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Decoded: The Sneaker Industry


Sneakers have forever been one of the statement pieces in a person’s wardrobe and the sneaker game has been revolutionized with the entry of flagship sneakers. They have become a fashion accessory for a lot of people, and have grown from being single-faceted to multi-faceted. Over time, the number of silhouettes has also gone up, from just looking good at one’s feet to being comfortable and functional. The mixing of different segments has brought in new developments and innovations in this space like athleisure sneakers, casual sneakers, semi-casual sneakers, etc. The good news is that there has been an upsurge of interest in the sneaker industry on account of potential customers wanting to wear a particular shoe more than the rest. According to a report “India is going to be the fastest growing sneaker market as compared to the other markets. The US, Europe and Japan are already hitting their peak right now and India is still at a nascent stage. In fact, in south-east Asia, there are more mature markets than India like Singapore, Thailand, China but the sneaker culture would be exponential for us,” said Sangeet Paryani, co-founder, Superkicks in an interaction with Entrepreneur India.

The upwards trajectory in sneaker industry can be seen since the onset of the pandemic. “Pandemic was fortunately a time of great scale for us, since the business was at an extremely nascent stage. Post pandemic too has been a blessing. We are very grateful as a team for witnessing such strong traction throughout,” said Vedant Lamba, founder, Mainstreet Marketplace, a retail and reselling brand.


Despite the trend starting out in the West, India is catching up fast. The country in essence is following a similar roadmap to that of the USA. The fact of the matter is that the teenagers and GenZ are willing to shell out the cash that is needed to purchase these sneakers. The hip-hop culture has played the role of a catalyst. Sneakers have been a focal point in the hip-hop industry for a while now and the same theme has been carried over to India. Sneaker resellers too have entered the market and are boosting the numbers in the sneaker industry.


Over the last few years, Indian sneaker culture has seen exponential growth. The sector has opened up different avenues. The younger generation is conscious about who is wearing the crispiest and dopest sneakers. Sneakers have widely been regarded as the means to express a person’s persona and what they are feeling. Brands are noticing development in the market as it is set to mature with massive adoption in the future. Brands like Nike, Adidas, Converse, Vans have entered the market in an attempt to dominate the market. In fact, these brands are trying to promote social causes via their different models. Adidas launched its pride collection, Nike has aligned itself to various social campaigns including making signature sneakers especially for the Black History Month (Nike BHM), etc. Besides them, sneaker boutiques have also opened up across the country, furthering the cause of introducing the high-demand sneakers as well as some limited editions to the Indian consumers.


Apart from big brands, startups too are capitalising on the sneaker trend. Startups like Neeman’s and Flatheads have come forth with their own sneakers lines as the brands have grown in popularity. According to them, the market is growing at a rapid pace which has enabled them to keep making better silhouettes and sustainable sneakers.

“We foresee sustainable footwear will be at the forefront of customers’ minds. Where 2021 was about creating awareness around environmentally friendly wear, 2022 will be about embracing it. New eco-friendly fabrics will be popular in the coming year, giving consumers an array of options to choose from. Retro and classic will also sparkle renewed interest and will be in vogue. So, it’ll be about lighter hues, offbeat combinations but aesthetic looking with high-performance footwear,” said Taran Chhabra, co-founder and CEO, Neeman’s.


Investors in the sneaker industry are expecting the sneaker trend to grow further. They have taken notice of the sector’s growth and potential. “India’s sneaker market is 20-25 per cent of the footwear industry at $2.5 billion. Environment conscious customers are demanding sustainable sneakers for their daily use. Focus on health and wellbeing, and strong trend-based demand “I have found a company called SoleSearch to curate events, grow the culture and also buy, sell and trade sneakers. It also is a great way for people to come together and it is a melting pot for so many subcultures. Celebrities and sports stars are drawing attention to the sneaker game. The hype-beasts are drawing attention to it. Louis Vuitton and Gucci are making sneakers, all of this is pointing fingers towards the growing street culture in the world and street culture is incomplete without sneakers,” said Ranvijay Singh Singha, actor, on the growing street culture in India.

Certainly, the future of the sneaker market in India looks bright just like a pair of Nike Zoom Speed TR2 in the Volt colour way as the sector goes on to become huge in India in the coming years.


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