Fewer pairs of athletic shoes flew off the shelves last year, but thanks to a price hike, overall sales remained essentially unchanged in 1999 at $13.7 billion, compared to $13.8 billion the year before. That's according to The NPD Group, which clocked the total number of pairs sold last year at 313 million, down from 325.4 million in 1998.
Female feet were more in fashion last year, and women paid more than ever for the privilege, too. In 1999, the average price of women's athletic shoes rose 5 percent to $43.88, a 17 percent climb since 1995. Men's pairs, by contrast, rose only 1 percent to $50.84 in 1999, a gain of just 7 percent since 1995. Let's see what the rising price of petroleum does for those bigger soles.