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Last year boots, both fashion and cold-weather, were undoubtedly one of the hottest trends of the Fall/Winter season. The combination of an early and record breaking cold selling season coupled with a women’s fashion trend favoring tapered bottoms (leggings, jeggings, skinny jeans) all contributed to what most manufacturers and retailers regard as THE best boot season ever. Fast forward one year later and we check in on the longevity of this trend.

First, the weather has not nearly been as cooperative and as a result cold-weather product has been slow to ramp against very difficult compares. With that said, early November sales have picked up for the category as the weather turned. Second, the fashion boot category remains robust even against difficult comparisons. Interestingly, the updated six year Boot Heat Map below suggests it is rare to see multiple years of strength for the category in a row. Despite the long adds, anecdotes and early data suggest that Fall/Winter 2010 is once again a good year for fashion boots.

The season is far from over, but one doesn’t need to look far to see most holiday fashion campaigns featuring boots of all heights, heels, and fabrications. While the skinny bottom trend may be drawing to close, it appears there is one final push for the boot category. Unfortunately, the ASP increases we saw last year resulting from the favorable boot mix shift is unlikely to be repeated on the same magnitude. Yes, boots are still hot, but this year’s story will have to be unit driven in order to comp last year’s extraordinary season.

The Boot Heat Map 2010 Edition - boot map

Eric Levine