US consumption of footwear declined 0.4% in 2007 according to a new survey of key industry trends, with men's sales growth outstripping that of women's shoes.

The ShoeStats 2008 report from the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), says that while Americans bought almost 2.4bn pairs of shoes in 2007, this was a drop of 0.4% on the number purchased in 2006.

Growth in US consumption of men's work shoes rose by 37.4%, while sales of women's footwear was up by a more modest 0.8% to 952m pairs. US consumption of athletic shoes fell 10.1% to 334m pairs in 2007.

The report suggests America's love affair with shoes may be softening because of a slowing US economy.

"Shoes will always be a necessary purchase," explained Kevin Burke, AAFA president and CEO. "How much shoppers buy though is clearly influenced by overall economic trends." 

ShoeStats tracks new and continuing industry trends covering US footwear consumption, production, employment, imports and retail prices, and the 2008 publication can be obtained from Darrell Sumpter.

Previous annual ShoeStats reports are available free of charge on the AAFA website.