Why Designer Shoes Are So Expensive

The Debrief

Jan 4 2023 • 27 mins

A new BoF Insights report tracks the evolution of the fast-growing high-end footwear market — and why luxury shoppers are willing to spend more than ever on the perfect shoe.


Luxury footwear is booming as consumers opt to spend more than ever on shoes with soaring prices. The market for designer shoes is set to grow to $40 billion by 2027, up from $31 billion in 2022, according to Euromonitor International. As consumer demand grows, competition is heating up for brands from Manolo Blahnik and Christian Louboutin to Chanel and Prada who stake much of their businesses on the core segment. The market is much-changed: shoppers crave comfort, but also newness and uniqueness. They also have more choices than ever: cowboy boots, Mary Janes, stilettos and mules have been trending recently.

“There was this vibe shift occurring post-pandemic. The shoes that consumers want today look and feel very different from what they had before,” said Diana Lee, BoF’s director of research and analysis, on the heels of publishing BoF Insights’ latest report “The Statement Shoe: Reimagining Designer Footwear.”

Key Insights:

  • The footwear category is poised for growth this year: 84 percent of consumers surveyed across the UK, US and China told BoF Insights they were planning on investing in footwear in the coming year. At the same time, prices for women’s footwear have increased 10 percent from 2019.
  • Shoes have gotten more expensive, partially, thanks to streetwear’s hype cycle, which has conditioned consumers to shell out for limited edition items. Of course, inflation and rising costs across the supply chain have contributed to increases.
  • Much about the footwear market has changed. Mass trends toward casualisation have led consumers to seek out comfort, primarily, when buying shoes.
  • Still, high heels are performing well following the return of in-person events. And, the high heel space has seen a sort of reinvention as brands opt for designs that grab consumers attention — like Loewe’s eggshell and balloon designs. Meanwhile, newcomers like Amina Muaddi are stealing share.

Additional resources:

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