why are shoes so expensive?

by Kevin Tunstall
Updated on

So, why are shoes so expensive?

Everyone wants a fancy pair of shoes that also offers functionality.

Shoes are, after all, one of the most important parts of our wardrobe.

The part they play in completing a great look cannot be undermined. They have the ability to make or break your appearance.

But great shoes, like all other good things, do not come cheap. What is the reason behind their hefty price tags? Let us take a look at some possible factors.

why are shoes so expensive?


The price of a pair of shoes depends largely on its quality. The better the quality standards, the pricier the shoes will be.

If a shoe has been specially designed for professional athletes with a lot of attention being paid to every minor detail, its price is naturally going to be more than an average pair of footwear.

Of course a shoe that has been made to be used by professionals will have a lot better quality standards than any other pair.

The price of both formal and casual shoes depends largely on the quality of materials used to make them.

And since the intended audience can afford to pay higher prices, these shoes cost more too.


Shoes can be made from a large variety of raw materials.

In the earlier days, shoes were made only from canvas, leather or wood. Now they can be made using a variety of whole new materials like plastic, rubber and petrochemical-derived materials.

The cost of a pair of shoes depends on the overall cost of the material that has been used in its making. And if you want to buy shoes that have been made for high quality material, then you are going to have to pay more for it.


The footwear industry has been no stranger to innovation. The competition in the industry is fierce.

Only those who are willing to adapt and change survive in the long run. Every company is trying to get a hold of the next big thing before the others.

Many big names of the industry have their own research and development teams who work day and night to invent the latest tech in the game. All this adds more to the price tag.

For example, the latest HyperAdapt shoes manufactured by Nike cost a lot to produce. A lot of work and research was also put into the invention of this tech.

These shoes have a unique self-lacing ability that makes them adjust to the shape of your foot perfectly. Sounds highly intriguing, doesn’t it? 

All these technologies takes months and years to develop and it does adds to the price of shoes.

Means of Production

Some companies still employ skilled shoemakers who work on the products with their hands.

A good example would be top quality Italian shoes. These shoes offer extraordinary levels of comfort to the user. They are specially designed, keeping in mind the exact foot shape and size.

This means that are practically a heaven like feel for your feet. Of course, they cost much more than a pair that has been mass produced in a regular factory.

But the advantages they offer justify their price. 


Even some shoe firms want to maintain an exclusive, premium image.

They often launch shoes that are produced only in limited quantities. They may even collaborate with some renowned designer or celebrity for the same.

Like the Air Force 1 sneakers launched by Nike in collaboration with Louis Vuitton. Since people are aware of their limited availability, and the associated sense of elite status that comes with them, they are willing to pay more for them. 


It may sound slightly unbelievable but manufacturers spend up to millions of dollars on the marketing of shoes.

You need to make a good strategy that will intrigue your customer enough to make them spend money on your launch. If you hit the right nerve with your consumer, you might be able to sell millions of dollars’ worth of product very quickly. 

A very good example would be Lil Nas X’s Satan shoes. Launched to promote his new album, the shoes were marketed as pretty mysterious and devilish.

Although the shoes themselves were very creatively designed, that was not what lured so many people into buying them. The trick here was creating some outrageous rumours- one of them was that each pair contained a drop of human blood in them.

This successfully captured the attention of fans. The result? The limited edition shoes were sold out within an hour!

Brand Value 

The brand value of a company has a large impact on the price of any product. If you buy shoes from a company that has enjoyed popularity and a good reputation in the industry for decades, you will be asked to pay a premium for the same.

For example, a good pair of formal shoes by Gucci would cost you around $850. Does the actual material and input cost that much? Probably not. But can you question what Gucci decides to sell its shoes for? Again, no. 

These companies also have a very loyal and dedicated customer base. This means that their market demand is always high. And when demand is high and the supply is limited, prices naturally spike.


If a particular brand or line is in trend at the moment, you can bet that they will be priced accordingly.

This is true of Nike’s Air Jordans or Adidas’ Yeezy shoes. These shoes have been trending for years now, and as a result they are either available at very high prices or completely out of stock. 

These shoes sell well above their marked prices because of the hype they have created.

How Much Should I Spend?

You should always be careful in selecting the right pair of shoes for yourself. While every pair you own does not need to be exquisite, spending on a fancy pair once in a while probably would not hurt. 

But be careful to not indulge in overspending. A person goes through a lot of shoes throughout his lifetime. Every type of occasion calls for a different type of pair. Buy shoes that are priced reasonably for you. But do not buy too cheap a pair either. You do not want the sole starting to look worse for the wear in just a few days. Plan your budget and allot a fair amount to spend on them.

the bottom line:

Shoes can definitely pretty expensive and their are some valid reasons behind that.

It is important to understand which shoes are worth spending on and which arent. I would recommend spending a bit of money on the basic shoes like a black formal shoe and a good sneaker to build a good foundation for your wardrobe.

You only need a few type of shoes to build a good minimalist wardrobe and shouldnt cheap out on them.

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About the author

Kevin Tunstall

Kevin is a Men's dating and image consultant. He writes about relationships and lifestyle-related topics on Dapperclan. He loves helping men improve themselves and to achieve meaningful relationships.


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