Millennials in particular are driving this dramatic growth, spending $21 billion on footwear in 2014, a 6% increase from the year prior, with the biggest category being footwear over $100. Nike’s line of Jordan sneakers alone, which retail for around $100 to $200, boasted $2.6 billions in US sales in 2014, according to SportScanInfo. Sports shoes are “expected to have the largest market in terms of volume globally from 2014 to 2020,” according to pr news wire. transparency market research said it expects the global footwear market to reach $220.2 billion in value and 10.974 million units by 2020.
The frenzied sneaker culture began with a genius marketing idea that continues to create hype in the market today. Converse sneakers were released in 1917, but it was not until 1921, after basketball player Chuck Taylor made a few suggestions, that his name became associated with the now-classic shoe. Pioneering the celebrity endorsement, Converse set a marketing standard in the world of athletic footwear that continues today. Hip-hop hopped on the sneaker culture trend long ago too, as exemplified by Run-D.M.C.’s 1986 track “My Adidas.” These branding efforts have extended into personal identity, with consumers using sneakers to express themselves. Elizabeth Semmelhack, the curator of an exhibit called “The Rise of Sneaker Culture” at Toronto’s BATA Shoe Museum, found that “people find meaning in sneakers, so their choices are driven by brand identity.”