Functional Footwear Positioned To End 2014 On the Right Foot

Work/Occupational/Safety and Outdoor Footwear Categories Experiencing Strong Growth Over the Past Year

Port Washington, NY, December 15, 2014 – The term fashion (non-athletic) footwear may bring ladies pumps and men’s oxfords to mind, but it is the Work/Occupational/Safety and Outdoor categories that have experienced significant growth so far this year (Jan’14 – Oct’14), according to global information company The NPD Group.

Despite the fact that the overall U.S. fashion footwear market dipped slightly during this time, total dollar sales for Work/Occupational/Safety footwear reached $1.8 billion and grew 14 percent, while Outdoor grew by 7 percent, reaching $2.9 billion, compared to the prior year. 

“While it may not be prominent on the fashion runways, work-related footwear, being both practical and increasingly comfortable, is the shoe of choice for many, everyday Americans,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “A key factor for working consumers is having the proper tools of their trade, and footwear is often viewed as another piece of equipment to do their job. Although the need is there, this footwear market is often overlooked. This presents an opportunity for development, and more retailers and manufacturers should be paying attention.”

With temperatures dropping, Outdoor boots have also been faring well overall. Cold Weather Casual Boots and Winter/Snow Boots experienced double-digit growth, while Hunting/Fishing Boots grew 3 percent.

“Outdoor continues to be a hot category in footwear, and one that has become smarter in terms of design, fabrics, practicality, and putting all these features together to create something desirable. This is a win-win because it targets consumers who seek footwear that’s tailored to their needs, as well as those who take comfort in the fact that their footwear makes a statement and has more unique capabilities, should they need them or not. I expect that Outdoor will continue at this healthy pace into 2015, as will Work/Occupational/Safety, which will grow more so if it follows in Outdoors’ footsteps.”

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