Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The hard life of High-end sneaker Shops in Toronto

High-end sneakers have always found its place on the market of Toronto with a not too big but big enough part of consumers searching for stylish shoes. Their really unique style and good mix of colors make them attractive enough for some to worth affording the high price that comes with them, although it’s not the opinion of the major part of the Torontonian consumers, and that has become a big problem for the shops that sell those kind of shoes since the recent recession.

A lot of factors come into consideration when a consumer has to decide whether he is willing to buy a pair of shoes in a high-end sneaker Shop, or not. The first one is, obviously, the price of this kind of shoes. Is a consumer ready to buy an expensive pair of sneakers that he will most likely wear once every 3 weeks because he will simply not be willing to wear them on every occasion? This is even truer nowadays: “In this economy, young adults who are becoming increasingly more financially conscious, aren't going to drop big dollars for something that they can't utilize often. We see a huge increase in $60 Vans and Chuck Taylor's because they're simple, straight forward, convenient for every occasion and look good.” In those sentences, blogger writing under the name of Blash resumes the real situation of today. Within the last few years, high-end sneaker-only shops such as Cartel and Stolen Riches closed for good because their attendance, which didn’t want to pay highly-priced shoes anymore, just disappeared as the recession was still going on. Furthermore, other shops selling a good variety of shoes (fancy, casual, simple) such as Get Outside, which is selling Vans and Chuck Taylor’s shoes as well, are still going well on the shoes market of Toronto.

The second factor comes into mind of the consumer as he’s staring at the price written aside the high-end sneakers: “Can I have the same shoes for less and maybe more choice of colors and style on the manufacturer website?” In fact, the manufacturer has almost always more to offer on his website than a high-end shoes shop could ever do in store. However, in order to buy those shoes online, you have to wait for them to arrive at home and pay an extra delivering fee, and that’s not something everybody is willing to go for.

Finally, as it is not every consumer that is ready to pay highly priced shoes very often, and in reality really few are going to afford that price today, the only way high-end sneaker shops are going to exist on the market of Toronto is by selling other stuff than only high-end sneakers. The skateboard shop So Hip It Hurts is currently doing that perfectly. Climbing up the stairs, entering the shop we can see a whole wall covered by Supra shoes (high-end sneakers), and going deeper in the shop we can also see skateboarding-style clothes such as t-shirts, jeans, sweaters of brands like Element, Quick Silver, Hurley, O’neil, etc.This assures the store to sell enough stuff to even make profits, and that’s how they will be able to stay alive, as a high-end sneaker shop, for a longer time. Now, we have to hope that many more shops of this kind are going to follow the same path that So Hip It Hurts has taken.

Words by Guillaume Dubé; photos by Audrey Dostie

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