Sales of women’s trainers in the UK have surpassed those of high heels for the first time, as the athleisure trend continues to gain greater traction in the fashion market.
A total of 37% of women who had bought footwear in the year to 31 May bought trainers, compared with 33% who bought high heels, a new report by Mintel indicates. In 2015, both categories were toe-to-toe at 35% each.
The popularity of heels is falling, as 59% of female shoppers prefer to wear flat shoes, compared with just 12% who prefer to wear high heels
Tamara Sender, senior fashion analyst at Mintel, said: “The UK sportswear market has seen strong growth in the last year and there has been a trend for consumers to integrate sports clothing into their daily wardrobes, meaning trainers have also become more popular among women, overtaking heels to become the second favourite item of footwear after flat shoes.
“Athletic footwear is increasingly being used for everyday, non-sporting activities, showing that trainers are now more likely to be used for non-sports use. Women aged 35 to 44 have become the main trainer buyers, proving the trend is no longer limited to younger consumers.”
UK footwear sales are expected to increase 5.4% in 2016 to £10.5bn, up from £10bn in 2015.
Sales are forecast to increase a further 25% over the next five years to reach £13.2bn by 2021.