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High Heels Could Make a Comeback in 2021 — Here’s Why

Despite disruption in retail this year and trends leaning towards comfort, luxury items fared well this holiday season, according to online resale site Tradesy.

The company said formal styles from Christian Louboutin are up 67% year over year, for instance, while Louis Vuitton, Hermès and Gucci have been strong. The spike comes as surprise as casual and cozy shoe styles are ruling the market this holiday.

Tradesy CEO and founder Tracy DiNunzio credits the uptick in heels to consumer optimism. She told FN, “We saw an increase in sales of glamorous, heeled shoes that began when news of pending vaccine approvals began to dominate the headlines in late November. That was also when our customers really dove into holiday shopping.” She is anticipating a huge comeback for heels of all kinds in 2021.

“Early on in the pandemic, I talked to a lot of our customers who said that shopping had become an exercise in hope for them while in lockdown. People were home with no real immediate need for a pair of party shoes or heeled booties, but were shopping optimistically, imagining the outfits they’ll want to wear when the world reopens. I think we’re seeing that behavior accelerate now that the reality of reopenings is close,” DiNunzio added.

In addition, luxury boots, flats and sneakers also saw an increase in sales at Tradesy. Valentino flats and sneaker sales more than doubled this holiday while Saint Laurent boots  saw a 36% spike year over year, which is credited to the work-from-home movement and that many companies will continue to do so in 2021. Handbags and watches have also seen increased demand and growth.

What sets resale apart from traditional retail is investment potential and accessible pricing. DiNunzio explained that even though the economic environment has shifted, consumers are keen on quality and product that is long lasting.

“Newly popular luxury players like Loewe, By Far, Khaite, Paris Texas and The Row have also seen growth during this time,” she said. “Our customers are focused on investment pieces with impeccable craftsmanship that can be the foundation of their wardrobe for decades to come, but that can also serve as good investments to wear now and sell later on without incurring a loss.”

DiNunzio added that growth will continue for the resale market in 2021 as value and environmental consciousness will remain top of mind for consumers coming out of the pandemic.

And for now, comfort is still key for every brand.

According to Beth Goldstein, executive director and accessories and footwear industry analyst at The NPD Group, footwear can make up some lost ground this holiday with sales from the comfort category. She also expects slippers — which grew more than 50% in year-to-August sales — to stay strong, adding that the holidays are “already the biggest time of the year” for the category, “and this year it will be even bigger.”

 

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