Shoe Fit

Did COVID19 Change Shoe Comfort Expectations?

July 14, 2021

Shoes did not get more comfortable during the COVID19 pandemic. Your customer’s perception of what is comfortable did change. Brands that quickly adapted to this change in customer comfort are positioned to thrive. Here’s three things that you need to know about shoe comfort post-pandemic.

– Socks? We Don’t Need Socks!

While the trend of going sockless or wearing no show socks started well before 2020, staying at home greatly increased the number of people not wearing socks. Much of this is because of the footwear they were wearing at home—sandals, slippers, or just going barefoot! Socks became an added hassle, an unnecessary step, and one more piece of laundry that people just didn’t care about. Do socks impact comfort—YES! Socks are the hottest part of a shoe (you have read this on Heeluxe’s Better Shoes Blog before) and not wearing a sock makes any shoe looser, which is MORE COMFORTABLE! There are downsides to not wearing socks (smell, hygiene, looks) that will reduce this trend as we stop working from home, but your customer will still crave that cool temp and loose fit that sockless shoe wearing provides.

-Slip Into Something

Most of your customers aren’t lacing up their boots to sit on the couch. In fact, sales of lace-less shoes have grown in the past year as your customers wanted something that is easy to take on and off. Slipper and Ugg boot sales exploded! Take notice—this easy access approach to footwear is linked to comfort and something your customers won’t want to give up! Not every shoe needs to be a slip on though. Now is a great time to explore different ways to secure the foot in a shoe—elastic laces, cable and dial closures, or a stretch gore panel used in creative ways.

-Fashion is dead. All hail Fashion

This is the biggest challenge in the post-Covid shoe world. Your customers are used to wearing shoes that are stretchy, easy to slip on, light weight, and very cushioned. Typical fashion shoes—pumps, oxfords, booties, wingtips, loafers, ballet flats, etc—may check only one of these boxes, if any. Now that your customer is used to a more comfortable and more casual shoe, you need to work with those expectations and change the expectations of fashion. And this doesn’t mean discarding all of the typical fashion designs and only making sneakers. Fashion styles are still important for work, special occasions, or even going out. It’s up to us to make fashion better. Let’s change the expectations of fit, comfort, cushioning, and even how the customer puts on their ‘dress’ shoes. Not only will this make your customers comfortable, it will also provide you with great new stories to tell them online.

What to get comfortable? Let’s talk about it after you email