Forget Diamonds! Shoes Are A Woman’s Best Friend: Why Women’s Shoes Are A Good Investment

July 2, 2013  |  

The U.S. shoe business is a $48-billion industry. And women spend $25,000 on stilettos and sneakers in our lifetime according to Glamour. Are women addicted to shoes? Some will answer a definitive yes. In fact, The Age says, “Shoes are fashion crack. Highly addictive they provide the user with an instant gratification high like no other.”

There are several theories why women love shoes—you can be fat, tall, skinny but you can most always find a shoe that fits and looks good. People have even put some actual study into it. “There’s some science behind it with experts agreeing that women can/do experience an absolute physiological response when shopping,” reports The Age. “The neurotransmitter dopamine is released into the brain flooding it with a feel-good high that intensifies all the way up to the actual purchase… which explains why some women occasionally swap relationships, food and even sex in favour of a pair of Jimmy Choos.”

That’s why retail outlets are taking notice and expanding their women’s shoe department—some even devoting an entire floor to women’s shoes. And they are raking in the sales.

“Barneys New York, sales of shoes are three to four times higher per square foot than in any other department. The average purchase in the shoe department there is about $850, among the highest in the city” reports The New York Times.

Over the past five years there was been sort of a shoe war going on, with retailers trying to show who has the largest shoe collection. Macy’s in New York introduced a 39,000-square-foot shoe department last year, which it claims is the “world’s largest.”  Nordstrom, which has been a favorite among shoe shoppers for years because of its selection and service, plans to open a store on West 57th Street in Manhattan. All the high-end shops have impressive shoe departments now. Saks Fifth Avenue’s footwear department has its on vanity ZIP code, 10022-SHOE. And recently Saks debuted a 1,600-square-foot shop selling only Christian Louboutin handbags and shoes.

“Shoes are the one thing that you can wear regardless of your size,” Kathryn Finney, The Budget Fashionista, points out. “In a way, shoes are the great equalizer. It is capable of democratizing fashion. You probably can’t buy a Zac Posen dress if you wear a size 14, but you can surely buy a pair of Jimmy Choo shoes.”

She argues shoes are a good investment because updating your wardrobe is possible by just buying shoes rather than an entire closet of clothes. “You can save a lot of money by dressing head to toe in Target, and up the style factor by pairing your bargain duds with a single, really great pair of shoes,” she explains. “Plus, no matter how much your weight changes, your trusty shoes will always fit.”

And, says Finney, you don’t have to spend a fortune on shoes. “Always check the clearance section for investment pieces at a fraction of the price. These shoe classics aren’t at the mercy of shoe fads and ‘New Arrivals’ trends, so never pay full price for them,” she advises.

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

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