5 Footwear Market Trends

Learn 5 footwear market trends in 2023 to help you make smarter, more sustainable, and more profitable business plans.

Giving footwear buyers what they want isn’t only about quality. It’s about paying attention to what the market wants. Let’s explore five key footwear market trends—and how you can use NuORDER to meet these evolving needs.

Trend #1: Switching from DTC to Wholesale

Going direct-to-customer (DTC) has become more difficult in recent years. Competing on popular platforms means the risk of getting lost in a sea of ads. The harder this environment gets, the more your brand may have to work to stand out.

There’s a reason brands have moved online: customers have responded to the DTC push. The 2022 PowerReviews’ State of Apparel & Footwear Shopping survey says 74% of footwear purchases are now online. But there may be a happy middle ground: using digital technology to access a more traditional wholesale approach to selling footwear. With NuORDER, you can build online catalogs and use digital pricing strategies, like unique pricing for preferred customer segments. The result is a DTC “feel” in a wholesale environment, helping your brand stand out.

Trend #2: The Demand for Sustainable Footwear

The U.S. Department of the Interior finds that of 20 billion pairs of footwear produced annually, about 300 million of those end up in landfills. Many of those are chock-full of non-biodegradable materials. Customers are noticing. That’s why brands like Nike Grind have emphasized increased sustainability: in Nike Grind’s case, that means breaking footwear down into pellets for flooring.

According to Grandview Research, many global footwear leaders are following suit: Timberland, PUMA, Adidas AG, Skechers, Crocs. Expect future wholesale buyers to ask more sustainability questions—and maybe expect specific shopping options so they can offer the same to their customers. 

Trend #3: 3D Technology

Shoe design is happening faster than ever thanks to 3D printing. But 3D technology can do more than create rapid prototypes. 3D printing from home could one day provide custom-made insoles featuring materials from top brands. And 3D technology can make shopping online a vastly different experience.

3D modeling, for example, is one NuORDER feature you can use to create 360-degree images before a buyer clicks “order.” It’s more than putting an image on a turntable: a fully-3D shoe preview gives buyers a look from every angle, giving your products an advantage over sellers who only offer photos.

Trend #4: Comfort Over Everything

Remember that 2022 PowerReviews’ State of Apparel & Footwear Shopping Survey we mentioned? Maybe 74% of footwear purchases are online, but that’s a small number compared to how many casual footwear purchases now happen online—96%. Athletic footwear (84%) came in second. It’s still a high trend for shoes overall. But online, comfort is everything.

According to RetailDive, early 2023 has been all about customers seeking shoes for “casual everyday use.” Why? After the pandemic, more of us are working from home—and the footwear market needs to reflect our changing needs.

Trend #5: Customized Footwear

NuORDER’s Assortments feature creates a collaborative environment for your team, mixing in automation so your wholesale buyers only see the latest and most up-to-date product inventory. You can use Assortments to identify customer needs and customize what they see, creating a “bespoke” experience. 

Knowing your sales data from this back end will be vital. It means you can create these bespoke experiences for buyers, ensuring that your products match buyer needs. And custom is the name of the game these days. The more customized your offerings, the more you create a DTC-like experience—without the headaches of expensive advertising.

Interested in using NuORDER to become more responsive to evolving customer trends? Book a demo with us today.

Reimagine Wholesale for Your Business



NuORDER is dedicated to providing thoughtful, informative B2B eCommerce industry insights. Brands use NuORDER's platform to deliver a seamless, more collaborative wholesale process, where buyers can browse products, plan assortments and make smarter buys in real-time.