The footwear industry has shifted. For so long, it was a two horse race between mass and designer markets, with little in between. However, in the last couple of years, a middle market has successfully broken into consumer awareness and in doing so has shaken up the entire market.

Recent news from the footwear market includes Kurt Geigers first quarter double digit e-commerce growth. Their model of premium-priced, design-led product has rocketed in the UK and their US expansion has been a great success so much so that owners, Jones Group, are adding their other brands to Kurt Geiger stores in order to raise their profiles. Further evidence of an invigoration in the market comes from Jimmy Choos announced revamp of their global stores, following their internal staff reshuffle and unveiling of Nicole Kidman as face of the brand. And in an article we published last week, data revealed 8.7% of fast selling products in the 1st March-1st May period were footwear the fourth largest category.

In this post, well explore the current hottest trends in footwear, where high street retailers should head next and whats in the long view for the market.

The it-bag is no longer the only accessory gaining cult status; for the last two years, some notable footwear styles have joined the seasonal lexicon. Weve had the opinion-polarising flatform, the wedge-heeled wonders of the Isabel Marant sneaker and the widely adopted Chelsea boot. What are this seasons main contenders?

Slippers & loafers

Influenced by Louboutin’s studded velvet slippers for men in 2009, which were a hit with bloggers internationally, this trend has trickled down from luxury and now mass market are cashing in. New Looks 12.99 Jagger slippers sold out on all sizes within a month of their late April arrival at ASOS.

Loafers have also proved popular and, when heeled, can boost their high street price point beyond that of the slipper. Topshop’s 65 Jansky mid-heeled loafer is stand out in metallic silver and sold out within 10 days of its 14 March arrival in store. Topshop restocked in May, showing their continued support for the trend. At a premium price point, Tod’s 275 bi-coloured loafers have sold out and, some sizes even restocked since April. This trend is certainly seeing some success and there is still room for loafers to flourish across price ranges.

 Dramatic wedge heels

Towering wedges of architectural proportions are big news on the high street right now. Topshop have succeeded with two styles; their Wendy Mega Espadrille at 60, restocked after the initial delivery sold out in two weeks of their 21st March arrival (and despite the catastrophic start to UK summer) and their 60 Western Multi Buckle Wedges, which, despite their peep toe, sold out of the majority of sizes within two months of their January arrival. A subsequent mid-March restock has sold out of four of seven sizes already. River Island is on their second stock of their 50 white platform wedges, having sold out of the first delivery within three weeks of their March arrival.

Platform pumps

Platformed pumps are selling well across designer and high street price points. Yves Saint Laurents $1,450 Tribute snakeskin pumps at Saks Fifth Avenue have been repeatedly restocked since their initial introduction on the 12th March and although stock levels for this price point of shoe will be low, for some sizes, theyve been restocked as many as six times! Dorothy Perkins acted swiftly to get a platformed pump of their own to market: their 65 nude peep toe pump arrived in store on the 13th April and was restocked mid-May.

Pointed courts

Pointed court shoes are selling well at mass market level. Topshop, Forever 21, River Island and New Look have all seen their versions, priced 14.90 58, restocked at least once. Forever 21′s cone heeled version arrived in store as recently as the 10th May and is already in their second restock. Sling backs and velvet fabrications are good directions to take this trend.