Sales of High Heels Dropped 17% in 2017

Christian Louboutin shoes (Knowledge @ Wharton High School)

Christian Louboutin shoes (Knowledge @ Wharton High School)

Analysts have been sounding the alarm bell about the death of retail for a few years now. A few categories are also shifting. Among them are various trends in womenswear. Right now, one major category is getting shaken up: women’s shoes.

Market research firm NPD Group found that sales of high heels dropped 17% in 2017. The women’s footwear category then saw a substitute effect: Sales of women’s sneakers jumped 37% within the same time period.

There are a few reasons at play here: One is that the office is getting more casual, and it’s more acceptable for women to wear flats to work. Another is that sneakers are also having a moment in casual wear. An overarching reason is that women are claiming what they want to wear, and not bending to society’s expectations.

We can’t yet say if this will be a trend for retailers, or the beginning of a larger shift. It may be time to find out how men respond to flats and sneakers in terms of attraction.


How Do High Heels Affect Men?

High heels (Quora)

High heels (Quora)

Happy Friday! Ladies, here’s something consider when you go out this weekend: A recent study finds that women wearing high heels had a significant effect on men. We know you’ve suspected it for awhile, but now we have hard proof (empirically speaking, of course).

French researcher Nicolas Geughan used a set of four experiments using young women. He controlled for other sartorial factors by dressing them in the same outfit: black skirt and blazer with white shirt. He also used three different heel heights: flat, medium (5 cm.) and tall (9 cm.).

First, the women were sent to ask pedestrians (both men and women) to participate in surveying and for restaurant suggestions. The higher the heel, the more willing a male pedestrian was willing to help: The women wearing the high heels garnered an 82-83% response rate, while the women wearing flats received only a 42-47% response rate.

Next, pedestrians were asked to respond to a dropped glove by women wearing various heel heights. Men responded to women wearing high heels 93% of the time, compared to responding 62% of the time to women wearing flats.

It’s interesting to note that within both these experiments, female pedestrians weren’t affected by the height of another woman’s heels. They actually responded less than the men in both situations: 30-36% for the surveys, and 43-52% for the dropped glove.

Geughan also measured the effect high heels had on men when approaching women in a bar. Women wearing high heels were approached by men eight minutes after entering. By contrast, women wearing flats got approached 14 minutes after entering the bar.

Ladies, with great power comes great responsibility. Use it wisely this weekend–and your whole lives.