There is no slowdown in sight for casual athletic trends.
As the weather shifts to warmer temperatures and people feel the need to opt for open-toe footwear styles, they will not ditch their sneakers altogether, experts say.
Here are three reasons athleisure could dominate spring trends.
The Rise of Active Lifestyles
Even if people toss their boots in the attic until next year in favor of colorful sandals, wedges and espadrilles, there is a good chance that casual sneakers (and other athletic styles) will make an appearance on their feet at some point during the day or week.
As more Americans jump onto the fitness bandwagon, their need for sneakers that are comfortable and practical rises in tandem. Many casual athletic styles can take them from their daily errands — and even their desk jobs — straight to the gym or other outdoor activities. Further, research on the casualization of American culture has shown that Americans and their employers are growing increasingly accepting of casual dress — meaning, on many days, a wardrobe change between fitness activities and work may not be necessary.
Fly in Any Weather
In recent years — case in point, last winter — Mother Nature has shown reckless disregard for the seasonality that we’ve come to expect. As temperatures continue to flip-flop inconsistently, transitional styles such as slip-ons by Vans and Sperry and casual athletic looks by Skechers USA Inc. are the go-to for many.
Spring weather is known for its share of rain showers, and other than rain boots, what category of shoes gets people in and out of the rain quickly while simultaneously protecting their feet from getting wet? You guessed it.
The NCAA Basketball Tournament
Experts say high-profile sporting events such March Madness make sneakers top of mind for consumers. What’s more, casual athletic styles are comfortable and easy to wear for those attending outdoor and indoor sporting events during the spring and into summer. They’re a perfect fit for maneuvering up and down bleachers and stands. And, with many brands ramping up their athleisure offerings, there are many stylish styles to choose from.
Citi Research analyst Corinna Van der Ghinst noted that she continues to see growth in the athletic footwear space, boosted by the momentum of an Olympic year, while she expects fashion footwear and other categories to continue to lag behind.
“We increased our 2016 athletic footwear forecast slightly to mid-single-digit to high-single-digit growth (from mid-single-digit growth previously) on continued year-to-date pipeline momentum from new innovation/technology and marketing excitement from major brands (typical of an Olympic year),” Van der Ghinst wrote. “We lowered our forecast for fashion footwear to mid-single digit growth (from high-single-digit growth previously) on increased caution in retailer open-to-buys and continued strength of the athleisure trend throughout 2016.”