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Product API, Shoes, and Gender

I have a confession to make: I have an obsession with shoes. I also have an obsession with working out, so I’m in the market for athletic shoes fairly often. With my recent move to Seattle to join Indix, I discovered I needed to buy two things to feed my obsessions: running shoes and hiking boots.

shutterstock_160831178Much to my chagrin, browsing women’s athletic shoe racks makes me think that shoe manufacturers have completely lost their collective minds. From what I could tell, manufacturers seem to think that I want to run with a pair of pink monstrosities on my feet. I usually have no problem standing out, but I don’t necessarily want to be that flashy running along the waterfront at 6am.

I got rather curious about this loud pink phenomenon – have shoe manufacturers actually lost their collective minds about women’s shoe colors? Because I am a runner and a geek, I decided to start investigating using the Indix product database. I queried our product API for different colors of men’s and women’s hiking shoes and running boots at some of my favorite stores.

Running Shoes

Were women’s running shoes really the colorful pink disasters I’d assumed? Well, sort of. Both OnlineShoes and Zappos have a HUGE number of women’s pink running shoes. I was, however, pleasantly surprised that both stores had more blue, black, and white women’s running shoes than they had pink, as the charts below show.

OnlineShoesRunning

ZapposRunningShoes

I was pleasantly surprised to see that there were any men’s pink running shoes available at these stores. Overall, however, men have a much wider range of colors to choose from, since every color except pink and purple are well represented. That certainly explained what I was seeing on the store shelves.

Once I knew that I could find some non-pink running shoes (phew!), I started wondering about hiking boots. What was I going to find on store shelves? If running shoe manufacturers are making this many pink shoes, what are hiking boot manufacturers doing to boots?

Hiking Boots

Thankfully, I wouldn’t find scary pink hiking boots at either OnlineShoes or Zappos. If I wanted to find hiking boots, my best bets were black, grey, or brown, as the charts show below.

OnlineShoesHiking

ZapposHikingBoots

Interestingly enough, men have many more hiking boot options at both stores than women do – we found 399 hiking boots for women and 626 for men at OnlineShoes, and 70 for women and 170 for men at Zappos. Both stores also had slightly more running shoes for men than for women, but within a 10% margin rather than the nearly 100% boot margin.

Grey is the New Gray

Sharp-eyed readers may have noticed that all of the charts above use the British spelling of “grey” rather than the American spelling of “gray”. It turns out that, even for these US-based companies, “grey” is the new “gray” by 10x or more in shoe descriptions.

Now I’m off to find myself pairs of non-pink running shoes and hiking boots. Using the data in the Indix database, I have definitively proven that they exist. Wish me luck!

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