All of the commentaries and conversations permeating the worldwide trade are negative. Industry headlines talk about a slow-down in automotive sales and leather consumption being less in the various models. You don’t have to talk to many trade members to hear how footwear leather has lost its market share and worse, it’s panache. Leather is out and we all best get used to the fact.
Many say that hide prices are destined to fall further and it seems like the end of the world is coming for leather. This time is different. Leather will never come back into fashion. The consumer is blind to the features and superiority of leather. Blah blah blah ad nauseum.
Having been in this trade for over 50 years, we have seen many market ups and downs, and each time, when prices are at their lowest, for whatever the reason, markets recover. Like so many other things (horse buggy leather whips excluded!) fashion changes, the value is realized and “cheap” hides find new customers and uses.
We think we will see this again. Visiting shoe stores, we see leather sneaker, aka athleisure, footwear being shown on retailers’ shelves. Prices are in line with other upscale footwear and the styling is commensurate with synthetic competitors. The leather Reeboks pictured are shown on Zappos website at $80.00 and there are many others from different brands. It’s a step in the right direction!
By Don Ohsman – Editor and Publisher of Hidenet