Explaining Women’s Shoe Obsession
Many a sociologist, marketer and stand-up comic has tried to discern
women’s apparent obsession over shoes. A new survey at least tries to quantify
Among the findings from the survey from ShopSmart magazine, a sister
publication of Consumer Reports, women own an average of 17 pairs of
shoes (excluding athletic), although some own three times as much. Still, on
average, women only typically wear three of those pairs on a regular basis.
survey of 1,009 American women comes as the footwear industry is on an upswing
after faring comparatively well during the recession.
“Shoes never make your butt look big, you don’t have to worry about squeezing
into them if you’ve put on a couple of pounds, and they can instantly make
you feel sexier,” said Lisa Lee Freeman, editor-in-chief of ShopSmart, in
a statement. “Maybe that’s why, despite the economy, we’re still buying
- Women typically purchase three pairs a year and, on average, spend $49
on a pair of shoes. Nearly one-third (31 percent) have never spent over $100
on a single pair.
- Nineteen percent have gone shoe shopping to cheer themselves up.
- Over one quarter (28 percent) feel shoes are an important part of their
outfit. About half (51 percent) typically notice shoes other people are wearing.
- Forty-six percent of women have bought an ugly pair for comfort, but more
women are willing to tolerate pain for fashion — 60 percent versus 49
percent — than they were in a similar survey in 2007. Forty-eight percent
have had a shoe-related injury (blister, break, sprain, etc.), 35 percent
had an evening ruined by an uncomfortable pair of shoes and 24 percent have
fallen because of their shoes.
- Although the majority of women (86 percent) are up front with their spouse
or significant other about their shoe purchases, 14 percent admit to hiding
at least one purchase.
- Head Over Heels: ShopSmart Poll Finds Women Own 17 Pairs of Shoes – ShopSmart
- Pittsburgh women love their shoes – Pittsburgh Tribune
- Shoe shame: 14% of women hide some of their purchases – Tampa
Discussion Questions: Why do you think women love shoes so much more than men? What, if anything, does this say about the differences in shopping behaviors between women and men? How can women’s retail shoe departments be improved?