How Consumers Are Shopping for Footwear
Athletic, outdoorsy, and casual footwear trends remain strong with shoppers, according to our most recent consumer survey. Of the 340 respondents, 68% said they intend to purchase running shoes this fall or winter, with 57% intending to purchase casual comfort shoes and 51% leaning towards hiking shoes or boots.When asked where they have shopped for footwear in the past year, the most popular answers were sporting goods stores (46%) and online sites affiliated with brick-and-mortar stores (44%). Brand and product selection is a major draw for these consumers when they are deciding where to shop, with consumers listing “selection” as the top factor they consider when deciding where to shop in-store. Price came in second, followed by location. The consumers we surveyed like loyalty programs (84% join up), and many are willing to hand out their email address. Read their open-ended responses to find out why.
This survey conducted by MESH01 included 340 respondents, men and women active and outdoors.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.
If the store associate asked for your email address at time of purchase, do you provide it?
Yes: 71% / No: 29%
Why do you or why don’t you provide your email address?
YES ...

To be first to know of any upcoming events. Male 45

The store may offer discounts or other customer perks so I don’t mind providing my email. Male 26

Ease of access, discounts. Female 45

To get rewards or if I need to return something. Female 60

I love giving my email. Any kind of discounts I can get or find out about new products, I enjoy. Female 35

If purchasing from them I would like to know regarding special offers or events. Female 42

I don’t mind providing it for coupons or email receipts. Female 33

I do, I can always unsubscribe if it’s bothersome. Male 43

If I am purchasing shoes from the store that means I like the store, and would not mind if they notified me by email about upcoming sales and discounts. Female 57

To be alerted of events they’re holding, new styles that came in, or sale prices/coupons for your next visit! Female37

They ask for it so I tell them. I’m assuming I will receive offers for discount on future purchases. Female 43

I love to know about specials or new releases! Female 38

To get reward points and discounts. Female 25 

NO ...

Because you always get spam if you do. Every time guaranteed.Male 33

I don’t like to see a lot of ads for buying shoes after I purchase a pair. Female 44

I do not want the endless stream of marketing emails. Hate that! Male 55

I don’t want my email address sold. Female 54

I used to because I felt like I had to, but I quit doing that. I get so many promotional emails that I never even read them anymore. Female40

If I want to be on their email list, I likely already am. Female38 

Well, it depends …

It depends on the store and if I plan to return to shop. Male 46

I provide it to independent stores to build out a customer profile but not to chain stores due to email being sold and spam. Male 43

If it’s a one-time purchase, I won’t.But if it’s a place I see myself coming back to, I will. Male 40

If there’s a membership I am usually apart of that and will provide email to sync my account, but I usually don’t offer to a store that I don’t have a membership or some sort of reward program with. Male 49

Unless they give me a valid reason, I won’t share my personal details. Male 34

Only if I get a deal for providing it. Female 42

I sometimes don’t because I don’t want spam. BUT, if they offer a discount for signing up or a rewards program, I give it. Female 34

If I’m satisfied with the service and plan on visiting again, yes, because you get good deals sometimes. Otherwise no. Female 41

I don’t always. If I see a long term monetary value in doing it, then I will. Female 25 
Have you ever gone to a store to try on footwear and then left to purchase that same item online at a site not affiliated with that store? 
Yes: 57% / No: 43%
Why did you leave the store and make your footwear purchase online?
The price is better elsewhere or I get poor customer service. Male 36

I’ve ran into an issue of the store not having my size in stock. I’ve also experienced a shoe be cheaper to order online. Female 41

There was a sale that was exclusively online so I wanted to get the better price. Female 38

If I know that it is less somewhere else, but I want to see and try in person first. Female 48

I would only do this after doing a quick search online. First I’d ask if they price match, and if they don’t, I’d leave. Female 40

I do that to make sure the shoe fits, then I find it cheaper online or through direct website order. Female 37

Price. I can get it cheaper online...sadly. Male 55

I could get a better price on line and at least I know the exact size I need and how they feel and look. Female 50

If I’ve done that, I didn’t leave the store to look online. I probably looked online inside the store and found it cheaper. Male 50

They didn’t have the size I needed so I had to purchase online. Female 38

I’ve tried it on to see if it fit, then maybe bought online for a better price or different color or size they may not have had in stock. Female 40

I don’t like to do this but if I can save $40-$50, I will. Male 39

I don’t like someone breathing down my neck trying to get a commission. Female 33

I did not like the sales associate and the store was overpriced. I prefer to purchase in person but not when the interaction is poor. Male 39

I have never bought a new-to-me model like that, but I have occasionally bought a shoe in a store and then when it was time to replace it, bought it online. I prefer to buy local, but can be swayed if there’s a really good deal. Male 53

I always look for the best price for a product. My loyalty is to myself. Male 36

Cheaper price and went in store try on. Female 47

It was not on sale at the store like it was online. Female 34

When the price is such a huge difference I will sometimes order them online. Or, if I am not sure what size I might take in that shoe and I want to confirm it will definitely fit. Male 53

If I can find it cheaper I will do that. I feel guilty but price is huge.
Female 51

The item I wanted was not available in-store or I did not find as many deals or discounts as I would online. Female 36

No flexibility on price or price matching. I’d be happy to buy from the store if they can match price or even get close to the online retailers. Instant gratification and walking out with the shoes you tried on and know fit well is worth something, but not upwards of 10-20% more than what you can find online. Male 32

It’s rare but if the price is way above what I see online, I would. I try to patronize small businesses so it really doesn’t happen very often unless the difference is significant. Female 53

Only because the price was cheaper and the store did not price match. Male 39
If you could change one thing about your in-store experience, what would that be?
Sales associate being more knowledgeable about the product they are trying to sell. Male 45

Lower prices. And more selection. Male 33

I would want to have a way to check into the store so that it can show me products available based on the preferences I set and shoes I have purchased recently. Female 38

Not to be followed around or marketed to when browsing. Female 43

Easy price matching, we don't need to shop online if the product is there. Male 43

Compete with online pricing and better knowledge of shoe and shoe fitting. Male 49 

More casual sales tactics... too aggressive usually. And I know why because it's commission based. I feel bad, but really want to do my own thing. Male 55

To have more fitting and options to see if you need arch support shoes. Female 32

I would like to see the sales racks become more organized. They are always a mess. Female 54

The ability to try on without talking to anyone. Or area to test run on different terrain in the store. Male 45

Train people who work there to not be rude or overtly political. The generation of sales associates working now makes you never want to go in a store and just shop online. Male 50

I kind of liked being able to sign up for a time during the pandemic. It was efficient and then I didn’t have to wait. Female 53 

If it is a running specialty store, I would like for the salespeople to have better knowledge on biomechanics NOT related to the marketing the shoe company promotes. I am a physical therapist and I often overhear well-meaning salespeople make inaccurate (non-scientific) statements about footwear and biomechanics. Some do a decent job but others inadvertently just regurgitate whatever the shoe company marketing people told them, often to the detriment of the customer. Female 37

Bigger brand signs so I can find what I’m looking for faster. Female 37

I would change the way most people look at customer service and in-store experience. A lot of times when shopping, you get a very pushy or rude sales person, who makes you feel like you just interrupted their life or job. I personally worked In retail for many years, and customer service was my specialty. In customer service, my customer was never an interruption to my job — they were the reason for my job. And I genuinely enjoyed helping them find exactly what they were looking for, seeing them light up with excitement when they found it, and sharing their genuine happiness as they left the store. Female 39

High schoolers telling me about shoes and offering options that don’t fit my needs. Male 48 

When store associates are either pushy about selling a product, or come across as experts in running to a point where they appear condescending. Male 35

Have the same sales as they do online. Female 37

Most of the time it comes down to service. More than once I'm looking to buy running shoes and the sales person doesn't run, or maybe just doesn't care, so they have no real experience with how the shoe should fit, how it will perform, what it's best used for, etc. Male 40

Use of the product’s website to provide more information or sales information, such as a QR code scannable at the product to the website. Male 44

The options that are available and also maybe the option to order certain items in-store. Female 28

It would be nice if individual shoes in a display would say something like "comparable to the Hoka Clifton" or something like that .. the sales staff knows what's what. I'm generally willing to try something I've never tried if I know what "family" the shoe belongs to. Male 53

Complimentary items while shopping such as a beverage or snack. Female 46 

Offer a price match or better with the product you show them online that is the exact same but is cheaper. Female 54

Making it more of a personable experience. Female 30

More discounts and a way for me to save up points to pay for my products. Female 35

Getting attention and keeping the attention of the store employee. Female 49

That the store employees don’t “Pretty Woman” me. Female 53

Associates should have more product knowledge to provide information and not just make a sale. Male 35

Reserving shoes online is nice so I don't have to rush to a store and hope it's still available. Male 36

Enhance customer service. If you are actually shopping in person I want to be acknowledged. Female 43