Ernest Hemingway shoes target male boomers

Tualatin-based Ernest Hemingway Footwear Co. is finding a huge market for their handcrafted leather shoes in men aged 45-to-65.

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Tualatin-based Ernest Hemingway Footwear Co. is experiencing a lot of business for their handcrafted leather shoes from the often-ignored market of boomer men.

All four Hemingway executives are longtime footwear industry folks laid off recently from Nike, Adidas or Columbia Sportswear.

Although women’s fashion shoe sales have been among the few bright spots in retail recently — surging 23 percent in the first quarter — men are close on their heels. The same data, compiled by retail researcher NPD Group, showed a 7.5 percent uptick in the men’s department. Globally, the leather footwear market is estimated to be around $70 billion.

Consumers in the 45-to-65 age group are often overlooked, and that’s particularly true for men, said Brent Bouchez, founder of the New York advertising agency Five-0. Although 50 percent of the nation’s spending is done by consumers 50 and older, he said, many marketers have continued with outdated beliefs that only the young set trends.


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