Speaking at an online event for Safety Footwear Revolution Week, he said that lower retail activity due to Covid-19 has led to a massive decline in figures from 2019, when the global shoe market reached 22.75 billion pairs. The 22% drop, representing five million pairs of shoes, is so severe that it could take the market back by ten to 15 years.

Decker said that one of the changes that will drive an increase in value in the footwear market in the years ahead is customisation. He lacked confidence that consumers would be willing to pay more for locally made shoes or for shoes with good sustainability credentials, but being able to customise footwear to suit the precise requirements of buyers would bring a boost to the industry. 

“This could add 10% to the total production cost,” he explained. “But, in return, manufacturers would see an increase of between 30% and 60%, depending on the kind of customisation they can offer.”