Riding boots and smoking slippers have emerged as two of the most popular footwear trends of 2011 among various retailers, although labels including Charlotte Olympia have bucked the trend, noting the demand for sky high heels.
A report in WWD published December 27 sees retailers including Zappos.com, Chinese Laundry and Piperlime discussing their most successful styles of 2011.
Despite Charlotte Olympia's placing "super high heels" in the most successful category, Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com, told the publication that brands specializing in practical attire such as Ugg, Hunter Boots and Frye had "continued to be very strong."
Chinese Laundry also noted the popularity of boots, adding consumers were eager to purchases pieces with versatility.
"It was probably flat boots or riding boots and pumps. I think the consumer was really looking at what had multiple uses," explained the brand's CEO Bob Goldman.
Although Piperlime.com noted the "consistent growth of the wedge heel", the company agreed that the riding boot has been a "steady staple" in 2011.
Meanwhile, David Giordano, co-founder and co-designer at Pour la Victoire, noted the popularity of another comfortable type of footwear in 2011 -- the traditionally more masculine smoking slipper, which was seen at the Fall 2011 catwalk shows for brands including Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen's The Row and Christian Louboutin.
"[Hugh] Hefner is finally on trend," quipped Giordano, in reference to the Playboy mogul's penchant for the style.
The increasing popularity of comfy footwear follows a recent prediction by technology corporation IBM (International Business Machines Corporation) that 2012 will see a rise in flat shoes.
By analyzing conversations between bloggers, Twitter users and internet commentators over the past four years, IBM has charted trends related to heels.
According to the report released in November, enthusiastic discussions about high heels peaked at the end of 2009, while in 2011 social media has been dominated by comments praising the practicality of flat shoes.