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Does Gender Determine the Cost of Footwear?

Are designers cashing in on the stereotype that women love shoe more than men? A new study by Datafiniti found that high-end shoe designers charge on average several hundred dollars more for women’s footwear than men’s footwear.

Datafiniti used product data to figure out, within each brand, if there a difference in price between women’s and men’s shoes. The dataset included hundreds of thousands of listings for shoes across online retailers, including Amazon and Walmart. From there, Datafiniti categorized their gender designation and generated statistics for prices.

While most shoe brands charge roughly the same price for men’s and women’s product, the study revealed that the most expensive brands tend to charge more for women’s styles. For example, the average price difference between Gianvito Rossi’s women’s shoes and men’s shoes is $281, followed by Valentino ($268) and Jimmy Choo ($245).

Christian Louboutin is the exception, charging on average $298 more for men’s footwear.

Historically, women pay more than men for similar (or same) products. The New York City Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) released a study in December 2015 that compared 800 products and found on average women’s versions of a product cost 7 percent more than men’s version of a product. The same study referenced a 1992 DCA report that found women who bought used cars were twice as likely to have been quoted a higher price than men.

However, Datafiniti points out that sneakers may be one category where men shell out slightly more cash.

The study examined the prices of the 10 most popular sneaker brands and found that the median men’s price is slightly more than the median women’s price.

Vans showed the largest discrepancy between men’s sneakers and women’s sneakers, an average of $10. However, the data firm said Vans offers a larger variety of styles and materials for men.

The report says, “While it appears that men’s sneakers do cost more, these price differences are minimal compared to what we saw for luxury brands. Still, this goes against the common perception of women valuing shoes more. For the average shopper looking for sneakers, you’ll probably pay more if you’re a man.”