Metrosexual goes mainstream as men outspend women on footwear
But a new report claims men are now muscling in on the wardrobe space traditionally reserved for a lady's killer heels, boots and flats.
Mintel will today reveal 25-34 year-old males have spent an average of £178 on everything from shoes to trainers and sandals in the past year, while women of the same age spent a mere £171.
The difference is even greater among 16-to-24 year-olds, with younger men spending £154, 15 per cent more than females of the same age.
Men aged 35-to-44 spent £157, against £138 for women.
Mintel said the staggering statistics illustrated the rise of the designer trainer sold in outlets such as JD Sports Fashion and Schuh as well as the desire for a top of the range pair of shoes for work. JD claims its younger customers can buy up to nine pairs of trainers a year.
But Richard Cope, the market research specialist's principle trends analyst, added the shock figures confirmed that metrosexuality was now "in the mainstream".
He insisted that younger men than are more worried than ever before about their appearance, are taking more time to "groom" and staring at the mirror.
He said: "Taking pride in and taking greater confidence from maintaining a well groomed appearance now defines what it is to be 'a man' in today's society.
"Rather than being in a minority, men who buy grooming products to boost self-esteem or feel more attractive are now in the majority."
He added: "Metrosexuality has succesfully moved into the mainstream.
"We're seeing men occupy previously 'feminine' space in the home - spending more time on housework and parenting - but also as consumers, embracing yoga, beauty goods, and the act of shopping itself."
Previous studies have documented women's desire for shoes of every shape, size, design and colour. A report earlier this Spring claimed half of women have more than 20 pairs, with 14 per cent owning more than 50. Mintel admitted women are still more likely than men to buy three or more pairs of shoes a year, led by females in the north-west of England.
But it claimed younger women were beginning to cut back while the price of pumps and flats were coming down as high street chains such as Primark grow their share of the market.
There have been growing signs of the emergence of metrosexual man. Mintel earlier this year claimed that a quarter of males now enjoy actually shopping. Record numbers of men are also using facial moisturiser, eye gels and lip balm.
Retail consultants Verdict last night said the fashion industry had long coveted male shoppers, and the forecasts were that men will continue to spend more on clothing and shoes over the next five years.
Maureen Hinton, Verdict retail analyst, said: "It's always been said that if you could get men to spend more on fashion it would save the clothing industry, as traditionally they spend half as much. But you are seeing men taking much more of an interest in the way they look now."
Mintel said over 45 year-old men were far less interested in shoes than their girlfriends or partners, and spent far less.
London men were more likely to buy sandals and flip flops, while men in the Midlands, north-west and Yorkshire were more likely to buy trainers.
Across both sexes, the footwear market rose nearly 5 per cent to £9 billion in 2012, up 5 per cent. Spending on repairs rose 31 per cent as more of us took a pair of shoes to the cobblers - for a new sole.http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/10229306/Metrosexual-goes-mainstream-as-men-outspend-women-on-footwear.html