Decoding luxury footwear

As sneakers fizzle, what’s next for luxury brands?

Key takeaways

  • Sneakers have been experiencing a slowdown across all markets but are still making up the majority of luxury brands footwear assortment.
  • Formalwear does not fail to make its mark, as loafers and high heel sandals are becoming ever more prominent, and it clearly shows in luxury brands’ pricing strategies.
  • Luxury fashion is essentially cheaper across the European market, this holds as well for men’s footwear.  

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Footwear has become designer brands’ power category as it has been able to build brand identity. Euromonitor International estimates that the luxury footwear sector will generate $40 billion by 2027, which is 29% more than in 2022. As consumer demand grows, Retviews demonstrates that retailers are expanding their footwear assortment by 12% YoY. 


The end of the sneaker era?

Once the biggest footwear category for brands and retailers, the sneaker trend seems to be running out of steam. Jordan 1s that formerly were the holy grail are now sold below their original retail value on the resale market, showing that consumers are not as euphoric about the trend as before. Retviews data show that luxury retailers are pulling back on delivering trainers. Analyzing new arrivals over a three-month period with Retviews, has shown a significant 33% decrease in the share of sneakers between 2021 and 2022. Who are they making space for?

Retviews Luxury Footwear Article Fashion Assortment Designer Shoes Trainers Sneakers Womenswear Menswear

One main difference between menswear and womenswear is the share of sneakers in their assortment. Retviews’ data show that leading luxury brands put a stronger focus on men’s trainers, which make up 48% of their assortments. This is partially due to brands like Gucci and Prada tapping into streetwear and offering a more extensive assortment of sneakers. Despite the continued prominence of sneakers in luxury footwear, Retviews data clearly show that the shoe’s presence in collections is slowly decreasing to make room for loafers and high heels.

Retviews data show the formalization phenomenon of men’s footwear, as loafers stand out among leading menswear styles. Loafers were introduced on runways back in 2021 and the trend doesn’t seem to be fading away. They have confirmed themselves as the footwear go-to both in menswear and womenswear. The luxury market (with brands such as Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Ferragamo) has increased the preppy shoe’s assortment share, by 12% YoY, for Fall/Winter 2022 collections.

As in-person events and special occasions return to pre-pandemic levels, heeled shoes are very much on the rise with high heel sandals and pumps accounting for 34% of the overall women’s share of assortment, thus surpassing the leading sneaker category. High heel sandals have become increasingly present in brand collections, their assortment share increased by 25% YoY.


The sneaker frenzy

Thanks to the elevation of streetwear, luxury brands hopped on the sneaker bandwagon by collaborating with reference sports brands like Adidas and Nike. From Dior’s Air Jordan 1 and Prada’s Adidas Superstar to the Nike x Jacquemus Air Humara, although decreasing, sneakers still represent luxury brands’ strongest footwear category.

Retviews Luxury Footwear Article Fashion Pricing Structure Average Price Minimum Price Maximum Price Most Frequent Price Celine Gucci Prada Louis Vuitton Designer Shoes Trainers Sneakers Womenswear Menswear

Diving into Retviews’ real-time data and looking into leading brands’ pricing strategies for sneakers within the US market showcases that Celine’s sneaker pricing remains on the lower end of the luxury brand pricing spectrum, as all its price indicators are significantly lower than that of leading high-end retailers Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Prada. Luxury retailers stand at various entry-level prices. This is namely the case for Louis Vuitton and Celine, the former of which has a 59% higher entry price. Gucci, however, maintains a lower average and most frequent price than its competitors in the sneaker category, standing below the $1000 mark.  


Putting a price on luxury formalwear

Considering that loafers have become one of the most popular categories for men’s footwear, nailing your assortment and pricing strategies for the category is essential. How does the popular shoe’s pricing structure compare to that of sneakers in leading brands’ assortments?

Retviews Luxury Footwear Article Fashion Pricing Structure Comparaison Average Price Minimum Price Maximum Price Ferragamo Prada Designer Shoes Trainers Sneakers Loafers Formalwear Menswear

Looking at the pricing structures for sneakers compared to men’s loafers, Prada’s entry-level price for the preppy shoe is 22% higher than that of sneakers. Italian luxury brand Ferragamo’s strategy is to heavily focus on footwear, making up 25% of its current assortment, only smaller than its accessories collection. Retviews data show that Ferragamo sneakers are priced, on average 23% less than their loafers. This phenomenon of higher-end pricing for formal footwear could amp up luxury brands’ exclusivity factor, as entry-level prices move up the market. Luxury brands have been able to broaden their customer base by keeping entry-level prices low and catering to aspirational consumers. So, what does this imply for aspirational shoppers? Will they say goodbye to luxury footwear as more expensive categories are set to take the lead?

Retviews Luxury Footwear Article Fashion Price Evolution Prada Cloudbust Thunder Sneakers Designer Shoes Trainers Sneakers Womenswear

Regarding womenswear in the US market, Retviews data show that Prada increased prices on its Cloudbust Thunder Sneakers twice between 2022 and 2023, today reaching 1200$, with an overall 5% price increase YoY.

Retviews Luxury Footwear Article Fashion Price Evolution Prada Brushed Leather Slingback Pumps Designer Shoes High Heels Pumps Formalwear Womenswear

Price increases were significantly more prominent for formal footwear. Prada’s Brushed Leather Slingback Pumps saw their value climb by 23% throughout 2022. As prices increase consistently within the luxury sector, Prada is putting a stronger focus on trendy formal footwear, increasing its prices more than for its casual counterpart.  


Tackling international pricing

Although China and the UK are among the largest markets for luxury footwear, the US takes a strong lead, making up 40% of the industry’s share. Considering the global factor of luxury fashion, getting the right pricing strategy across international markets is key. Retviews allows brands to deep dive into their competitors’ strategies in order to see where they stand and optimize their own positioning.

Retviews Luxury Footwear Article Fashion International Pricing Analysis Comparaison Average Price Bottega Veneta Ferragamo Louis Vuitton Prada Designer Shoes Europe China Japan UK US  Menswear

Retviews’ data indicate that high-end luxury players maintain significantly higher price points in China for their men’s footwear offering. Louis Vuitton’s China prices are nearly double of those in its base European market, whereas Bottega Veneta’s men’s footwear is only 14% more expensive in China. As stated by high-earning Chinese consumers, Louis Vuitton, Prada, and Salvatore Ferragamo are among their top 10 favorite footwear brands. This coincides with their significantly higher prices in the Chinese market, so could this be the strategic move to opt for, for leading luxury players? How will this strategy play out with easing COVID restrictions in China? With access to Retviews’ real-time data, your brand can pinpoint the ideal positioning for your collection, on an international scale.


Undertaking the luxurious footwear

Considering the forecast growth of footwear in coming years, targeting the right assortment of footwear, at the right price, is crucial. Tackling the industry with a more formal offering is the latest trend that has been shaping the luxury footwear market. See how Retviews, the competitive intelligence platform for fashion can help you optimize your collections, get the right pricing strategies, and help you stay ahead of the curve. Get real-time data and make AI-powered, data-backed decisions with Retviews.

Use the Retviews platform to benchmark your offer against your competitors