from our daily lives. As technology and lifestyles evolve, footwear has been required to provide the highest degree of comfort and performance, which has paved the path for substantial engineering of shoes. Nevertheless, footwear hasn’t always been subjected to such systematic construction. For instance, the earliest known footwear that has been documented was discovered inside Fort Rock Cave, Oregon, the USA by Luther Cressman. The artifact was reportedly dated to the end of the last ice age, i.e., approx. 10,000 years old. It comprised a simple construction which comprised (i) a covering for the forefoot, (ii) sagebrush bark knotted together that resulted in an outsole with ridges for traction, and (iii) straps to go around the heel. Thus, despite the dearth of scientific know-how, it can be stated with certitude that footwear was deemed integral to facilitate the exploration of their surrounding as well as the distant environment.

footwear market

By Segment, the Athletic Type of Footwear Is Expected to Occupy a Substantial Share in the Global Footwear Market

Restriction of the movement due to the lockdown measures implemented by various governments as the COVID 19 pandemic spread, has brought about a profound impact on the daily consumption proclivities of consumers around the world. Additionally, with most of the brick-and-mortar distribution channels shuttered down because footwear is inherently not essential many shoe manufacturing companies weren’t adequately made available over online distribution channels. Further many nations have certain kinds of restrictions put in place which prevents mass gathering which also by default translates to the p prohibition to use indoor gyms and to practice collective sports.

Additionally, with gradual relaxation and the resultant reopening of business activities shopping in person would be governed by safety and health concerns and the provision of which would dictate the extent by which the retailers are capable of wooing in new customers, concomitantly retaining existing customers. Also, telecommuting is expected to prevail wherever it is possible which suggests the consumers would prefer to continue to spend more time at home. Thereby resulting in the preference of products rather than preference of fashion resulting in the decrease in formal shoes demand, inclination towards machine-washable shoes, more comfort sales, and selective about athletic footwear.

These developments can result in a downward-draft in the overall athletic type of footwear, however, conversely, certain kinds of products particularly suited for individual sports, outdoor activities, and running has the potential to evolve favorably. Additionally, with a transition to solo fitness as per Bank of America Global Research (as communicated by World Footwear) performance running sneakers are anticipated to profit from such a growing inclination. As of May 2020, as per the aforementioned US-based entity, the Google search trends for Nike increased by 104%, followed by other brands that fall within the ambit of performance running sneakers viz, Brooks that increased by 83%, HOKA that increased by 65%, and On Running that increased by 28%.

Top 10 Global Footwear Consumers 2019


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Source: World Footwear

World Share In %

Recent Developments in the Athletic Footwear Segment Which Is Expected to Augment the Global Footwear Market Growth.

December 2020 – Agreement

A 6-year agreement has been announced with NIKE, Inc. (NYSE: NKE) by UCLA Athletics which includes the former and Jordan Brand as the official athletic footwear provider among others for Bruin commencing July 1, 2021.

December 2020 – Portfolio Expansion

Just like humans, industries are also required to read the room, one of North America’s largest designers, producers, and retailers of footwear and accessories Designer Brands (NYSE: DBI) has exactly done that by recognizing the growing trend of at-home fitness that has stemmed from the pandemic and in the 3rd  quarter of 2020 it has added more athletic shoe styles to its stores.  

November 2020 – Complementary Wearable Tech Launch

A wearable tech that has been designed to aid runners to identify the pair of shoes that are appropriate to their running style. The tech utilizes an Artificial Intelligence (AI) based algorithm after the runners; gaits are measured and finally match the results to recommend the right kind of shoes. This is also another instance that capitalizes on the increased use of online distribution channels.

April 2020 – Running Shoe Launch

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Silicon Valley-based start-up called the Allbirds is known for its comfortable wool sneakers made out of sustainable materials is debuting its first-ever running shoes.

Jube 2020 – Product Launch

Integrated with shock-resistant padding called the MIZUNO ENERZY that provides resilient lightweight footwear for athletes, Mizuno Corporation (TYO: 8022) has launched new athletic footwear nicknamed “Akira Shoes”.

May 2020 – Partnership

Herzogenaurach, Germany-based Adidas, (FWB: ADS) and based in San Francisco, USA-based Allbirds have been reported to embark upon a collaboration which would effectuate a swift and joint development of a high-performance athletic shoe with negligible carbon impact.

February 2020 – Partnership

California based designer, developer, and marketer of a diverse range of lifestyle footwear for all age and genders, as well as performance footwear for all genders Skechers (NYSE: SKX), has been reported to develop upon the technology in its footwear through a new collaboration with The Goodyear Rubber & Tire Company which would make use of  Goodyear rubber technology to create custom Skechers outsoles that will deliver increased grip, stability and durability. The range of styles featuring Goodyear Performance Outsoles which was initially made available on 3 running shoes of the Skechers GOrun collection comprised a broader assortment of running and walking sneakers during the time of the publication and would expand through 2020 to athletic lifestyle, trail, and work footwear.

January 2020 – Product Launch

Called the ‘BALENCIAGA ZEN’, a leather-free and lightweight set of trainers inspired by athletic tech was unveiled by Balenciaga that otherwise known as the pioneer of the chunky dad shoe trend. It is further proof of the subtle rise of luxury sportswear.