The top-selling sneakers of 2018 so far is dominated by Nike and Jordan Brand, consisting of basketball and running silhouettes, according to NDP Group’s sports industry analyst Matt Powell.
While certain styles such as Yeezys and even designer models like Balenciaga's Triple S and Versace’s new Chain Reaction sneaker are more coveted, Business of Fashion has pointed out that high fashion brands have embraced the idea of sneakers as the gateway to a new generation of luxury consumers, by increasing the number of sneakers styles, diversifying price points and even moving manufacturing from Italy to China.
Notable figures in the industry share their opinion on the shift of selling sneakers to millennials, and here's a few key takeaways from BOF's exclusive story.
On the new approach of selling sneakers.
"Brands aren’t taking the old way of thinking and [instead] are pushing the envelope and moving away from the safe route of creating the same product in different [colours] for years," said Matt Cohen, vice president of business development and strategy at Goat Group.
On the rise of popularity of sneakers and designer renditions going mainstream.
"Sneakers aren’t a new product, it’s the customer who’s new... They’re looking for comfort, colour, technology and to be cool and elegant at the same time. To me it’s about mixing Manolo Blahnik with Nike," said David Tourniaire-Beauciel, design director of shoes at Balenciaga and creative director at Clergerie.
On brands having to up their game in order to stand out as the market has become more saturated.
"The derivative path is the one that they’re on now. Brands reworking somebody else’s ideas are in a precarious place, so there’s a need to really develop their own point of view," said NPD sports industry analyst Matt Powell.
Adding, "The next evolution that we’re working on is where the technology is less visible. It will come back to a nice shoe in terms of shape and volume where you won’t see the technology like memory foam and GPS hidden in the shoe. It will be an iPhone for your feet."
On constantly changing sneaker designs to stay on top of trends and drive demand.
"In regard to ramping up and increasing volume, moving production is pretty necessary. It doesn’t have to be China but those are definitely things that are being discussed as we evolve the business and keep up with consumer demand. For a sneaker to resonate with young shoppers, creating a wider range of innovative designs at different price points alone isn’t enough," said Salehe Bembury Versace’s head designer of sneakers.
Adding, "Now we have an entire consumer base looking at our brand from a new standpoint that Versace didn’t have in the past," Bembury said. "That’s the opportunity."
Furthermore, BOF point out that sneakers are the latest examples of luxury brands latching onto high-margin goods with broad appeal, just like handbags. Sneakers are cost-effective that can be worn on a wide range of occasions, they tend to sell at higher rates than ready-to-wear apparel, and drive more sales in store.
For the full story, head on over to Business of Fashion now.