Could shoes overtake sneakers on resale?
Major aftermarket players report that sneakers reign supreme in resale, but they’re also seeing strong year-over-year growth for footwear and non-sneaker sales.
RealReal said sales of hard-bottomed shoes rose 46% year-over-year in the first quarter and outpaced sneaker sales growth over the same period. Loafers and boots are the hottest non-sneaker styles, while on eBay, sliders lead the way with a 70% increase in sales in March compared to February, followed by sandals up 54%, shoes flats up 44%, mules and heels up 30% each, and loafers up 20%.
Gucci led the way on The RealReal for men’s hard-bottomed shoes, followed by Ferragamo, which was up 51% year-over-year, the biggest increase among the six top-selling brands, and Tod’s, Prada, Louis Vuitton and Saint Laurent.
StockX’s non-sneaker assortment consists primarily of sliders and casual shoes from Crocs and Birkenstock. Crocs trading increased 430% year over year (2021 vs 2020) and Birkenstock trading increased 610% year over year (2021 vs 2020) ).
Additionally, Crocs broke into the top 10 most traded sneaker brands on StockX, and the top-performing Yeezy products on the platform are the Yeezy Slides and Foam Runners.
Sneakers have had a stranglehold on shoe resale, at least among men, for decades, but this movement behind non-sneaker shoes may be a sign that resellers and buyers are turning to the aftermarket for their shoes. .
“Sneakers are still dominant and make up the overwhelming majority of trades, but non-sneakers are growing faster than traditional shoe brands,” said Jesse Einhorn, senior economist at StockX. “The non-sneaker category is relatively small.”
RealReal can attest to that. He reported that sneaker sales from the first quarter of 2019 to the first quarter of 2022 increased by 174%, compared to an 80% increase for hard-bottomed shoes, and that sneaker unit sales were 55% higher than those of hard bottom shoes in the first quarter of 2022.
But what motivates this movement towards the other side of the shoe?
StockX’s Einhorn said, “During the pandemic, Crocs has exploded and it continues to be a great business. Even last year, growth accelerated. On the buyer side, there is more demand for casual shoes, but on the seller side, sellers are seizing economic opportunities and arbitrage opportunities that did not exist before.
Einhorn said Crocs had the highest price premium — listed on StockX at 100% above retail price — but was still affordable compared to resale prices for fashionable sneakers. “Crocs, slides and Foam Runners give sellers the chance to double, triple or quadruple their money depending on the colorway and the collaboration. presents an opportunity for sellers.
He added that Crocs, Birkenstocks and even Ugg, which have collaborated with Telfar on products, have benefited from the support on sales practices expected from sneaker releases, such as limited releases and collaborations to generate hype. .
Blackstock & Weber is an example of a shoe brand embracing the drop model, devoting Fridays to launching new individual styles. The brand recently introduced its Palomino II pony hair loafers, a sequel to its penny loafer in the same texture which is completely sold out. The original shoe was sold for $345 and resold on Grailed for $430.
“Any instance where non-sneaker brands make drops that mimic a sneaker drop, that type of product will have a life in the secondary market,” Einhorn said.
Tirath Kamdar, Managing Director of Luxury at eBay, said: “eBay’s annual trade report revealed that a key reason buyers buy second-hand goods is that what they are looking for is not what they are looking for. is not available in new condition on the primary market.
Among men, Alexander McQueen shoes were up 72% in February compared to February 2021 and Bottega Veneta shoes were up 71% over the same period. In women’s footwear, the increases were not as pronounced. Bottega Veneta shoes jumped 13% in January 2022 compared to January 2021, Balenciaga 12% and Hermès 9%.
“Consistent with the culture, we’re seeing this return to weddings and work culture evolving into a hybrid model of working from home and the office,” said Alex Tudela, editorial director of The RealReal men.
Tudela also mentioned brands like Rhude and Aimé Leon Dore for showing the maturation of streetwear and inspiring their consumers to expand their style with the brands. “Streetwear doesn’t have to be synonymous with hype or a sneaker-first aesthetic,” Tudela said. “There is a more prepper or formal approach to take and that includes footwear. Those sneaker shopping guys add loafers and boots as another option for an everyday fit.
Tudela started working with The RealReal at the start of the pandemic and said no one was buying costumes back then, but he saw the shift to costumes and adjacent styles. He also mentioned the menswear-centric Throwing Fits podcast for talking about “post-sneaker culture.”
“When [Alessandro Michele] joined Gucci and made this fur loafer, it was at a time when you saw a lot of white sneakers on the catwalks. There was a battle at the time,” Tudela said. “In menswear, these trends take a long time to kick in.”