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Future Market Insights, Inc.

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Future Market Insights

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Sustainable Footwear Market Snapshot (2023 to 2033)

The sustainable footwear market is anticipated to increase to an impressive valuation of US$ 9.59 billion in 2023 and is poised to exhibit a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6% from 2023 to 2033 and reach US$ 17.18 billion in 2033.

Advances in the sustainable space, in addition to material processing techniques and operability, are credited to industry growth. This demand for sustainable footwear is expected to grow significantly in the coming years owing to a variety of factors. Customer increasing awareness, which is prompting makers to advance their marketing efforts. The growing number of youth worldwide, combined with their notable consumer spending, is expected to favor market expansion during the forecast period.

Over the decades, sustainability has been recognized as a significant trend. Many researchers estimate that manufacturing innovations will continue to acquire traction.

Many notable market players, including Nike and Adidas, contributed to more feasible manufacturing processes, such as lower labor costs and waste. The digital revolution also enables the production of sample footwear using quality materials, as well as the utilization of a 3-D printer to anticipate a single shoe in various aspects, styles, and colors.

In terms of the distribution chain, sustainability makes a perfect business experience, and when both businesses and their clients are involved throughout the production process, it sparks a consensual agenda centered on more cognizant footwear manufacturing.

According to recent data, approximately 300 million sets of footwear are discarded every year, and it takes 30-40 years for a pair to entirely degrade in landfills. In 2019, the use of recyclable materials in footwear enhanced by 70% year on year. Sustainable footwear is on the rise, due to the development of startups, engaged initiatives by premium companies, and permeation into footwear by sustainability players.

The time has come for shoe manufacturers to make substantial progress in circularity and sustainability. These are comprehensive shifts that include increasing the use of recycled, eco-friendly, and bio-based components, as well as experimenting with new methods to create, design, and package.

Asia Pacific (APAC) brands are ahead of the pack when it comes to making liable footwear preferences. Through financing sustainable solutions in Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam, sustainability-focused activities such as "Fashion for Good" strive to trigger fundamental changes all across the footwear and apparel distribution network.

In a similar vein, feasible footwear manufacturers are arising in Europe to increase supply while also assisting in shaping the footwear industry in a positive direction. The high proportion of fashion-conscious customers who are ready to pay premium rates for the goods they regard is capturing the interest of stakeholders.

Moreover, the European Commission has launched the 2020 European Social Innovation Competition with the goal of improving fashion's ecological footprint.

On the contrary, hand, increased awareness about sustainable apparel and the increased usage of inventive technologies and materials including pinatex, apple leather, and 3D knit recycled polyester are cruising market growth in North America.

While identified sustainable footwear vendors have been concentrating on sustainability and making it a pillar of their company from the beginning, emerging participants are advancing into the sustainable footwear progression.

  • Adidas is developing and evaluating footwear made entirely of recyclable materials. Furthermore, the company has publicly pledged to use only environmentally friendly materials in their goods by 2024.
  • Giesswein Footwear is composed primarily of Merino wool from small, individual farmlands where well-being is a primary concern. It has also implemented a zero-waste policy, which requires that all excess wool scraps from the production process be recycled and merged into other goods.

Data Points

Key Statistics

Expected Market Value (2023)

US$ 9.59 billion

Anticipated Forecast Value (2033)

US$ 17.18 billion

Projected Growth Rate (2023 to 2033)

6% CAGR

Sustainability has become a buzzword in the fashion world at present, and the trend is sweeping the footwear vertical too. Footwear accounts for a fifth of the environmental impact created by the overall apparel industry, with over 700 million metric tons of CO2 generated as a byproduct of its production and raw material extraction every year.

As social conscience becomes a bigger platform for innovation and fuel to trigger step-change improvements within the footwear industry, NPD data reveals that 36% of individuals aging 18-34 years have done shopping in the recent past to support brands’ social position.

This creates a meaningful opportunity for brands to capture value from increasingly conscious customers. Companies need to be forward-thinking and have an ecological and social responsibility to flourish in the near future.

Customers that will represent the largest customer base prioritize these issues, and companies must over-communicate their market position to retain them in the sustainable footwear market that is both growing and transforming.

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Sustainable Footwear Market - Key Trends and Drivers

Sustainability makes true business sense with regards to the supply chain, and that when both companies and customers are engaged throughout the value chain, it triggers a mutual agenda advancing around more conscious footwear manufacturing.

Recent data reveals that about 300 million pairs of footwear are disposed each year and, on an average, it requires 30-40 years for a pair to completely decompose in landfills.

Adoption of recycled materials in footwear leaped 70% y-o-y in 2019. With emergence of startups, committed efforts by established brands, and penetration into footwear by sustainability leaders, sustainable footwear is witnessing an uptick.

The time is ripe where shoe makers are making considerable strides in circularity and sustainability. These are holistic shifts which include boosting the adoption of recycled, renewable, and bio-based materials, while also exploring innovative ways to produce, design, and package.

Sustainable Footwear Market - Growth Restraints

Majority of players in sustainable footwear market find it challenging to invest in technology and talent to develop fully sustainable footwear from scratch. As such, some manufacturers are seeking more creative ways to join this movement.

Due to factors such as complexity, size, and lack of proper infrastructure for recycling or repair, the footwear industry is yet to leverage the full potential of sustainability without alienating customers.

Raw materials required to manufacture sustainable footwear are relatively expensive compared to that used in production of conventional footwear. That said, technological advances in terms of recycling fabrics more effectively are slated to curb the cost of obtaining raw materials in the coming years.

Sneha Verghese
Sneha Verghese

Principal Consultant

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Sustainable Footwear Market - Regional Analysis

Asia Pacific (APAC) brands are leading the pack in ensuring responsible footwear choices. Sustainability-focused initiatives such as “Fashion For Good” aims to trigger transmutations at the structural level throughout the footwear and apparel supply chain via funding sustainable innovations in Bangladesh, India, and Vietnam.

Much in the same vein, sustainable footwear brands in Europe are emerging to meet the demand as well as help transform the footwear industry for the better. Rising number of fashion-conscious consumers who are willing to pay premium for the products they value is further attracting stakeholders’ attention.

Furthermore, the European Commission has introduced the 2020 European Social Innovation Competition with an aim to enhance the eco-friendly and social impact of fashion.

To address these challenges, the competition is seeking creative solutions that promote sustainable production, usage and adoption of fashion, as well as the shelf life of fashion products.

Sustainable Footwear Market - Competition Analysis

While established sustainable footwear manufacturers are already focusing on sustainability and have made it a pillar for their business from the early stage, emerging players are leapfrogging onto the sustainable footwear movement.

  • Adidas is developing and testing footwear derived from 100% recyclable materials. In addition, brand has publicly pledged to bank solely on eco-friendly materials in their products by 2024
  • Giesswein exclusively uses Merino wool in its footwear that is made from small, independent farmlands where animal welfare is a key priority. It has also imposed a zero-waste policy to ensure all left-over wool scraps from the manufacturing process are recycled and blended into other products
  • Reebok has announced a running sneaker that incorporates plant-sourced, instead of petroleum-based materials
  • Reformation utilizes bio-based materials rather than plastic inside their heels, and water-based adhesives in place of toxic glues that most manufacturers bank on for shoe assembly.

Players in the sustainable footwear market include Adidas Group, Native shoes, Tropicalfeel, Nike, Rothy’s, Veja, Reformation, Nisolo, New Balance, MATISSE FOOTWEAR, Amour Vert, and Threads 4 thought.

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Sustainable Footwear Market - Segment Analysis

By Type:

  • Athletic
  • Non-athletic

By End User:

  • Men
  • Women
  • Children

By Region:

  • North America (USA, Canada)
  • Latin America (Mexico, Brazil)
  • Europe (Germany, United Kingdom, France, Italy, Spain, Poland, Russia)
  • East Asia (China, Japan, South Korea)
  • South Asia (India, Thailand, Malaysia, Vietnam, Indonesia)
  • Oceania (Australia, New Zealand)
  • Middle East & Africa (GCC Countries, Turkey, Northern Africa, South Africa)

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