Over the last year and a half, there has been a tremendous increase in the number of shoe-related startups gaining funding of roughly 170 million dollars from various venture capitalists most of which is going to the sellers and designers of these shoes. The startups range from used-sneaker marketplaces to high-end designer shoes and include shoes for toddlers and kids even.
The global footwear market was valued at 246 billion dollars in 2017 with an annual growth rate of around 4.5 percent while Nike alone has reached a market cap of 130 billion dollars whose share prices have gone up by 50 percent over the past year. Most consumers have been opting for a more casual and sportier style due to which sneaker and sneaker related products have gained most of the funding. The demand for sneakers has increased over the last few years due to changing buying habits of men and women. Especially for women who are now opting to wear more comfortable shoes in order to avoid pain while walking for long distances. However, most of the creativity and innovation goes into the designing of fancy and pricey shoes.
The increase in demand for comfortable foot ware does not necessarily imply an increase in sales. Venture Capitalists actively support comfy shoe startups especially the eco-friendly ones like Allbirds that makes shoes out of wool and Rothy’s which uses recycled plastic bottles in the making.
Apart from all these new startups there are developers of 3D printing and scanning with the with the help of M&A. Recently Nike bought Invertex, a seed-funded startup that specializes in 3D foot scanning. Aetrex Worldwide, a well-known maker of therapeutic foot ware bought Sols, a venture-backed maker on 3D printing.