The once favoured footwear of Sex in the City is no longer an office must, with trainers taking over from heels as the favoured footwear of women. The flat soled trend which started during Covid lockdown has continued with comfort winning over style, new research from our team here at Hotter shoes, an Unbound Group Company shows.

Once seen glued to the feet of the likes of Sex in the City’s Carrie Bradshaw, and chart-toppers Rihanna and Beyoncé, sales of the once considered ‘fashion must-have’ have plummeted, according to industry figures.

Our study found that people from every age group - from trendy young adults to the fashion forward fifty plus - choose trainers over other types of footwear when asked their preference.

Our study found that people from every age group - from trendy young adults to the fashion forward fifty plus - choose trainers over other types of footwear when asked their preference.

The hard to walk in styles registered bottom of the table when it came to choosing a footwear favourite, with 31% stating they would prefer to wear trainers, compared to 3% preferring heels. In fact, trainers were chosen a staggering ten times more often than heels. Boots followed in a close second, then came sandals, then loafers, with heels trailing in meagre fifth place.

Among men, the trend away from formal shoes to trainers was even more apparent, with over half, 51%, choosing to wear trainers when given the choice. Even establishment figures such as former Chancellor Rishi Sunak and cabinet colleague Michael Gove have taken to wearing trainers. As well as meteorologist Tomasz Schafernaker donning ‘smart’ trainers in his weather forecasts. The Queen actress Helen Mirren was also spotted in a pair during a recent trip to Cannes.

Women no longer feel that they are expected to wear heels and we have seen the rise in well-being and sports luxe becoming linked with high fashion.

Sarah Davies, Chief Product Officer at Hotter, said “People are now choosing footwear styles that are appropriate for the occasion, with comfort being the main decision. Heels won’t go away and will always be popular for that special day, but they are no longer essential for everyday wear.”

Most popular with 18-34 year olds, over 50% say that trainers are their preferred everyday footwear with even a third of over 55’s opting for trainers. Only 2% of 55–65-year-olds saying they regularly wear heels.

Most popular with 18-34 year olds, over 50% say that trainers are their preferred everyday footwear with even a third of over 55’s opting for trainers. Only 2% of 55–65-year-olds saying they regularly wear heels.

Regionally the biggest wearers of trainers are the Northern Irish with 47% preferring them.  They are also the least lovers of heels – followed by Londoners 44% and Scots and Yorkshire with 43% voting for trainers.

East Anglians wear them the least but even here a majority (36%) regularly pull on trainers. Reality style shows such as Made in Chelsea, The Only Way is Essex and Geordie Shore may influence the regions with the biggest wearers of heels - namely London, East Anglia and the North East.