You Aren’t Imagining Things: The Price of Shoes is Going Way Up

Leah Bourne
Manolo Blahnik - Presentation - Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Fall 2014

Photo: Getty

If you’ve gone shoe shopping lately, you might have faced some serious sticker shock when you turned over a few pairs to check the prices. Nope, you’re not imagining it—the price of shoes is rising like crazy.

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Quartz reported on a U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics report highlighting that while the average the price of clothes has dropped in the last year by 2 percent—including underwear, sweaters, and jewelry—shoes have only gotten more expensive.

According to the report, shoes have gone up an average of 2.8 percent in price. The explanation for the rise is increasing leather prices due to a cattle shortage in the U.S.

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And because the U.S. is actually the world’s largest producer of cattle, just ahead of Brazil, the rising price for American-produced leather has an impact that is much more far-reaching than just on American shoemakers.

This isn’t the first time we’ve been told that the price of shoes is skyrocketing. The New York Times alerted us to that fact in a 2013 piece which pointed to explanations ranging from the rising price of producing shoes in Europe to aspirational pricing by high-end designers like Christian Louboutin to Charlotte Olympia (translation: hot designers can get away with pricing their shoes so high because women are willing to pay for them).

The difference this time around is that the price of shoes appears to be climbing in all price categories—not just the super high-end.

Bottom line: We’d all be wise to take better care of the shoes we already own.