The so-called brown shoe market rose by 6.7percent to $20.1 billion in 2013, with increases of 4.6 percent in the lifestyle/comfort segment and 9.2 percent in the more fashion-oriented segment, according to an annual survey by Shoe Intelligence. In dollars, sales increased a little less in the U.S. than the rest of the world because of the depreciation of the dollar, which lost 3.2 percent of its value against the euro last year.

Comparing these estimates with those that we have published for two other segments of the brand shoe market in Sporting Goods Intelligence and The Outdoor Industry Compass, the casual footwear market performed a little better than the athletic footwear market, led by Nike, which rose by 4.6 percent to $46.5 billion. It developed a little more slowly than the rugged outdoor footwear market, led by Merrell, which rose by 7.4 percent to $4.3 billion.

The two brown shoe segments are led by Clarks and Skechers, each with a market share approaching 20 percent globally and more than that in the important U.S. market. The higher growth of the fashion segment can be partly attributed to the strong performance of Skechers and a couple of minor players like Analpa, which has a dominant position in Russia, and Superga, which is working through a successful licensing mode outside Italy.

Fly London continued to develop rapidly, especially in the U.S. Lumberjack made a strong comeback under new ownership and management. New on the chart is CCILU, the new brand run by Killick Datta, which began to make its mark in the first full year of operations. However, two denim-related brands, Diesel and Replay, suffered sales declines in their footwear operations.

Two British brands, Dr. Martens and Hotter, outperformed the rest of the industry in the comfort segment of the casual footwear market. While Geox declined less steeply than before, Sperry, one of the two star brands of Wolverine Worldwide, experienced difficulties in the U.S. market but began to expand strongly elsewhere. Birkenstock did not grow as rapidly as before, but continued to post a double-digit increase.

Our figures track down the development of major brands in terms of invoiced sales, i.e. at the wholesale level or through their own stores. Clarks actually has a higher market share because it is the only brand that continues to give us only its wholesale-equivalent revenues. Brands like Skechers, Steve Madden, Timberland, Camper, Ecco, Crocs and Geox have more and more directly-managed stores that are boosting their sales and their growth in the market.

The data in the two charts of this issue are based on public statements, input from management or industry estimates. This time, it took us a little longer than usual to get precise or indicative figures from some companies that we had featured in our charts before, but we will not be prepared to wait so long next year.

As we did not get any feedback after numerous inquiries, we decided to take some brands out of the chart, hoping that they will be more cooperative in the future. One of them is the big Wolverine group, which has made our estimates more difficult because of the latest reorganization of its various segments. We have kept an estimate for Sperry's footwear sales including licenses, though. 

To download the Lifestyle chart, click HERE
To download the Fashion chart, click HERE