The NPD Group reported that total men's fashion footwear sales rose 3 percent in fiscal 2012 - versus womens which was flat. Selfridges earned the title of largest mens footwear floor at 15,000 square feet the same year. Saks Fifth Avenue has added a basement denim and cocktail bar, with a John Allan salon for grooming treatments and shoe shines.
It is contemporary shoes leading the most new growth in the category, which includes boat shoes, espadrilles, ankle boots and smoking slippers. But, as Mrporter.com's buying manager indicated as well, it is the sneaker trend which is driving the strongest sales - and a huge part of that is designer sneakers.
Toronto's Bata Shoe Museum is currently hosting an exhibit tracing the rise of sneaker culture with product archives including iconic Nike, Converse and adidas shoes (gallery below). "Trends in men's footwear are moving faster than they have [historically]. The cycle started at maybe 20 miles per hour, and now it's going 60," according to Jason Hall, director of menswear at Stylesight. Increasing frequency of "limited edition" sneakers, and collaborations between high-fashion designers and traditional sport shoe companies has helped feed a collector mentality among many men. Each new collection gets growing media attention, and consumer reaction, and more and more traditional luxury design houses are opting to participate by entering into the casual mens footwear market.