London - The high heel was once seen as the staple shoe in any respectable woman's wardrobe. Elegant, sophisticated and sensual, the emergence of popular TV shows such as 'Sex and the City' encouraged women across the globe to embrace their inner Carrie by purchasing a pair, or two,(or three) of stiletto Jimmy Choo's.
But the tide has changed, as new data shows that women's preference for the high heel is fading as more and more opt for the more comfortable and trendy trainer. In fact, for the first time in history, sales of trainers have eclipsed those of high heels, according to new data from retail analyst firm Mintel. British women has spent more on trainers over high heels over the last year, as flat footwear because more acceptable in the workplace and experts warn of the long-term damage high heeled footwear can cause.
Sales of trainers surpass high heel sales in the UK for the first time
The rise of athleisure and activewear has also undoubtedly helped the trainer boom, with sportswear brands such as Nike and adidas catering to this increasing interest in trainers by revamping old styles and offering trainers which are suitable for work and the gym. Celebrity endorsements and influencers preference for the 'it' trainers of the moment has also helped shaped the current perception of the trainer. For example, designer Victoria Beckham, who was previously only ever seen in Christian Louboutin heels, was spotted wearing trainers and flat sandals on the go during London Fashion Week.
Overall, 37 percent of female footwear customers purchases a pair of trainers over the last year, compared to 33 percent who bought a pair of high heels. In 2015, trainers and high heels sales were levelled, with 35 percent of women purchasing either footwear styles. "For the first time ever sales of trainers have overtaken high heels," said Tamara Sender, senior fashion analyst at Mintel.
"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."
Surprisingly, it is not Millennials who are leading the trainer trend, as 48 percent of women aged between 35 and 44 said they had purchased trainers this year, against 30 percent who purchased heels. However, the love of high heels in general has decline, as 59 percent of all age groups revealed they prefered to wear flat and comfier shoes in comparison to 12 percent of women who said they would rather wear heels. Women's flat boots and flat sandals were also popular purchases in 2016, with 30 percent and 25 percent respectively buying a pair.