High-heels dying out as women turn to comfy trainers

Mandy Harrison European Fashions, designer accessories, scarves, handbags, purses, and fashion jewellery

HIGH-HEELS WERE ONCE considered a symbol of elegance and an essential wardrobe staple for the well-dressed woman, but new data reveals they are dying out, as sales of heels have been eclipsed by trainers for the first time.

Data from consumer analyst Mintel, shows more British women have purchased trainers more than high-heeled shoes for the first time ever over the past year. It comes amid a major backlash against high-heels as experts warn they cause health problems.

Celebrities including Victoria Beckham have also hung up their high-heels this year, with the British style icon switching her famous sky-high Christian Louboutin stilettos for trainers, over back pain issues caused by years of wearing towering shoes.

Some 37% of British women who have bought footwear in the last year purchased a pair of trainers, while just 33% bought shoes with a heel. For 2015, the proportions of footwear purchased was equal in both footwear categories.

And the data shows that the popularity of heels is falling flat in general, as 59% of female shoppers prefer to wear flat shoes, compared to only 12% who expressed a preference for high-heeled shoes.

Tamara Sender, a senior fashion analyst at Mintel, said “For the first time ever sales of trainers have overtaken high-heels“.

“The UK sportswear market has seen strong growth in the last year and there has been a trend for consumers to integrate casual sports clothing into their daily wardrobes, meaning trainers have also become more popular among women, overtaking heels to become the second favourite item of footwear after flat shoes”.

“Athletic footwear is increasingly being used for everyday non-sporting activities showing that trainers are now more likely to be used for non-sports use. Women aged 35 to 44 have become the main trainer buyers proving the trend is no longer limited to younger consumers.”

John Saunders, chief executive of the British Footwear Association, said “There is a trend in the market where ladies have discovered that heels aren’t the be all end all of their lives. They have got to the point where lifestyle and activity is important, for example people commuting are more likely to wear trainers“.

“In the City of London there is still a degree of power dressing, but generally in workplaces it is now more acceptable not to wear high-heels“.

by Mandy Harrison

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