Running out of steam? Barefoot shoes sales plummet in Q1 2013

Out of touch? Sales of shoes such as the Vibram Five Fingers fell for the first time this quarter

The latest data from industry watcher SportsOneSource has shown that sales of minimalist or ‘barefoot’ running shoes, such as the Vibram Five Fingers, has dropped by more than 10% in the first quarter of 2013.

A company spokesperson stated that, “minimalist/barefoot declined in the low teens and represented only about 4% of total running…It appears this fad is pretty much over”.

The figures, contained in the company’s quarterly report, are in contrast to many of SportsOneSource’s quarterly reports in the last few years, where the minimalist category had some of the highest growth, while sales in other footwear categories such as motion control and stability stagnated or fell.

Sales in these other two categories actually seemed to benefit from the fall in minimalist shoes, with motion control shoes sales increasing by more than 25% during the first quarter of the year, and sales of stability shoes increasing by more than 10%. This seems to back up thought that in the last few months there has been an industry-wide movement away from the more barefoot-style minimalist shoes toward conventional-looking running shoes that were lighter and lower to the ground than in years past.

One important caveat for these figures, however, is that when considering sales of minimalist shoes, SportsOneSource actually separated the Nike Free from other minimalist models, because such a large percentage of Nike Free sales are to people other than active runners. It’s unknown as yet how good Nike’s sales figures are, but it’s safe to say based on these figures that they must  be pretty encouraging.

[Via Runner’s World]


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