The phrase “sensible shoes”—at least in the fashion space—isn’t a favorite. In fact, it usually calls to mind footwear that either serves orthopedic functions, or shoes that are just, well, not very cute. It looks like that could be changing, as Bloomberg Businessweek is reporting that comfortable, menswear-inspired dress shoes are fetching prices more typical of high-fashion stilettos at retailers such as Saks and Barneys—and it’s helping these stores boost sales in an area where growth was struggling.
According to the report, a chilly spring and a general lack in non-essential spending resulting in shelves full of sandals, but incorporating men’s styles helps women’s luxury shoe designers drive sales by broadening out their narrow collections, said Roseanne Morrison, fashion director at trend forecaster Doneger Group.
“How many designer shoes with six-inch spikes does a store sell to a customer?” Morrison said. “Maybe one a season. The girl usually picks out that one shoe that she wants to wear with a special dress. When you have a wider range of shoes, it opens a wider opportunity for multiple sales.”
It’s worth mentioning that—since early 2013—we’ve seen a shift in comfort levels when it comes to footwear, as the fashion industry seemed to have decided that it’s had enough of teetering. That’s why you may have noticed that pretty much every retailer from Zara to Barneys has been pushing things like velvet loafers, pointy brogues, and slip-on sneakers, and women have been embracing them—even for dressy occasions—so it makes perfect sense that flats are are selling, though it’s pretty ironic that it’s the “sensible shoe” that’s carrying the luxury footwear industry right now.
Head over to Bloomberg Businessweek now to read the whole story, and—in the meantime—shop the above selection of 11 pairs of menswear-inspired shoes!