As back-to-office avatars turn casual, comfy sneaker sales pick up pace

As back-to-office avatars turn casual, comfy sneaker sales pick up pace
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  • The rise in popularity of casualwear amongst office-goers is pushing demand for sneakers.
  • Increasing incomes and love for an active lifestyle are also driving sales of sporting shoes.
  • Demand for sports shoe sales is a multi-decadal opportunity for Indian companies, say brokerages.
The era of ‘sensible shoes’ might be behind us, as sports shoes are picking up pace. As per brokerage reports, sports and athleisure sales can grow anywhere between 13-15% compounded annual growth rate for the next 8-11 years — as dressing styles evolve.

Sports and athleisure (S&A) footwear growth is structural, says Goldman Sachs. “Demand for the athleisure footwear segment is being driven by the rising acceptance for casual clothing at workplaces, a trend that started post-Covid,” says the Goldman Sachs report.

Moreover, sports shoes are designed with comfort like no other – and that’s what seems to be on the top of the minds of new-age consumers.

“The shift from formal shoes to sport shoes for day-to-day use is a trend that has gained traction in recent years. Sports shoes often feature cushioning, ergonomic designs, and materials that provide support and reduce fatigue. As people prioritize comfort in their daily lives, sports shoes have become a preferred choice over formal shoes,” says a report by SMIFS.

Another growth driver for these shoes is young Indians preferring a healthy and active lifestyle.


“The trend of adopting an active lifestyle, especially among youth and middle-aged consumers engaged in activities like running, gym workouts, tennis, cricket, badminton, football, trekking, etc., is contributing to the growth,” adds SIMIFS.

Building a sporting footwear zone

Indian as well as international players are getting ready for this ‘multi-decadal, double-digit’ growth opportunity. ‘Campus’ is currently the leader in the mass S&A segment, but there is rapid expansion amongst other players too.

Relaxo set-up capacity dedicated to sports shoes, and age-old footwear brand Bata launched Sneaker Studio at its stores and expanded its sports shoes collection. Metro Brands also acquired two leading global brands, FILA as well as Footlocker.

Yet another trend that aids the growth of these brands is that the market in general is gravitating towards ‘brands’. In the last ten years, the market share of unbranded as well as small brands in the footwear segment went down to 75% from 85% earlier.

“Rising per capita discretionary incomes are helping the S&A footwear category more than other footwear categories as more first-time consumers are coming into the category,” opines Goldman Sachs.

Apart from aiding higher unit sales, S&A has other reasons that make it a juicy opportunity. “The average selling price (ASP) of sports footwear is 75-150% higher than casual footwear which is creating significant growth potential for the overall footwear industry,” explains SMIFS.