What to Expect

FDRA_ What to Count on With Retail Footwear Costs This Yr

ootwear is inherently advanced—requiring quite a few supplies to kind man-made or natural uppers, insoles, outsoles, linings, laces, metallic eyelets, bins and extra—however it’s nonetheless topic to the identical underlying macroeconomic and international forces that have an effect on all vogue classes.

In a presentation at Texworld Evolution NYC final week, Gary Raines, chief economist for the Footwear Distributors and Retailers Affiliation (FDRA), gave historic knowledge and projections for 5 such highly effective forces: cotton (laces), cattle (leather-based), crude oil (synthetics and transport), pulp (tissue and packaging) and currencies (about 96 % of footwear is imported).


Cotton is effectively off its near-term excessive touched almost a yr in the past, and costs have remained flat at about 85 cents a bale these previous few months. Raines sees restricted downward pressures for cotton in coming months.

He expects the U.S. harvest dimension to complete smaller than presently anticipated, which can decrease general provide. “And whereas cotton costs sometimes fall throughout a recession—like copper costs do—we see solely a weak recession forward, suggesting cotton costs could not ebb rather more,” he mentioned.

Cattle, leather-based & hides

Cattle costs sometimes reply to short- and long-term provide and demand fundamentals as effectively. “With the U.S. herd dimension more likely to dwindle once more in 2024, we search for cattle futures to stay close to current 7-year highs effectively by this yr and into 2024,” he mentioned.

This outlook suggests wholesale conceal costs might even see extra upside potential, serving to slim the present value hole with present landed costs. “In flip, any firming in conceal costs suggests the typical landed value of leather-based footwear (common landed value elevated 12 % in 2022 YOY) is more likely to rise in live performance,” Raines mentioned.


Crude oil touches every part in footwear manufacturing and distribution, from artificial rubber to a spread of petrochemicals and polymers to artificial fiber. It additionally drives transport prices, be it over land, sea or air.

Present forecasts anticipate “crude oil costs (now simply shy of $80/barrel) to retreat—modestly—over many of the subsequent two years, owing partly to progressively rising inventories of crude oil and liquid fuels,” mentioned Raines.

Artificial rubber costs are inclined to pattern in keeping with adjustments in crude oil, so the sooner outlook for sagging oil costs additionally suggests a retreat for artificial rubber costs. Raines additionally made the connection between artificial rubbers and “already weak” naturals, projecting that if costs for artificial rubber proceed to say no, then costs for pure rubber additionally could ebb decrease.

Relating to getting footwear to the U.S., oil is a vital issue. Decrease oil costs recommend decrease bunker gas costs used aboard water vessels, implying decrease trans-Pacific prices to maneuver footwear from Asia to the U.S. “We additionally see the amount of containers reaching L.A. and Lengthy Seashore ports has fallen sharply in current months as client demand has slowed,” Raines mentioned. West Coast container volumes have sunk to their lowest ranges since Could 2020 (to 600,000 TEUs).

“Combining these imports and container charges, we see the run-ups, spikes, and up to date plunges in each,” he mentioned, stating that present container charges from China to the U.S. West Coast are down about 91 % yr over yr.

Crude oil costs correlate with diesel costs, so if oil developments decrease over the subsequent two years, retail diesel costs will possible additionally observe. This hints at decrease trucking prices for footwear moved throughout the nation.


Pulp costs don’t simply impression prices for shoe bins and tissue paper for packaging, but additionally cardboard and paperboard utilized in distributing and transport footwear.

Whereas pulp costs are buying and selling at near-record ranges, if inventories proceed to develop sooner than shipments, the stock to gross sales ratio will loosen additional, suggesting lofty pulp costs could plateau after which taper.


Footwear imports jumped to a report excessive in 2022, however duties and import costs on that footwear surged much more, additionally to a report. Over time, adjustments in these duties per pair have trended carefully with the typical landed value, so such larger common landed prices have contributed to larger common retail costs for footwear.

Raines, nonetheless, predicts that upward pattern will change in 2023. “Footwear imports at the moment are rising a lot sooner than footwear spending,” he mentioned. “In impact, provide is outpacing demand, weighing on value.”

China, the biggest provider of footwear to the U.S., naturally has the biggest market impression. The common landed value of footwear from China has decelerated sharply in current months, and FDRA believes that is primarily because of current weak point within the nation’s foreign money. “If this weak point persists, the typical landed value from China is more likely to flip defensive,” Raines mentioned.