Consumers Share Shoe Shopping Insights
In our latest survey, we asked consumers what types of shoes they plan on buying this season, and inquired about where they plan to shop, and what they want and expect in their shopping experience. Running shoes, casual shoes and sandals/flip-flops were the top styles that consumers told us they plan to buy this spring and summer, with sports specialty and sporting goods stores topping the list of types of stores they plan to buy footwear at.

When asked about brick-and-mortar and web options, 84% of shoppers told us they visit a store’s website before shopping in-store, 70% reported purchasing from a store that also had a brick-and-mortar location, and 42% said they’ve purchased online and then returned product to a physical store location. Consumers clearly like omnichannel options. We also asked about loyalty programs and takeback programs, among other topics. The overwhelming majority of consumers (87%) told us they would join a store’s loyalty program, if available. And when asked if they would be more likely to purchase from a store that offered a takeback program to recycle used shoes, 76% said yes, with 70% saying they would expect a discount or incentive for recycling their shoes. ■ This survey conducted by MESH01 included 330 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 MESH01Platform. MESH01 data from a select panel of active and outdoor enthusiasts.

If you could change one thing about your in-store footwear shopping experience, what would that be?

I would improve the availability of sizes and styles, ensuring a wide variety is always in stock to try on, reducing the need to order and wait. Male 36

All stores should have a treadmill for walk-run test. Male 29

Have information and specs on shoes more widely available. Male 32

Making sure they have the sizes that I need. Most of the time they only have certain sizes of the shoe that I am looking for so I just end up using an E-commerce site. Male 32

Having a sales associate in place that introduce themselves, and then leaves me alone to shop around and be ready to help when I look for help. Male 54

Option to try out the shoe, real world. Male 48

Somewhere to run or climb, especially with boots to test them out. Female 45

A place to walk around in the shoes to see how they feel, more than 5-6 feet. Male 48

Better prices. Everything is so expensive. Female 41

I would love more one-on-one time with a sales associate. Female 42

The in-store experience is often different. I don’t look like a traditional ultrarunner and people think I look like a traditional weekend warrior. Sometimes I don’t get the help I’m looking for until I have to “talk” about myself. Male 40

I would love to have everything in
stock, OR guarantee next day shipping. Male 30

I would love to have more help finding the correct size and fit for my feet. Generally speaking, most stores will have the traditional measuring device, and you, as the customer, can take the time to measure your own foot for size. However, that does not consider the height of an arch or even your gait. There are so many more factors that come into play when trying on shoes that just knowing I’m an 8.5 isn’t enough to help me find the best fit. Female 35

The sales people don’t seem to know much about what they are selling.  It would be nice if the manufacturer gave them a little bit of training.
Male 44

Have a foot scanner, to suggest insoles for better comfort. Male 38

For sales people to be more educated
on the products they are selling. I find that most employees only know information on one brand. If I’m not interested in that brand I find myself having to research the shoe while I’m in the store. Female 36

More limited editions not available online. Female 40

It often feels like sales people are pushing specific brands and sometimes those are brands I am not interested in. Male 42

One thing I’d change is making sure there are more available sizes in-store. It’s frustrating when you find the
perfect pair but they don’t have your size. Male 40

More organization, the same items offered online should be at store.
Male 37

That if there’s a promotion and the item sells out they need to update their platform accordingly if it’s no longer available then remove it from the website. Female 39

I’d like for the employees to know more about the brands. In my experience, I’ve encountered employees that are unable to answer simple questions about fit, sizes and materials used to make the shoes. Female 50

The last few times I was in store I was taken care of by really young people who didn’t really care if I was there or not. Customer service is still a big deal. Female 52

If I could change one thing, I believe it would be that I’d like to have a profile that is accessible in the store that details all of my information, measurements and purchases so that it is easier for future shopping experiences and interactions with store staff. Female 33

Better in-store perks for repeat shoppers/ program members.
Male 47

I would prefer the sales person to not be as pushy, sometimes it’s perfect but other times it has been a lot. I would love an experience where I could use a store app while shopping in the store, scanning shoes and such and then that provides me extra details and such, even potentially hidden coupons. Male 33

Have the same products in-store as online for the same price. Female 36

I’d like to have my feet measured. Shown different options. More human interaction. Shown same style in different price ranges. Female 33

To have truly knowledgeable sales people to help purchase the proper shoe for my foot type. Male 33

Everywhere should measure feet and experts should tell you what’s best for you. Male 25

Trade-in program. Female 51

Less salesman tactics. More personal connections. Male 35

The commission aspect. Sometimes they try to over sell or are too pushy when it’s really not something that fits my needs / wants. Female 22

This is an unreasonable ask on my part, but some stores offer a track or treadmill so one may test run the product. It’s a nice option. Male 37

Please help me recycle my used shoes. Male 38

Being able to honor online prices.
Male 47

Pressure to purchase. Female 31

More options available for lesser known brands - if you carry the brand - carry it all. Male 55

I would like more stores to suggest alternative colorways when shopping in person. “Great, we found the shoe you like and the size you need, we have this in stock, but it is also available in these other colors that we can get for you in X days.” Male 46

I wish there was more experiential options that informed my purchase decision-making, particularly with athletic footwear. For example, I like a foot scanner combined with a quick gait analysis to see if the shoes work. Male 35

Feel less rushed, like they need to help the next person. Female 38

If out-of-stock, I can order online from an in store computer at the same price with free shipping. Female 36

Retail employees pushing for specific brands. Male 40

I look for store employees who are knowledgeable about the products. If the employee is clueless about what they are selling, I’m less likely to stay and make a purchase because my questions won’t be answered. Female 42

I guess just the ease of having and trying your size. It’s so often, “we don’t have that size but can ship it to you”. Unfortunately I buy nice shoes and would like to make sure I like the fit before I agree to just shipping them to me. “But you can return” which is great for the store, they get me back in store. Which I don’t want to deal with. Male 40

I want more variety, not just the big name brands. Female 38

They need to offer value above and beyond what ecommerce can do. Give me a free something with the purchase of shoes. Allow free return/exchanges. Offer a rewards program ( buy 10, get one free). Male 30

Sales staff that spends time trying to figure out the best product for me, asking the qualifying questions. Male 45

It would be nice if there were signs that provided information about the differences in different running shoes and what the benefits or why would you use one shoe vs another. Male 57