As in 2013, the fashion-oriented segment of the branded “brown shoe market,” led by Skechers rose in 2014 faster than the more comfort-oriented lifestyle segment, led by Clarks. Based on an annual survey conducted by Shoe Intelligence, the fashion casual footwear market went up by 10.1 percent last year in terms of invoiced sales in dollars, reaching a level of $10.5 billion. in contrast, the lifestyle causal footwear market rose by 6.2 percent to $11.9 billion. The trends were more or less similar in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

As reported in our sister publications, Sporting Goods Intelligence Europe and The Outdoor Industry Compass, the much larger branded athletic footwear market, led by Nike, increased by 11.1 percent to $52.6 billion in 2014, while the rugged outdoor footwear market, led by Merrell and Salomon, made the strongest progress, rising by 14.6 percent to $4.9 billion. The cold weather in North America last autumn was probably a factor.

All the figures in our charts are converted to U.S. dollars at the average rate calculated by the OECD for the year. In contrast with previous years, the exchange rate of the U.S. dollar verus the euro remained more or less the same in 2014 as it was in 2013, but this will change for 2015. Clarks benefited from a slight depreciation of the pound sterling.

Most of the figures in the two exclusive brown shoe charts that we are presenting in this issue are based on data published by the brands or made available to us by their management, but in many cases we had to guess in the absence of any guidance. The exercise was particularly difficult this year for the comfort segment, perhaps because it is not performing as well as before.

After eliminating Joseph Seibel and Mephisto from the listing, we have decided to do the same for FinnComfort, Waldläufer and Hotter. We have also taken Diesel footwear out of the chart, as we could not update its numers. On the other hand, we have created a new entry for Wolverine Worldwide's Lifestyle division, mentioning only the official numbers and excluding those of the licensees, as we could got get any details for Sperry and other group brands like in the good old days. On the other hand, we have added the German-based Berkemann Group, comprising Berkemann, Marc Shoes and Solidus.

The figures for Clarks and many other brands on our chart are meant to be wholesale-equivalent sales, including any licensees' sales, and they concern footwear only, to the exclusion of other types of products. However, e-commerce and corporate mono-brand stores are becoming a growing component in the brands' revenue mix. Without counting them, the sales figures for brands like Ecco, Crocs, Skechers, Ugg, Timberland, Steve Madden and some other brands would be lower.

With its new management and its new strategy, Birkenstock scored an impressive 75 percent sales increase in 2014, preventing the overall comfort segment from recording a lower increase. Dr. Martens and The Flexx continued to grow briskly, and Geox resumed its growth.

The four major players in the comfort segment of the casual footwear market lost market share. Instead, the three major players in the lifestyle segment increased their leadership, with Skechers, Ugg and Timberland representing 22.7 percent, 15.0 percent andf 11.0 percent of the global market. Analpa, the Russian group that owns Keddo and other footwear brands, probably suffered less than the Russian market as a whole. Superga and CCILU, the young Asian brand run by Killick Datta, made impressive gains.

Click HERE to donwload the Fashion Casual chart.
Click HERE to download the Lifestile Casual chart