Athletic Shoes Transcend Athletes, Sneakers now a Wardrobe Staple

Athletic shoes have become as commonplace as blue jeans in America.

Athletic shoes have become as commonplace as blue jeans in America. Leisure Trends Group announces recent results from its ongoing national syndicated study on American leisure time. Among the findings: 96 percent of Americans ages 16 and older own at least one pair of athletic shoes, even though just 58 percent of the population participates in sports and recreation in any three-month period.

Leisure Trends senior analysts found that 75 percent of all Americans assert that fashion trumps comfort, performance and durability when determining which athletic shoe to buy. Also intriguing: for all its market penetration, athletic footwear continues to find new markets. “Athleisure” footwear is giving street shoes a run for the money, sneaking into coffee shops, casual Fridays and ever more formal settings.

“One quarter of all Americans own four or more different types of athletic shoes to suit the whims of fashion and the various activities and sports they pursue,” explained Leisure Trends Group Research Director Laurel Hyslop, PhD.

Predictably, income levels determine dollars spent on athletic shoes. Those making less than $40,000 per year spend $122 annually on athletic shoes. Those making more than $80,000 spend nearly twice as much, or $211 annually. This wealthiest segment of America is among the best customers of the hottest new trend in athletic footwear, sport sandals, the most purely fashion forward and least practical footwear in the athletic shoe world.

Athletic footwear purchases cut across all age groups, with males age 16 to 24 spending the most, a whopping $220 per year. Meanwhile their grandparents age 64 and older spend the least - less than $100 per year - although these seniors place the highest importance on athletic footwear.

Since 1990 Leisure Trends Group has conducted quarterly fieldings of the LeisureTRAK, a syndicated study of how Americans spend their free time. The most recent LeisureTRAK® report includes more insights into America's love affair with athletic footwear, including who's buying which shoes and where; shoe preferences by leisure type; and which types of athletic shoes are gaining traction over more traditional styles.

The absolute authority on leisure in America, Leisure Trends Group provides powerful insight into the changing habits of America at leisure and the implications to business. To obtain a copy of this or previous LeisureTRAK® reports, contact Leisure Trends toll-free at 888.732.7373 x 107. For additional insights into the way America plays, visit


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