Athletic Footwear Sales Peak Leading Up to Back-to-School

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Jordan TR '97 Mid - Girls' Grade School at Foot Locker

Jordan TR ’97 Mid – Girls’ Grade School at Foot Locker

Port Washington, NY– Athletic footwear sales rise every year among adults and especially among children in the weeks leading up to the start of school, with basketball footwear being the push behind this year’s increase, according to global information company The NPD Group.

The total athletic footwear market grew 3%, and children’s footwear alone grew 5% in the four weeks ending August 17. Children’s sales began to ramp up in mid-July and peaked the second week of August, which is the biggest month for children’s footwear sales, followed by December. This coincides with the two biggest shopping seasons of the year: holiday and back-to-school.

Not Just for Gym Class

“In terms of back-to-school shopping priorities, parents view footwear as one of the early must-haves for their children, because shoes don’t usually survive for a second year. Kids either outgrow or wear out their shoes each year, unlike other items such as backpacks and lunchboxes. So, it’s no surprise that footwear is among the top items on the list of back-to-school necessities,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst, The NPD Group. “While parents prioritize footwear, kids choose it based on brand, color, style, and overall lifestyle, especially when it comes to athletic footwear. Coinciding with the growing activewear trend of stylish comfort, athletic shoes are worn for every season and all occasions, not just for gym class and the playground, which enhances the need, want, and demand for athletic footwear among kids.”


The basketball-related footwear category in particular is capitalizing on this back-to-school trend, with a 70% jump in children’s basketball shoe sales during this time period. This category now represents 26% of the total children’s volume, up from 17% of sales in 2013 and 14% in 2012.

“Basketball-related footwear has been a dominant player in the athletic shoe market this year, with its success in terms of bright colors, unique style, innovation and new product launches, characteristics that capture the attention of kids as well as their parents. This footwear in particular is very appealing to kids, regardless of their lifestyle,” added Cohen.

About The NPD Group Inc.

The NPD Group provides global information and advisory services to drive better business decisions. By combining data assets with unmatched industry expertise, NPD helps clients track their markets, understand consumers, and drive profitable growth. Sectors covered include automotive, beauty, consumer electronics, entertainment, fashion, food/food service, home, luxury, mobile, office supplies, sports, technology, toys, and video games. For more information, visit and


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