trend insight

Consumer Insights on Boots & More


In our latest Trend Insight survey, we asked 350 consumers about what type of footwear they plan to buy this year, as well as where they are most likely to purchase their footwear. Additionally, we asked specific questions about the boot category.

Of those surveyed, 83% of consumers told us that winter is the season they are most likely to buy boots. Lifestyle/Casual Boots (74%) are the type of boots consumers told us they most regularly buy, followed by Cold Weather Boots (60%) and Hiking Boots (59%).

As for general footwear shopping trends this year, the types of footwear that consumers told us they will be looking to buy this Spring are led by Running Shoes (71%) and Sandals (71%), fol-lowed by Casual/Comfort Shoes (55%), Hiking Shoes/Boots (53%) and Walking Shoes (51%).

When asked whether their choices in footwear style have shifted over the past year, nearly half (49%) of those surveyed said that their footwear choices have become more focused on casual/athletic style.

Finally, we asked about return policies, with 59% of consumers telling us that a store’s return policy impacts their decision to purchase there. Of those who reported making a footwear re-turn, 98% said it was a positive experience (and 55% exchanged for a different pair).

This survey conducted by MESH01 included 350 respondents, men and women who are active and purchased footwear in stores. Trend Insight is a feature within Footwear Insight that delivers research conducted on the MESH01 Platform. MESH01 collects data from a select panel of active and outdoor enthusiasts.

Many Happy Returns

When shopping for footwear in general, does a store’s return policy factor into whether or not you purchase there?

It’s important that I buy from a store that values the importance of having the perfect boots. Female 31

The easier it is to make returns the more likely I am to buy. Male 45

Definitely I want to be able to return if it doesn’t fit. It influences greatly my decision to buy or not to buy at that store or online. Female 43

Yes, fit is so important when it comes to any type of boot for me, so returning for a different size is key in a purchase. Female 34

No. After I leave the store with them I usually don’t return them. Female 29

It’s nice when a store allows you to return a pair of shoes that doesn’t fit right, especially if it was bought online. Male 43

If it’s online, it’s almost imperative that they have a free return policy for me to shop. Female 30

I prefer to try on for fit and function, so having a return policy that allows easy returns or exchanges is preferable. Female 37

Never thought about this until now. Thank you, I may start checking! Male 44

Always having a good return policy is key. It means that they stand behind their product and want return customers. Female 44

I buy the majority of my shoes at REI because of their generous return policy. Female 41

If in person, no. If online, absolutely. Female 28

Why did you return your footwear?

The shoes were damaged. Female 45
60 days, Exchanged for a new pair.

Did not fit. Female 38
30 days. Received credit to original form of payment.

They didn’t fit right or my foot was moving around which causes blisters.
Female 33
30 days, Exchanged
for a new pair.

Incorrect size. Size too big/small. Female 33
30 days. Exchanged
for a new pair

Uncomfortable to wear, fit wasn’t right. Female 32.
7 days or less.

Exchanged for a new pair.
Fit and style. Female 41
60 Days. Received credit to original form of payment.

For fit reasons. Male 34
14 days. Exchange
for a new pair

Seams came apart. Female 43
60+ days. Store Credit.

Cushion was too much
for me. Female 39
7 days. Received credit
to my original form
of payment.

The quality failed. Brand’s mistake. Female 30
30 days. Received store credit.

Found a much cheaper price elsewhere. Female 56
7 days. Received credit
to my original form
of payment.

Size or fit. Couldn't be determined until after I was out on the trail and used the product. Male 44
30 days. Exchanged
for a new pair.

Didn’t fit with my preferred socks once I was at home. Female 38
30 days. Exchanged
for a new pair.

The boots became uncomfortable to wear. Male 60
14 days. Exchanged for
a new pair.

I returned a pair of running shoes because they were falling apart after a few weeks of wearing. Female 42
14 days. Exchanged
for a new pair.

It was a gift with incorrect size. Male 38
30 days. Exchanged
for a new pair.

The brand and style that I was used to just changed enough that it did not work for me so I had to swap out ... even after like 60-100 miles on the pair. Female 44
60 days. Exchanged
for a new pair.

Found a different pair I liked over the initial purchase and or color. And a waterproof model was available.
Female 43
14 days, Received credit to my original form of payment

Purchased online and they looked bad on me — and maybe everyone? I literally didn’t leave the store the last time I picked up, disliked the look, and returned. Male 38
7 Days or less. Received credit to my original
form of payment.

Lack of comfort for hiking. Female 36
30 days. Exchanged
for a new pair.

I liked the shoe in store but did not when I got home. Female 37
14 days. Received credit to my original form of payment.