Womens comfort shoes are appearing in an ever-greater variety of styles with technologies that can make wearing modestly high-heel shoes comfortable.
Manufacturers in this global market, worth more than $300 billion a year in trade, are responding to female shoppers over 35 who are screaming for chic styles that dont kill their feet.
An industry profile said that manufacturers have to spend money on research and development just to stay competitive.
This translates into structurally sound foot support that can be lightweight and fashionable.
For example, Cole Hahn shoes added Nike Air technology to improve comfort, one woman shopper noted in a 2007 report in Footwear News (FN) trade magazine.
The main complaint of female shoppers in California was that changes in chic and comfortable women's shoes weren'tcoming fast enough, the FN survey reported. In the past few years, a lot of change has come in response.
Brands praised for comfort and support by this straw-poll were Mephisto, Crocs, Birkenstock and Born. My favorites are Timberland and Merrell brands that previously made only walking and sports shoes.
Naturalizer, long a leader in womens comfort shoes, are praised by some younger female shoppers for spicing up their designs so that boots and shoes have both style and comfort.
Easy Spirit and Aerosoles are other brands that younger women like for comfort but sometimes find the designs are not on-trend.
Women over 35 make 49% of all footwear purchases, and manufacturers are finally waking up to their demands, according to FN, 2006.
Women in their 30s and 40s were screaming for more fashionable womens comfort shoes, wrote reporter Jennifer Ernst. This trend benefits us older women, too, who also want on-trend styles that support our feet.
Fashion After 50 has devoted extensive coverage to these changes, whether you are searching for comfortable womens dress shoes, comfortable casual shoes, lace up styles, or even suggestions for diabetic dress shoes
The trend for engineering womens comfort shoes that are stylish may signal fewer foot problems for generations of women. Footwear that is stylish and comfortable may offer better opportunities for foot health than styles of decades past.
The global footwear market is worth over $300 billion and is dominated by Asia-Pacific manufacturers, who account for over 40% of the markets value. Nike is the leading single manufacturer with approximately 2% of this market.
The need to research and development for manufacturers to be competitive will, perhaps, lead to even better support and comfort technologies being incorporated into chic comfortable womens dress shoes and casual shoes.