The NPD Group reported total U.S. performance footwear sales grew 15  percent in the third quarter while leisure footwear sales climbed at a slightly lower rate. Fashion footwear sales continued to underperform, decreasing high-single-digits.

The 15 percent gain in performance footwear marked a slow down from the 31 percent jump seen in the second quarter. Leisure footwear sales were up 11 percent, also slowing from the gain of 31 percent seen in the second quarter.

Matt Powell, VP, senior industry advisor, Sports, The NPD Group, said in a statement, “Sport leisure footwear slowed materially in Q3 compared to the first half trend as brands that flooded the market with limited-edition shoes last year could not offset those results this year. Running shoes continue their strong sales performance, a trend I expect will be in place into 2022.”

Beth Goldstein, Fashion Footwear & Accessories Analyst, The NPD Group, said about leisure offerings, “Consumers continue to spend time outside, driving sales of more active outdoor footwear as well as sport slides and casual sneakers. Work, occupational and safety footwear remained strong as related job growth continues.”

Fashion footwear sales were down 8 percent after declining 6 percent in the second quarter.

“With the return to offices and events more gradual than expected, fashion footwear continues to recover slowly, remaining about 8 percent below 2019 revenue levels and 13 percent below in unit sales. Higher average selling prices offset some of the unit declines. In Q3 mules and clogs (Crocs) and casual/comfort sandals were the bright spots, while the dressier categories continued to struggle,” said Goldstein. “While I don’t expect the market to fully turn around during the holiday season, the fact that consumers will likely have more opportunity to celebrate this year should help the fashion market.”

Based on its POS data, NPD found:

  • Total U.S. leisure footwear sales grew 11 percent to $5.1 billion, Men’s leisure footwear sales grew 6 percent to $2.3 billion, Women’s leisure footwear sales were up 21 percent to $1.5 billion, and Kid’s leisure sales advanced 10 percent to $1.3 billion.
  • Total U.S. performance footwear sales were up 15 percent to $2.3 billion, Men’s performance footwear sales grew 14 percent to $1.2 billion, Women’s sales gained 22 percent to $703.7 million, and Kid’s sales grew 6 percent to $445.1 million.
  • Total U.S. fashion footwear sales were down 8 percent to $3.1 billion. Sales declined 3 percent to $731.4 million in Men’s fashion footwear and were off 12 percent to $2.1 billion in Women’s, but Kid’s fashion footwear sales were up 16 percent to $300.4 million.

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