NPD Highlights: Outdoor Footwear Market Experiences Big Uptick in Sales

Taking a hike may be getting more popular these days. Outdoor footwear dollar sales grew 17 percent in the 12 months ending June 2015 (Jul’14-Jun’15), a big leap from the market’s 1 percent growth the previous year, according to The NPD Group

“Consumers today are looking for products that reflect their values. They want products that are versatile and yet authentic. For outdoor footwear brands to succeed today, it’s critical for their products to strike this balance,” said Matt Powell, sports industry analyst, The NPD Group. “Many consumers, especially millennials, are not looking for the ‘one and only’ product, but rather for products that are ‘good enough’ for their needs and have multiple applications. It will be interesting to see what products manufacturers will showcase during the upcoming Outdoor Retailer Summer Market show, and how they emphasize these consumer values.” 

Hiking/lite hiking and cold/all-weather boots, which together comprise three-quarters of the market, both experienced a healthy lift in sales. Hiking/lite hiking grew 22 percent after a flat performance the previous year, while the growth in cold/all-weather boots more than doubled, by 17 percent.

The top five outdoor footwear brands overall were Merrell, Keen, Nike, Vasque, and Salomon. While this landscape mirrors the men’s market, other brands including Sorel and Timberland landed in the top five within the women’s and children’s markets, respectively.

“It’s always about fashion,” added Powell. “While men lean towards outdoor footwear with an urban focus, women seek stylish and feminine, and the kids market is more function driven. These wants and needs are important for brands and retailers to keep in mind as they determine how to position and market their outdoor footwear products.”

Source: The NPD Group, Inc. / Retail Tracking Service, 12 months ending June 2015

Data is collected from the athletic specialty and sporting goods channel

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