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Decision 2016 – Boots Edition

Jan 11, 2016
Beth Goldstein, Executive Director, Industry Analyst ;

Even if you remain undecided in terms of which presidential candidate to back, I’m sure by now you’ve taken a stand on one of the key issues on the trail that has recently emerged – Marco Rubio’s boots.

Last week, The New York Times reported on the “surprising focus on Senator Marco Rubio’s shiny, stack-heeled ankle boots.” Other candidates weighed in via Twitter. Senator Ted Cruz’s communications director posted “A Vote for Marco Rubio Is a Vote for Men’s High-Heeled Booties.” Carly Fiorina posted a photo of her own high-heeled boots and the comment “Yeah, @marcorubio, but can you rock these?” The media weighed in as well, trying to guess the brand and comparing Rubio to musicians and other celebrities.*

Rubio’s campaign shared that the boots are from Florsheim, likely the Duke style that has a retail price of a relatively modest $135. And it turns out that he’s right on trend. According to NPD’s Retail Tracking Service, for the fall retail season so far (August-November ’15), men’s fashion boots grew 6 percent vs. the prior year, compared to the total men’s fashion footwear market which increased 4 percent. This growth was driven by ankle-height shaft styles, like Senator Rubio’s.

However the fuss is not really about the shaft height of Senator Rubio’s boots, it’s about the height of the heels. At 1.75 inches high, I wouldn’t exactly call these “high-heeled” – I don’t think any woman that is used to struggling with four inch heels would. Yes, they are taller than what we typically expect to see on a man. And at 5’10”, Rubio is among the shortest of the presidential candidates, so I don’t blame him for wanting to pick up a couple of inches. At 5’1”, I’ve certainly been there.

What do you think about the boots?

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service
*Source: The New York Times, Marco Rubio’s Shiny Boots Stir Up the Presidential Race, January 7, 2016