The footwear market can be divided into segments, each with its own needs and wants. The key to successful marketing is understanding these different segments and targeting them with the right products.

One of the most popular methods for performing footwear market segmentation uses demographic factors like age and gender.

Other methods use psychographic factors like lifestyle and personality type, as well as behavioral factors like how someone intends to use their footwear.

In fact, usage is often the key governing factor in a consumer’s purchase decision for a new pair of footwear.

For instance, someone looking for a pair of shoes to go hiking in will look for hiking boots and ignore other types of footwear.

In this article, we will segment the footwear market using the following 10 variables: type of footwear, price range, color, material, technology, the occasion of use, gender, age group, lifestyle, and frequency of purchase.

But first, let’s start by understanding why it is important to use market segmentation when selling footwear.

The Importance of Segmentation of the Footwear Market

The segmentation of the footwear market is essential because it allows footwear manufacturers and retailers to target specific groups of consumers with laser precision.

By understanding the needs and wants of different segments, businesses can create products that are more likely to appeal to them and retailers can stock footwear that their customers are most likely to buy.

The market for footwear ranges from those looking for a practical everyday pair of footwear to those searching for a specialty item.

There exist footwear for every budget and every style, but not all types of footwear are equally popular with all consumers.

By segmenting the market, businesses can identify which type of footwear is most popular with each group and target their marketing and sales efforts accordingly.

Variables for Footwear Market Segmentation

Footwear market segmentation can be performed along the following 10 axes:

  1. Type of Footwear
  2. Price range
  3. Color
  4. Material
  5. Technology
  6. Occasion
  7. Gender
  8. Age group
  9. Lifestyle and
  10. Frequency of purchase

Most footwear manufacturers cannot possibly cater to all footwear buyers, so they must focus on those segments that are most likely to buy their products.

This also has an impact on branding because different segments will respond to different marketing messages. Also, a brand that establishes itself as a specialty footwear brand cannot easily switch to targeting the budget footwear market without damaging its reputation.

For example, footwear that is marketed as a stylish accessory for young women is likely to have a very different branding from one that is targeted at busy working mothers.

It is also important to note that footwear is often bought for specific occasions – a hiking trip, a business meeting, a wedding, a beach vacation, etc. So the occasion for purchase is also an important variable to consider. This is why many retailers perform occasion segmentation to target different consumers on different occasions.

It is therefore essential that businesses decide which segments they want to target and then design their footwear products, marketing, and sales strategy accordingly.

Let’s now look in detail at each of the 10 variables used in footwear market segmentation.

#1. Segmentation Based on Footwear Type

Footwear comes in various styles like boots, sneakers, sandals, dress shoes, and more. Different types of footwear are suitable for different occasions and activities.

Boots, for instance, are typically worn in cold weather or for outdoor activities like hiking. Sneakers are usually seen as casual footwear and are popular with younger consumers.

When people buy shoes, they also do so for different uses like running, walking, homewear, garden wear, etc.

Dress shoes are more formal and are often worn to work or for special occasions like weddings. Sandals are mostly worn in the summertime, on the beach or for leisure activities.

Different segments of buyers will have different preferences for the type of footwear they want to purchase.

For example, older consumers might prefer more traditional and comfortable styles of footwear such as loafers while younger consumers might be more open to trying out new trends like sneakers with Velcro straps.

#2. Segmentation Based on Footwear Price Range

One of the most obvious ways to segment the footwear market is by price range. Footwear can be divided into three broad categories: budget, mid-priced, and luxury.

Budget footwear is typically mass-produced and sold at a lower price point. Mid-priced footwear is usually of better quality than budget options but not as expensive as luxury brands.

Luxury footwear is made with high-quality materials and craftsmanship and comes with a higher price tag.

Budget footwear is popular with younger shoppers and those on a tight budget. Mid-priced footwear is popular with a wide range of consumers, from college students to busy moms.

Luxury footwear is popular with affluent shoppers and those who want to make a statement or have money to splurge.

#3. Segmentation Based on Footwear Color

While footwear manufacturers spend a lot of time on footwear technology and comfort, many consumers make their purchase decision based solely on looks and therefore on the footwear’s color.

For instance, a black dress shoe will be seen as more formal than a green one. A white sneaker might be seen as more casual than a black one.

Of course, there are also neutral colors like grey and tan that can go with everything. And then there are bolder colors like red or pink that make a statement.

Some footwear brands cater to specific segments by offering a wide range of colors to choose from while others focus on a more limited color palette.

For example, TOMS shoes are known for their wide range of colors and patterns while Steve Madden focuses on a more limited range of colors each season.

Color segmentation is therefore an important way to target different footwear consumers.

#4. Segmentation Based on Footwear Material

The material that footwear is made from is another important consideration for consumers. Footwear can be made from a wide range of materials like leather, suede, canvas, rubber, and more.

Each material has its own advantages and disadvantages. For instance, leather is durable but can be expensive. Suede is softer than leather but gets dirty easily.

Canvas is lightweight and breathable but not as durable. Rubber is waterproof but can be less comfortable.

Different materials are better suited for different activities and occasions. For example, leather dress shoes are more formal than canvas sneakers.

Hiking boots are usually made from tough materials like leather or rubber to withstand the elements. Some footwear brands focus on using eco-friendly materials like bamboo or recycled plastic. For instance, adidas has shoes made from recycled plastic waste.

Other brands use a mix of different materials to create unique footwear styles. For example, Skechers’ D’Lites footwear combines leather, mesh, and foam to create a retro-inspired sneaker.

#5. Segmentation Based on Footwear Technology

Footwear brands are always looking for new ways to improve the comfort, fit, and performance of their footwear.

As a result, footwear technology has come a long way in recent years. Some common examples of footwear technology include arch support, cushioning, waterproofing, and more.

Some footwear brands focus on creating the most technologically advanced footwear possible while others focus on more traditional designs.

For example, ASICS is known for its innovative footwear technology while Converse focuses on classic sneaker designs.

Footwear technology is an important consideration for many consumers, especially those who are looking for footwear to use for specific activities like running or hiking.

Some consumers are willing to pay a premium for footwear with the latest technology because it can help them in different ways like walking better, reducing pain, or improving sporting performance.

#6. Segmentation Based on Occasion of Purchase

People purchase different types of footwear for different occasions.

Some footwear is more formal while other footwear is more casual. Some footwear is only suitable for specific activities.

For example, people wouldn’t wear hiking boots to a wedding but they might wear them on a nature hike.

People usually have different footwear for different occasions and some people have a larger collection of footwear than others.

Some people might only own a few pairs of shoes while others might have a closet full of footwear for different occasions.

Footwear brands often segment their products based on the occasion of purchase, including different types of activities or sports. For example, Nike offers footwear for running, basketball, football, tennis, and more.

Other brands like TOMS focus on more casual footwear while other brands like Birkenstock focus on comfortable footwear for everyday wear.

Retailers often use occasion segmentation to change their footwear displays based on the season and time of year. For example, in the summer they might display more sandals and in the winter they might display more boots.

#7. Footwear Market Segmentation Based on Gender

Most footwear brands segment their products based on gender. Men’s footwear is usually designed differently than women’s footwear.

For example, men’s shoes tend to be wider than women’s shoes. Women’s shoes also tend to have a more slender and feminine silhouette.

Color also plays a role in footwear segmentation based on gender. Men’s footwear is often available in more subdued colors while women’s footwear is available in a wider range of colors including bright ones.

However, some footwear brands offer unisex or gender-neutral footwear. For example, TOMS offers a variety of footwear styles for both men and women.

Other brands like Nike offer some unisex footwear styles but also offer a wide range of footwear specifically designed for either men or women.

Gender segmentation is an important consideration for footwear brands because people usually have a preference for either male or female footwear and buying habits vary based on the gender of the shopper.

#8. Footwear Market Segmentation Based on Age

Age is an important factor to consider when segmenting the footwear market.

For example, children’s footwear is usually designed differently than adult footwear.

Children’s shoes are often more brightly colored and have fun designs while adult shoes tend to be more subdued and classic in design.

Many children’s shoes are also branded with the latest kids’ movies. For instance, when the movie ‘Cars’ by Disney and Pixar came out, shoes with ‘Lightning McQueen’ were all the rage.

Age segmentation is important for footwear brands because people’s footwear needs change as they age.

For example, a young child might need footwear that is easy to put on and take off while an older adult might need footwear with more support.

Footwear brands often segment their products based on the age group to better meet the needs of their customers.

#9. Footwear Market Segmentation Based on Lifestyle

People’s lifestyles often impact the footwear they purchase.

For instance, someone with an active lifestyle is likely to choose different footwear than someone with a sedentary lifestyle.

People who live in warm climates are also likely to purchase different footwear than people who live in cold climates.

People who work a lot while standing on their feet are also likely to purchase different footwear than people who spend most of their time sitting.

This is why footwear brands often consider lifestyle segmentation when marketing their products.

#10. Footwear Market Segmentation Based on Frequency of Purchase

The final factor we will consider is the frequency of purchase. This is an important factor as it dictates how much money a customer is likely to spend on a pair of footwear.

For instance, someone who only buys footwear every few years is likely to spend more on it than someone who buys a new pair every few months.

Frequency of purchase can also be used to segment the footwear market by those who are looking for footwear for everyday use and those who view it as a fashion accessory that they are willing to spend more money on but will only purchase occasionally.


As you can see, the target market for footwear can be segmented using many, many variables and can be analyzed from different angles.

In this article, we performed footwear market segmentation following these 10 factors: type of footwear, price range, color, material, technology, the occasion of use, gender, age group, lifestyle, and frequency of purchase.

Footwear manufacturers and retailers often use market segmentation to better understand their customers and figure out how to appeal to them.

With footwear market segmentation, they can better understand which types of footwear are likely to sell well and can target their audiences more effectively.