Melania Trump notwithstanding, it seems like the love affair between women and their heels might be on the rocks.
ThredUp, which claims to be the world’s largest thrift store, processes millions of items each month, which gives it a bead on what consumers are buying and selling. head of marketing Karen Clark said data from December 2017 to May 2018 showed a 38 percent increase in the volume of heels sent to site. The heel purge surged in April with about 8,400 pairs unloaded by consumers for listing on the web site, March and May’s volume were almost as strong.
At the same time that ThredUp recorded the spike in heels being cleaned out of closets, it noticed that demand for sneakers increased 46 percent in the last six months compared with the three-month trailing average.
Clark said several celebrities recently ditching their heels at high-profile events may have contributed to the zeitgeist surrounding the footwear. Kristen Stewart walked the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival barefoot, Maya Rudolph and Tiffany Haddish were barefoot at the Oscars, and Serena Williams traded her heels for flats before hitting the dance floor at the royal wedding.
“Wonder Woman” star Gal Gadot’s choice of footwear for the movie’s 2017 premiere — flats — received lots of ink in the press, a sign that society still expects women to wear heels, especially with evening gowns.
“We see fashion as a form of expression,” Clark said. “Heels are being purged at a higher than normal rate. When we see a major shift like this, it usually means something. There’s some kind of expression of empowerment happening with the decisions many women are making publicly. Also, there’s been a change in work place attire. The line between work and play is fading and men and women are dressing more casually in the office.”
The most unwanted heel brands include Kenneth Cole, Guess, Jessica Simpson, Tahari, Coach, Ralph Lauren, Stuart Weitzman, Vince Camuto, Michael Kors and Ivanka Trump. Meanwhile, the most sought-after sneaker brands are Keds, Dr. Scholl’s, Asics, Skechers, Saucony, Reebok, Adidas, Superga, New Balance and Vince.
A recent check of the ThredUp web site listed 18,000 pairs of heels, including Valentino green and beige heels with stud detail, $699.99; Gucci lace-ups with bow accents, $1,199.99; Diane Von Furstenberg’s gold sandals, $67.99, and Simpson’s red four-inch heels, $27.99.