|Pictured: Cinderella with her life changing glass slipper (art from Disney clip art).|
Remember the fairy tale of Cinderella? Her life was changed by a magic pair of shoes- her glass slippers. Turns out today’s shoe shoppers may be looking not only a good bargain, but for a pair of shoes as transformational as Cinderella’s. In a new study from Consumer Reports, and ShopSmart Magazine, research found that women own an average of 17 pairs of shoes (down from 19 four years ago) yet only typically wear three of those pairs on a regular basis. Over half of women (51%) own more than 10 pairs and 13 percent have over 30 pairs (not including athletic shoes). But we’re not talking about Christian Louboutins here or the closet of Imelda Marcus. It’s not luxury shoes we’re stocking up on. The poll found that women typically purchase three pairs of shoes a year and, on average, spend $49 on a pair of shoes, while nearly one-third (31%) have ever spent over $100 on a single pair.
Here are some of the highlights of the magazine’s study. This is good news for Payless, DSW, TJ Maxx, Marshall’s, Kohl’s (Vera Wang) and other retailers selling upscale shoes for less.
Online ‘Sole’ Searching
* Buying shoes online is a new national obsession. Almost a third (29%) of American women are doing it, a significant increase from four years ago when only 14% were buying shoes online.
* Over one third (39%) of those who have purchased shoes online have made a return.
If the Shoe Fits
* Nearly one-fifth (19%) have gone shoe shopping to cheer themselves up.
* Although the majority of women (86%) are up front with their spouse or significant other about their shoe purchase, 14% admit to hiding at least one purchase.
* Over one quarter (28%) feel shoes are an important part of their outfit indicating that they put a lot of thought into selecting them each day. Plus over half of women (51%) typically notice shoes other people are wearing.
* For everyday footwear, women prefer flats as 39 percent of women indicate that it is the preferred heel height. Only 8 percent of women wear heels over 2 ½ inches on a regular basis.
* Despite a preference for flats, one quarter have worn heels 4” or higher on at least one occasion.
* Forty-six percent of women have bought an ugly pair for comfort, but more women are willing to tolerate pain for fashion—60% vs.49%—than they were in 2007.
* Women take precautions for the pain as 61 percent have carried a second pair of shoes to a party or event to change into.
The Taming of the Shoe
* Forty-eight percent have had a shoe-related injury (blister, break, sprain, etc.).
* Thirty-five percent of women had an evening ruined by an uncomfortable pair of shoes.
* Twenty-four percent have fallen because of their shoes.
If you’re shopping for the perfect pair of shows, check out Neiman Marcus Last Call, Saks Off Fifth, or Nordstrom’s Rack. They sell great brands, and all the designers, for less. Just remember, ignore what Steve Martin called “Cruel Shoes” anywhere you find them. Don’t sacrifice your fashion soul for your soles:)