“You make shoe contact before eye contact”, goes a famous saying. This statement often used in the West is increasingly becoming a mantra for Indians as well, especially the millennials. Gone are the days of one size fits all. Sneakers today have undergone a huge makeover, attracting both attention and investment in equal measure.
The athleisure trend has been a big reason for its rising popularity, pushing it beyond the gym and onto the streets. From fashion ramps to the workplace, shopping to movie dates, sneakers have become a part of our everyday walk. Piplsay tries to understand this new norm that seems to be literally taking the world of feet by storm.
Though brands like Nike and Reebok have been here for a while, it’s only in the last ten years that we have seen the rise of the sneaker culture. Be it India’s growing obsession with fitness or its seriousness about sports, sneakers today have gone from being a can-have to a must-have.
The seriousness about shoes can be gauged from the fact that over 8 out of 10 people invest in different shoes for their different needs
While marathons have popularised running shoes in the country, celebrities have turned sneakers into a cool fashion trend. Going by Piplsay research, those in the sporting hot belts of North and East seem to be most particular about their shoe types.
Run to the top
With it’s Just Do It attitude, Global giant Nike continues to be the most popular brand. And for more reasons than one.
Its association with the Indian Cricket team in itself is a huge push given the sport’s immense popularity. Besides, it has an enviable list of brand ambassadors, former and current, making it one of the most credible players. These include some big sporting names like Serena Williams, Cristiano Ronaldo, Michael Jordan and Virat Kohli.
German multinational Puma seems to be catching up as well, especially after skipper Kohli came on board last year in a whopping Rs 110 crore deal. While celebrities seem to be the least influencing factor for a majority of Piplsay respondents, their huge impact on brand recall and appeal is something that is simply undeniable.
With people willing to splurge on looks and comfort, brands today are constantly innovating to stay competitive. By making huge investments they are pushing the boundaries through revolutionary designs, materials or minute details. The fact that a huge percentage of Piplsay respondents spend between Rs 5000-10,000 on each pair of shoes shows the growing market for the same. East once again leads here with those in the age group of 24-34 spending the most on their pair of kicks.
The sneaker rush is also feeding a premium market where prices range from steep to sky high with few markdowns. Besides, brands also create a frenzy with their limited editions, set apart by their exclusive construction or celebrity collaboration.
Sneakers today have become more than just footwear. From fashion statement to personality extension and even an obsession, they are totally out there, running and kicking in style.