What is the average cost of shoes?

Your choice of shoes can make or break your outfit. Though, with so many options to choose from, personal budget constraints, and taste-related preferences, finding the best pairs for you can be overwhelming.

Much of the time, how much you should spend on a given product depends on how much said product typically costs. Retail shoe prices can typically range from $50 to $1,500, and this is based on overall manufacturing and marketing costs. Though, this is a pretty big range.

So, how much are your shoes costing you on average? Read on to find out.

First, let’s break down the cost of manufacturing and marketing

Companies make their profits by selling shoes at prices that exceed the cost of manufacturing. Labor plays into the cost of manufacturing, which many companies attempt to minimize by seeking low-cost labor in Asia.

Another way companies reduce costs is by using automated machinery over manual labor. Shoes made on an assembly line generally cost less than those that are handmade, because the cost of employing skilled shoemakers, particularly in the United States, is much more than what it would cost to invest in machinery.
In some cases, marketing allows for a significant markup. Endorsements from athletes and celebrities can help shoe brands sell their products for much more than they would otherwise. (This is particularly true for sneakers.) And as Investopedia points out, generating some hype on social media while keeping supplies just below demand can help purveyors maximize their profits. (This is why you might find a New Balance sneaker for $260 on a third-party website as it continues to sell out on the brand’s website.)


Then, we can talk about the role of inflation

In June 2021, the consumer price index, which is the weighted average of the price of goods, rose more than five percent, marking the fastest recorded rate of inflation since the summer of 2008. Footwear prices jumped more than six percent yearly, with women’s footwear enduring the sharpest spike, up to seven percent, in over three decades, Footwear News reported.

On the flip side, the producer price index, which is a measure of costs for the manufacturers, rose nearly 10 percent for the 12 months ended in November 2021, the largest advance since 12-month data were first calculated in 2010, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Some of this has to do with surging supply chain costs caused by worldwide freight congestion. Additional duties on imports, a pre-pandemic Trump-era policy, also plays a role. So while retail sales are expected to rebound thanks to higher demand for shoes for events, travel, professional purposes, further price increases could be ahead if current conditions don’t let up.

Here’s the takeaway

According to the Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America, a trade group that represents more than 500 companies, the average wholesale cost of footwear rose in May to $11.04 per pair, the highest May level on record, driven by a 10.2% jump in the cost of children’s footwear imports. (In a letter to President Biden earlier this year, the organization highlighted that kids’ shoe prices have now reached the highest in over 70 years, with import taxes often making up 30 percent of the price.)
With or without the import taxes, for businesses to make a profit, the cost to make a given pair of shoes is marked up tens if not hundreds of times, depending on the designer. Expensive shoes might have higher manufacturing costs, but they also could be, to some degree and like in the case of say, sneakers, overhyped. So, alas, the answer to the initial question posed in this article, which relates to the overall average cost of shoes to the consumer, requires more organized data on the types of shoes available and each company’s markup.


Might you consider a pair of handmade shoes?

With over 20 years in the fashion industry, Esquivel Shoes takes pride in being a valuable resource for shoppers. Given all that it entails to produce a pair of shoes by hand, we can safely say that this category of footwear is generally of great value. To learn more about our handmade shoe collection or any other products we offer, send us a message through this link. We’re here to give you peace of mind and help you find the best handcrafted shoes for you.

George Esquivel

George Esquivel

George is a Southern California-based designer and craftsman who designed his first pair of shoes in 1994 and began honing his craft thereafter. For over 20 years, he’s operated his namesake brand, Esquivel, which specializes in handmade shoes and accessories. In the last decade, George served as Creative Director of renowned luxury bag and luggage brand Tumi Inc. and as Creative Consultant for Italian heritage brand Fratelli Rossetti, and has collaborated with many others for his own brand. George was a 2009 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist, and has been a CFDA member since 2010. When he’s not working alongside his team of artisans at his atelier, Esquivel House, in Downtown Los Angeles, George is enjoying time with his wife and high school sweetheart, Shelley, and their three grown children. He also loves mountain biking and hosting good friends for dinners and fêtes.