The Rise of Homegrown Sneaker Brands in India, the Latest Trends and the Shifting Factors

Founders of various homegrown brands share their journies of foraying into the sneaker industry and how this culture has seen a spike in India.

Hitanshu Bhatt
New Update
homegrown sneaker brands

"Movie lovers blockbuster Fridays ka wait kar rahe hai, aur sneaker lovers blockbuster Saturdays ka”, says Virat Kohli as he shares Myntra’s latest sneaker drops at the best prices every Saturday! And that is just one example of how sneaker shoppers have created a space for themselves in the Indian fashion market. With the changing demand for streetwear and street culture, the sneaker industry in India has seen an influx of homegrown brands, and people are now openly buying them compared to the shy purchases earlier. We talked to the founders of brands like CHNKS, Ludic, and The Saree Sneakers about the factors that led to the sneaker revolution in India and how Indian sneaker brands made a special space among the already-established foreign players.

founder of the saree sneakers
 Ishit Jethwa, Founder of Ludic, Aakanksha Rathod, founder of CHNKS & Shrutee Kasat, founder of The Saree Sneakers (respectively)

The footwear industry is experiencing an unprecedented surge of excitement. Today, people are more open than ever to experimenting with their shoe choices. While Air Jordans sealed the fate of sneakers as must-haves globally in the '90s, the 2010s saw a rise in their use in India. And what kickstarted the process? It was the emergence of resale markets on Instagram. How quaint! The credit for the passion for these shoes in India goes to homegrown sneaker brands and platforms.

"The last time I checked, the Indian footwear industry was growing 40% year on year because people were moving from limited footwear to multiple footwear for different occasions," said Ishit Jethwa, Founder of Ludic, a footwear-first brand. This growth has seen involvement from people of all age groups compared to only youths earlier.

“It’s truly remarkable to witness everyone, from elderly aunties to our household helpers, enthusiastically embracing the sneaker trend," emphasizes Shrutee Kasat, founder of The Saree Sneakers. Aakanksha Rathod, founder of CHNKS, adds, “Quality sneakers at an affordable rate are one of the winning factors for homegrown brands.

Acceptance Towards Homegrown Brands

Although the current situation is merrier for the brands, the story has not been the same always. As mentioned, people were not open to homegrown brands and were a tad bit used to foreign brands as it was a matter of pride to have a collection of branded shoes. “We launched our brand in 2020, and initially, it was quite a challenge to persuade people to give it a try. Many women loved the concept but found it a bit too bold and unconventional for their tastes,” says Shrutee whose brand specialises in sneakers for wedding occasions. 


While Ludic started by importing its products from foreign countries, it solely manufactures its shoes in India now. This transition was not easy for them as they had a hard time finding a perfect manufacturer. “The problem with finding the right manufacturer was that Indian foot is broader as compared to the global feet and it is necessary to find the right last (mould upon which a shoe is constructed) that is fit to make shoes according to the Indian foot,” says Ishit. In between all these, it is also important for Indian brands to keep the price sensitivity point of the consumers in mind. No matter how great the story is, there is always a need to have a balance between quality and price for the brands. 

Factors that Led to the Change

Keeping in mind the price sensitivity and the love of Indians for stories behind any product, brands have captured the right essence, and these factors have contributed to the rise of the industry. The Saree Sneakers incorporate Indianization and localization of sneakers to resonate with cultural aesthetics. While CHNKS believes that, along with indigenous ideas, Indian customers are always pleased with personalization, Ludic says that the freedom to manufacture shoes in India has been a building factor for the sneaker industry. These are the primary focus factors that helped build the sneaker culture in India, but various other supporting elements are necessary to construct this segment further. The fact that Gen Z is increasingly prioritising comfort, style, and self-expression also makes sneakers a popular choice.

The Role of Sneaker Communities in India 


The sneaker community plays a pivotal role in seeding the knowledge about sneakers in the minds of the common consumers. The founder of Ludic says, “Sneakerheads are a good soundboard to have. Since they have a lot of following and have deep knowledge about the products, they are helpful for brands as well as customers to be the middle point before making any purchasing decision.” This also leverages a great opportunity for the brands and artists. “The sneaker community makes it very easy for a brand and an artist to connect, showcasing the story behind every product and brand, adds Aakanksha. 

What Sets the Homegrown Brands Apart?

Along with the third-party supporters, the role of a quality-driven approach, the ability of a brand to stay in the minds of the customers by providing personalisation, positioning the product to the right audience and understanding the preferences and trends of people contribute a lot. “It is necessary for the customer to feel loved by the brand and this can be done by providing add-ons like an extra shoelace, a shoe cleaning kit or just a customized card, says the founder of CHNKS. Along with customer personalisation, the inclusion of personal desires can also prove fruitful. Something similar happened with Shrutee when she felt the urge to complement shoes with a saree, and that became a hit amongst the customers. Imagine how cool it would be to wear a classy sneaker with a saree. These little things are embraced by the Indian audience, and they are shifting from just global brands to homegrown brands.

Sneakers Trends 

A glimpse of sneakers from The Saree Sneakers, Ludic, CHNKS (in order of their names)

With these fundamentals in mind, there is a constant need to be updated with the latest trends in the ever-evolving fast-paced market. The founders of these brands shared some of the trends that they feel are in fashion currently. For Ishit, trends are cyclic but the ones in fashion are athleisure sneakers, eco-friendly and vegan materials, and in terms of material and design, a simple, no-brainer design and graphic designs, both are in trend right now. The Sneaker Sarees mentions, “One of our favourite trends in sneakers today is the vibrant use of bold candy and neon colours. We also love the creativity expressed through unique shapes and silhouettes.” Whereas for Aakanksha, sustainability, eco-friendly materials, and recycled and plant-based fabrics are working well currently. People are also looking for collaboration (with local artists) and limited edition shoes with a demand for classic and retro designs or, minimal and sleek shoes. 

While these trends come and go, the ever-lasting impact of the industry should be sustained. So the future for sneakers in India looks promising for brands. Predictions claim that the sneaker industry is expected to reach $4 billion by 2030. According to Statista Market Insights, this industry is expected to grow annually by 6.11% (CAGR 2024-2028). Regarding this foreseeing demand, CHNKS feels that there is scope for their brand to reach tier 2 and tier 3 cities and plans to expand it in the future so that pop culture and sneaker culture spread there as well. Ishit says that they are already getting a good response from smaller towns. "The sneaker industry is already growing at a pace of 7% to 8%, and it will continue to grow further with people having an interest in more choices for different occasions and purpose-driven sneakers," he adds. "The constant feedback from customers and the need to personally take feedback as a founder is important for the brands to improve constantly and be future-ready," says Aakanksha. As this is the initial stage for the sneaker industry, it is yet to trespass many boundaries in the future with more homegrown brands joining the race and spreading Indian culture through lifestyle.

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