2013 is in the books, and it saw new heights for sneaker culture and the industry as a whole. But 2014 looks to be an even bigger year—if that's even possible. Matt Powell, the self-proclaimed sneakerologist for SportsOneSource and sneaker industry veteran, has 10 predictions for sneaker retail and moves that big brands will make.
'14 prediction #10: Internet grows faster than physical stores by wide margin. Retailers begin to close more marginal locations— Matt Powell (@mattSOS) January 1, 2014
We're both on the Internet right now. It's the new move for sneakers. There's a special relationship formed by going to the local Foot Locker, but the larger locations usually carry better product. But for those who aren't fans of going to a crowded store, the Internet will be their go-to spot for the latest releases.
'14 Prediction #9: More retail consolidation. Regional running and urban chains bought up. Brands shutter more Mom&Pop accounts.— Matt Powell (@mattSOS) January 1, 2014
Losing mom-and-pop sneaker stores has been a huge disappointment with the growth of sneaker culture. Mom-and-pop stores were the spots that old and out-of-print sneakers, and they give more specialized service than larger chains. There could be a day when heads talk about these stores like urban legends.
'14 prediction #8: Jordan continues to work to break the gouging by resellers. Controls some of Bot issues, but can't stop it altogether— Matt Powell (@mattSOS) January 1, 2014
Bots have, arguably, ruined sneaker releases. Brands do online releases, and bots are able to snatch up all the RSVP spots or the actual pairs. It would be good all around if Jordan could get sneakers in the hands of people that are buying to wear.
'14 prediction #7: Roshe knock-offs everywhere. Nike even knocks themselves off with Kiashi. Another potential glut in the market— Matt Powell (@mattSOS) January 1, 2014
'14 Prediction #6: Brands accelerate own stores and own internet sites. Will carry more exclusive products at expense of partners— Matt Powell (@mattSOS) January 1, 2014
Nike has really honed in on Nike.com, and releasing product via its own e-commerce site is a digital version of Niketown, but way more accessible. There will be no more traveling to the middle of major cities to score limited-edition sneakers. Hopefully, Foot Locker and FinishLine won't mind too much.
'14 prediction #5: Teen Retail (ANF, etc.) continues to struggle as fashion is on athletic right now. Hoodies, tights, sneakers dominate— Matt Powell (@mattSOS) January 1, 2014
This is a great revelation. Who wants to look like a douchebag anyway?
'14 prediction #4: low tech, old school casual becomes important again, but light weight and with modern make— Matt Powell (@mattSOS) January 1, 2014
There has already been Nike Lunar Force 1s, and the Cortez NM. New Balance gave the 580 a RevLite twist. Vans is even on the bandwagon with the LXVI. But how far can this trend go?
'14 Prediction #3: All white shoes make a nice comeback once spring arrives. Kind of a counter reaction to hot colors. Remember K-Swiss?— Matt Powell (@mattSOS) January 1, 2014
K-Swiss has stopped its focus on trying to fit in with the tech boys. The Stan Smith has come back, and there will always be a focus on the classics.
'14 prediction #2: Retro running will be important. Riding the coattails of retro BB. Won't be lines for releases, but look is fresh— Matt Powell (@mattSOS) January 1, 2014
2013 was the year of the Saucony, ASICS, and New Balance collaborations. Onitsuka Tiger even fit into the mix. The biggest test will be if these brands can venture over into big-time retail. Brooks is even releasing its back catalog for the first time.
2014 prediction #1: There will be a glut of 90's basketball shoes, as every brand that had a 90's player-named shoe brings them back— Matt Powell (@mattSOS) January 1, 2014
If only Saucony will re-release the X-Press as a Spot Bilt sneaker and give Xavier McDaniel his shine.