The lifestyle casual footwear market made a big jump in 2006, growing by 14.4 percent globally, by 16.2 percent in the USA and by 13.6 percent in the rest of the world. The weaker dollar was only partly responsible for this score. Crocs, which we featured in this chart for 2005 as well, made a big difference this time in the total tally, rising from the 12th to the 7th place in the rankings. Without counting in this fast-growing innovative brand, the total market would have only grown by 10.5 percent around the world, with increases of 8.7 percent in the USA and 11.1 percent elsewhere (see table on page 4).

The lifestyle casual footwear market had risen by only 8.7 percent in 2005, while the less comfort-oriented fashion casual shoe market increased by 11.3 percent. The opposite took place in 2006 as the fashion-driven brown shoe market (see table on page 5) rose by only 7.3 percent in dollars last year, with practically no growth at all in the USA. In the rest of the world, these type of shoes fared better than in 2005, showing growth of 13.9 percent against 11.4 percent in the prior year.

Together, these two categories of brown shoes grew by 12 percent worldwide – by 8 percent in the USA and by 14 percent elsewhere. That was much better overall than the rugged outdoor footwear market, which increased by 9.5 percent (see table on page 6), or the athletic footwear market, which went up by 8.5 percent according to our own estimations.

Here again, Crocs made a difference. The athletic footwear market grew by 10.0 percent worldwide if we include Crocs and Skechers into the corresponding chart, as SGI America has done because these brands are also sold in the sporting goods stores. On the other hand, the branded athletic market would have risen by only 7.8 percent without these two brands and without Heelys, another rapidly growing new and innovative brand, known for its patented wheeled shoes, and even less without counting Converse or the expanding lifestyle collections of Nike, Adidas, Puma, ASICS, Vans and many others.

Some brands have exited our brown shoe charts and others have joined them. We no longer feature Pony or XOXO, two brands that were previously in the portfolio of GBMI along with Diesel and Nautica. We don't have figures this time for Dunlop footwear or for Hotter, the British comfort brand, but we have reports about their turnover from other media in the News Briefs of this issue.

We no longer have S. Oliver’s footwear, which is licensed by a new company that doesn’t want to give out its figures for the moment, but we have obtained those relating to the Tommy Hilfiger licenses in the Americas and in Europe. Since the Hilfiger footwear rights belonged to different companies – Stride Rite Corp. in the USA and Hamm in Europe – we have put the respective licensees’ figures on different lines. We have decided to do the same from now on for the Dockers brand, which permanently belongs to Gerli for Europe and is licensed to Genesco for the Americas. A Spanish brand, Chiruca, has joined our outdoor chart.