jsinger - 2:06 am on May 12, 2011 (gmt 0)
No one has sold "Shoes" in 50 years, at least in any place with more than 1,000 people.
By that I mean that footwear has always been divided into niches: Mens dress, Boys, womens dress and heels, womens formal (like prom shoes), womens casual, girls, childrens and infants footwear were each sold in separate departments in large department stores probably going back more than 100 years. There were other niches long before the web, orthopedic shoes, work shoes and athletics (then called gym shoes) not usually carried by even the largest department stores. That was before the web.
Now slice each of those categories into dozens of sub-niches. I've seen sites that only sell biker boots, or shoes for dolls, or highly specialized athletics. I remember one clothing site that only sold clothing and shoes in one color, purple.
A few megasites like Zappos sell most types of shoes for men and women but even those sites ignore some micro niches. I don't see baby shoes on Zappos for instance. (the returns would be crushing I suppose)
Yes, If you want to find lines visit a trade shoe but expect that all will cater to niches. There are several venerable trade publications such as Footwear News: