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4 Compelling Footwear Email Trends to Try this Year

When was the last time you bought a pair of shoes? Buying behaviors have shifted since storefronts closed for over a year and people’s activities adjusted. Even before the pandemic, consumers began prioritizing comfortable footwear, following similar apparel trends. This preference evolution coupled with changes to buying behaviors has presented new challenges for brands. 

Developing successful email campaigns has become even more complex as the pandemic continues to shift buying trends. COVID has created an ever-changing environment that requires brands to adapt messaging and strategy to stay relevant constantly. 

The pandemic created an even more significant challenge for footwear brands. With fewer people leaving their homes for work and other gatherings, selling footwear became a difficult task. This changing dynamic requires even more innovative tactics to retain customers: empathy and the ability to adapt need to be at the heart of all messaging and design strategies.

How can marketers plan with this new complexity?
Let’s dive into curated list of email trends for the footwear industry that can help you craft your email strategy. 

Footwear Email Trends to Watch For

1. Impactful Messaging

With the social justice movements gaining traction, consumers are demanding more accountability and actions from brands. It’s important to meet the expectations of your customers in an authentic way. In the last year, many companies have been called out for performative activism. Consumers recognize when a brand attaches themselves to a cause for social capital and not to create positive change, which is why it’s important to stay authentic. 

Impactful Messaging in Footwear

A quick message breaking up the normal drumbeat can make a huge impact. Source: ReallyGoodEmails

This email from Nisolo, a Nashville company focused on ethically made shoes and accessories, has a neutral background that draws attention to the copy. It smoothly transitions from a wellness check-in to highlight a versatile product suited for WFH or venturing out. Empathetic messaging like this helps to build community virtually when showrooms are closed. 

Community Building Brooks

Combining thematic design with your messaging can help build a sense of community. Source: ReallyGoodEmails

Brooks is well known for building a community of runners. We’ve all seen companies highlight Pride, but this Brooks message takes action to support the LGBTQIA community by sharing their efforts to support the community. The playful rainbow wraps this supportive message to make you feel like you’re a part of the community. 

As you look to craft impactful messaging that’s authentic to your brand, think about how your brand interacts with your customers and the community. 

2. Sustainability

In continuation of the themes of action and accountability, environmental awareness is another critical topic to consumers. An increasing number of companies are releasing sustainability reports as consumers want more transparency into supply chains. 

Sustainability Collaboration

Brands often forget they don’t have to go it alone. Source: MailCharts

The Adidas and Allbirds collaboration combines an iconic global brand and a sustainable shoe company to create a performance shoe with a low carbon footprint. This proof-of-concept email teases interest in this low-carbon creation. Customers have shown loyalty to brands they believe align with their values, like sustainability. The blooming flowers featured in rocky steps symbolize the new growth of this concept. 

Sustainability in Footwear

Consumers like sharing values with brands. Call out your values when appropriate to make a connection. Source: MailCharts

Cariuma, a Brazilian sustainable shoe brand, focuses on conscious community and eco-friendly organizations. The rainforest image coupled with a clean white background emphasizes this company’s dedication to sustainability and a clean future. The crisp white and bright green colors highlight the carbon-neutral shipping option shown at the bottom of the email without taking away from the message. 

Sustainability isn’t a one-size-fits-all, consider what sustainable efforts and messaging align with your customers’ needs.

3. Plant Accents

As consumers’ preferences move to natural products, so does the marketing messaging and design around them. Even in the footwear industry, more companies have emerged that focus on using natural or recycled materials. This shift has integrated what people associate as organic, resulting in plant accents appearing more often in messaging. 


Put your shoes in the context of where they might be worn. Source: MailCharts

Sanuk is a footwear company that encourages people to get outdoors and take care of the environment. The bright colors of this design make it feel like a fun jump into spring while embodying the brand’s values. The bright green images tie into their focus on good vibes and the love of the beach. 

Plant Shadows

Design can be subtle and just as effective in evoking a sentiment. Source: MailCharts

Roots, a premium Canadian outdoor brand, takes its camp roots seriously. Founded by two camp buddies, it embodies that spirit in its messaging by using natural imagery that ties into the concept of quality leather and an eco-friendly footprint. Playing with the shadows of plants keeps the organic feel of the company while maintaining focus on the leather shoes. 

Using plant accents—and their shadows—in your design can help amplify the perceived quality of your brand. 

4. Soft backgrounds

Soft backgrounds have been rising in frequency for their natural and organic feel. They also make reading longer copy much more manageable. These backgrounds convey a sense of calm and safety, another reason they’ve gained popularity. 

Soft background

A fun gif never hurts either. Source: MailCharts

Allbirds’ muted backgrounds provide a natural feel to an email while providing more interest to the reader than a plain white background. Allbirds’ order confirmation email keeps the fun spirit of the company with the playful lamb pun. At the same time, the light background makes it easy to scan important order information that the recipient needs. 

Muted Backgrounds

Extending beyond the confines of the content block adds dimension and depth to your products. Source: MailCharts

Subscription-based shoe retailer JustFab likes to keep its messaging light and playful. The muted background color of the email draws the recipient’s eye to the shoes. They also keep it lively by adding a bit of animation and a pop of color later in the email. The neutral background keeps the focus on the sandals while maintaining an overall clean layout.

Use these muted tones when focusing on messaging or driving attention to a single product so the audience can easily find what they need.

Focusing on Your Audience

As you craft your email messaging, consider what key messages resonate with your audience and how you can use your design to amplify this. Are they focused on sustainability? Do they value transparency? Whichever styles you use, focus on your audience’s needs first. 

Curious about the different ways you can incorporate design in your email marketing? Schedule a demo.

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