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Global sales of sneakers - or trainers - rose 10 percent to 3.5 billion euros last year, outperforming a 7 percent rise in handbags, according to consultancy Bain & Co.

It’s not really even a trend anymore - it’s become a category,” said Bruce Pas, Men’s Fashion Director at U.S. department store Neiman Marcus.

The start of the great sneaker boom to be as early as 2014, predicting that by 2020 the sales of sneakers are predicted to outgrow sports apparel by almost 3% by 2020.

On luxury e-commerce platforms  there is very little difference between the price of sneakers by luxury brands, and sneakers by traditional sportswear labels. For example, a pair of Adidas Yeezy Desert Rat 500 is marked at $492.8, Gucci’s Ace embroidered sneaker sells for $607.28, Air Vapormax Off White is $796.66, and Balenciaga’s Speed Signature Mesh Sock Sneaker can be purchased for $779.39.

 If there is one product today that is impulse driven and creates emotions among consumers, it is the sneaker. You are talking about people spending $100 to $700 on a single pair. High-end brands such as Kering’s, Gucci, Prada and Balenciaga are increasingly looking to sneakers for growth, putting them in direct competition with sportswear giants like Nike Puma and Adidas and giving rise to ever-more striking and expensive designs.

Both luxury groups and sports companies are looking to cash in on a booming market. Premium sneakers can start at around $400 but can easily rise as high as $3,000, for a pair of Christian Louboutin’s leather, crystal-embellished sneakers.

Limited editions can sell for well over $10,000, including the Chanel X Pharrell Hu Race Trail or Nike’s Air Jordan 3 Retro DJ Khaled Grateful.

Sneakers are a big driver of the luxury shoe business and is the fashion industry’s fastest-growing area.

Curated and Edited by Simrita Dhillon.  

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