Surprise Recession Winner: Shoes (& Walking & Hiking)

Random Juxtaposition?

Maggie Nesciur, 30, a waitress, walks up to 90 miles a week around New York’s neighborhoods.

–“The Walker”; The New York Times (11/6/09)

As the economy has inspired a back-to-basics mentality, with families dining and vacationing at home, people are focusing on free outdoor activities that require comfortable or rugged shoes.

The cost-per-wear of a pair of shoes is far lower than that of a dress or suit, which can only be donned so many times a week before colleagues snicker. And new shoes spruce up old outfits, a cheaper alternative to buying more clothes.

–“A Not So Guilty Pleasure“; The New York Times (11/6/09)

In what I’m guessing is just a random juxtaposition, today’s (online) NY Times features two stories about shoes.

The first is a profile of a New Yorker who like to explore the city’s varied neighborhoods on foot (that was my hobby, too, when I lived there). Apparently, she actually walks something like 90 miles a week!

The second is an article reporting that shoe sales are defying the recession, and are actually up.

Hmm, maybe there’s a connection . . .

P.S.: Economists call something that experiences rising demand in a recession an “inferior good.” No, it’s not a moral judgment; it just means that as people have less money, they consume more of it (with most goods, it’s the opposite: as you have more money . . . you consume more).

Historically, the classic example was potatoes. Inferior goods today would likely include things like mac ‘n cheese, rice & beans, “Hamburger Helper,” etc.

I’d also put pets in that category. They’re cheaper than a health club membership, and great companions, too!

About the author

Ross Kaplan has 19+ years experience selling real estate all over the Twin Cities. He is also a 12-time consecutive "Super Real Estate Agent," as determined by Mpls. - St. Paul Magazine and Twin Cities Business Magazine. Prior to becoming a Realtor, Ross was an attorney (corporate law), CPA, and entrepreneur. He holds an economics degree from Stanford.

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