Flats are making a flutter in the shoe market

Flat shoes are in! The trend caught on ever since Helmut Long sent his models down the ramp in shower shoes during Fashion Week last year.

They were seen again when designers like Tibi, Edun, Sino, Band of Outsiders, VpL, Derek Lam and Helmut Long decided to skip the traditional catwalk norm of high heels and go in for trainers, brogues and pumps.

Flat shoes

Fit is in: The demographics

3/5 or 60% of women polled stated that they have bought at least one pair of  flats last year. The poll also revealed interesting demographics – women under 35 preferred fit for fashion where is women above 55 preferred comfort and fit. This has opened up the multi-billion dollar shoe market to flats with a very sizeable target audience of women above 45.

This is not to say that the target audience is the mature demographic – younger celebrities like Rihanna (remember her recent pink-satin-nightwear with casual reverse trainers?) and Miley Cyrus are set to woo in the younger crowd to wearing flats.

Business deals: Going flat out

There has been hectic activity in the arena of shoe business. The share of the pie for flats has suddenly gone up and business houses are busy wheeling and dealing to get a hold of the market share. The Grigg’s family venture Dr Martens has been sold to Permira for £300. Hotter has changed hands for £200. The Soon brand has been taken over by Ken Battle and Peter Phillips.

This hectic activity makes sense because of the greater demand for flats – Hotter sold 2 million pairs of flats last year amounting to £75 m. In the US women spent $5.2 billion on flats (up 3.5% from 2012). The high heel market had dropped by a whopping 6% during the same period.

Heels: Falling flat

Emma Thompson climbed the stage at the Golden Globes with her Christian Louboutin’s in hand, barefoot! She said that her red soles were “soaked in blood”, and that heels were “painful and pointless”. Seems like the fashion world has heard her loud and clear!

 
 
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