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Brought to heel

Updated: 2023-12-22 08:13 ( CHINA DAILY )
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Women in Shanghai opt for comfortable footwear like sneakers. [Photo provided to China Daily]

Chinese women are increasingly prioritizing comfort when it comes to choosing footwear, and it appears that the once well-loved stiletto is taking the hit.

For decades, the stiletto heel was, to many women, a symbol of feminine charm, high social status and success.

But it appears that the footwear is no longer considered as chic as before, judging by how rare it is to see them worn among the Shanghai crowds — usually considered a fashion barometer for China.

The last time Li Ziyan wore high heels was when she attended a job interview a year ago. That same pair of heels, she points out, is currently sitting alongside four others in her closet gathering dust.

"I generally don't wear heels unless I have to attend a very high-profile business meeting, which rarely happens. My colleagues are the same too. In fact, we come to work in sneakers and change into something even more comfortable like slippers when in the office," says the 30-year-old, who currently works for a financial company in Shanghai's Lujiazui area.

For many women of Li's generation, comfort is now the name of the game when it comes to choosing footwear.

In the 2023 fashion trends survey done by Tmall in collaboration with Qingqu Data, 57 percent of respondents said they place equal importance on comfort and elegance.

On Tmall's Target Group Index list, which indicates the preferences of target customers, loafers topped the index with a score of 202, followed by clogs (185) and espadrilles (170). All these shoes come with flat bottoms.

According to a CGTN report, Dr. Martens and UGG topped the sales list of women's footwear during the 2021 Singles' Day shopping extravaganza, which takes place every year on Nov 11.

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