Conversely, sky-high heels — shoes with heels three inches or higher — are tumbling the fastest, Goldstein said, as consumers gravitate toward one pair of shoes that can be worn both day and night. Even for dressier occasions, more sensible heels are increasingly popular, the analyst said.
But it’s not for a lack of choices in the shoe department. Retail inventory of high heels has risen 28 percent in 2017, compared with the year before, according to Edited, a market research firm.
“I don’t think it’s so much of a rejection in high heels as much as it is that there are many alternatives,” said Gerald Storch, CEO of Storch Advisors, a retail advisory firm. He said women are actually buying more shoes — just across different categories.
“Women still wear high heels for for fancy events,” Storch said, who has also served as vice chairman of Target. In fact, the boom in sensible shoes has become a way for consumers to express their personalities, he added.
“You can show masculinity, you can show femininity,” he said. “You don’t simply have to take a different color of a high heel shoe.”