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Shoes Consumer Insights

Laceless Athletics
Sneaker brands remove laces to prioritize a secure fit and improved comfort
Implications - For athletes, shoelaces can prove to be a tripping hazard and can inhibit their performance. Laceless sneakers use compression systems to securely wrap around the foot while offering greater flexibility and movement than traditional sneakers. Such design changes, though subtle, can help to improve performance while reducing the risk of injury and discomfort. These products highlight how brands are seeking to improve the functionality of the sneaker without sacrificing a modern design.
Workshop Question — Consider how a seemingly subtle design change could improve the performance of your brand’s product.
6.6
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Hiking Opulence
Luxury brands reimagine sport sandals by converging styles and upscaling materials
Implications -Tapping into the persistent obsession with 1990's fashion motifs, upscale brands are designing new takes on sports sandals made from high-performance materials and that take inspiration from high-end sneakers. Seemingly a natural progression of fashion's recent dalliances in athletic footwear designed to endure specific activities, this shift speaks to the all-encompassing nature of nostalgia-driven dress and the new expectation that such pieces live up to the hardiness of their design inspirations.
Workshop Question — What 90's design motifs can you borrow from in order to entice nostalgia-minded consumers?
7.6
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Post-Ironic Clog
Lucrative Crocs collaborations amplify the obsession with "ugly" footwear
Implications - Once considered a pariah in the world of footwear, the Crocs brand has reemerged as a benefactor of fashion's current fascination with the unsightly, exemplified in a stream of successful collaborations with streetwear brands and influencers alike. This shift speaks to the reflexive nature of fashion trends and highlights the ability of industry tastemakers to inspire the upending of seemingly steadfast norms in terms of taste and design in the aftermath of the normcore revolution.
Workshop Question — How can you take advantage of the current fascination with hyper-normal apparel in a way that highlights the cyclical nature of fashion?
5.4
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Foodie Footwear
Sneaker brands turn to popular food items for colorway inspirations
Implications - With the recent rise in food brands merging into the fashion space with branded apparel, sneaker brands are drawing on well-liked indulgent foods for colorway designs. Such items highlight how brands are leveraging growing products from other categories for ideas that tap into the consumer interest of novelty seen among Millennials and Gen Z.
Workshop Question — Consider how your brand could leverage the popularity of a product from another industry to draw the interest of consumers.
6.8
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Cause-Oriented Footwear
Sneaker brands use their product to raise awareness for important causes
Implications - In recent times there has been an increase in the number of brands taking stances on various issues and leveraging their platform to increase awareness of the causes and campaigns they stand behind -- and the footwear industry is no exception. With the resurgence of sneakerhead culture in recent years, brands are combining that passion with a focus on activism. Such products highlight the progression of brands’ corporate social responsibility initiatives, which better align with the rising shift of activism among younger consumers.
Workshop Question — If your brand were to launch a product or campaign to raise awareness of a cause, what cause would your brand select?
6.5
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Luxe High-Performance
High fashion sneakers evolve from mere aesthetics to high-function
Implications - Upscale fashion brands are beginning to expand sneaker offerings with new high-performance designs incorporating rugged materials and professional features. This advancement speaks to the continued fascination with athletic motifs by all manner of fashion brands and the new expectation around the ability of a piece outside of mere aesthetics.
Workshop Question — How can a product offering more closely associated with style-motivated purchases be redesigned with a new emphasis on high-performance?
6.9
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Fiery Motif
Tastemakers favor graphical statement pieces enveloped in flames
Implications - Proving that once ironic imagery can quickly lend itself to serious fashion moments, high-end brands are elevating emoji-esque flame graphics in all kinds of apparel and accessories. Championed by tastemakers, the success of the nostalgic motif hints at the recent pattern of high-brow fashion taking itself less seriously by devouring whole decidedly mundane themes in an elevated manner.
Workshop Question — What nostalgic design motif can you repurpose into your product's design in order to communicate a certain level of self-awareness?
5.5
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Threadbare Rebellion
Self-aware designers spurn luxury norms with pre-distressed sneakers
Implications - In a memorable subversion of contemporary symbols of wealth and status, cult designers are increasingly creating pre-soiled sneakers that highlight the prevailing interest in reworking and embracing low-cost staples. In actively rejecting a steadfast sentiment associated with luxury fashion and sneaker culture in general, this progression speaks to the industry's insistence on appropriating even the most mundane elements of everyday fashion and the quiet pursuit of youthful rebellion that informs it.
Workshop Question — What elements of your product design can be reimagined to reflect an innocent desire for youthful rebellion?
5.8
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Organic Sneaker
Athletic shoes are being produced with sustainable materials
Implications - Big brands in the athletic industry are looking to sustainable materials in order to better align with the needs of the environment, rather than with the demands of the fast fashion industry alone. By producing recyclable, upcycled or biodegradable sneakers, these brands are able to better appeal to consumers – not just in regards to style, but in their commitment to a greater cause – aligning with consumers' purpose-motivated purchase decisions.
Workshop Question — How can your brand insert charitable or eco-related initiatives into its products/services?
5.5
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends
Specified Sneaker
Hyper-niche shoe options appeal to consumers with performance-based needs
Implications - Shoes have long been custom-designed to suit the rigors of highly popular sports, but as the sneaker market continues to crowd, brands are mining increasingly niche activities and interests that have not previously been served by incumbents. In light of markets in which it's nearly impossible for upstarts to succeed as generalists, products that recognize and play to consumers' hyper-specific particularities can grab attention more strongly than those that appeal to more general, wide-spanning interests.
Workshop Question — Identify a hyper-niche interest that appeals to a portion of your consumer base. How could you incorporate that into your brand's offering?
7.5
Score
Popularity
Activity
Freshness
Patterns
Megatrends