Call it “Quarantine Effect”, but women worldwide have said goodbye to heels. According to the fashion website Glossy, because of the pandemic, sales of high heels fell by 71% in the second quarter of 2020. Beth Goldstein, footwear and trends analyst for The NPD Group in New York, argues that the rise of athleisure has overturned our belief in what is “appropriate” or “respectable” in a traditional environment such as the office. Also, thanks to the moral question linked to the Mee Too movement.
And if someone sells his profits go down, brands like Doc Martens, Crocs, Ugg, and Birkenstock see their stock prices soar. The idealized urban, feminine look of Sex and the City is a far cry from that embraced by young women. They are more prone to a comfortable and practical look from morning to night. Dinner at the restaurant included. In reality, the Flat Shoe trend started back in 2008 when IBM announced that computer analysis of “billions of social media posts” revealed a decline in the trend towards high heels. And fashion houses like Dior or Valentino have started to opt for mini heels.
Therefore it is not surprising that in 2020 the Manolo Blahniks gave way to New Balance, Ugg, Birkenstock, Crocs, and Nike. A few weeks ago, the latter introduced a particular model of hands-free Go FlyEase sneakers. The latest in a series of innovations in the FlyEase line, which debuted in 2015.
The heels that have been a symbol of sensuality and erotic attraction for decades have left room for new words: comfort and stability. Who knows what Caterina de’ Medici would think. It was she who first conceived them at the French court as she was petite in stature. It is said that her heels could reach 20cm in height. But don’t be fooled, it’s the look that matters. On the other hand, the Fratelli Rossetti lace-ups are for the actress and model Olivia Palermo, her strong point.
However, even as governments’ implementation of vaccination increases and some expect a return to their offices within the year, experts suggest that the pandemic has indeed altered shopper behavior. The demand for comfortable and welcoming products will continue well beyond the so-called Covid-19 era. The NPD Group found that fashion footwear sales fell by 27% during the year, while slipper revenues increased by 21% and clog sales increased by 33%. Let’s not forget that last week, Adidas brought back its Stan Smith slip-on sneakers/slippers.