Formal, high fashion or casual; any kind, any style – we will take them all. Sometimes they hurt our wallet, and from time to time our feet, but we can never get enough of them. Ladies, not too hard to guess, right? Yes, I am talking about SHOES; I am sure you will all agree with me that we LOVE shoes!

I am not sure whether you have this same habit or not, but when it comes to me, if I buy something new I definitely check the labels to see where it was made. I guess it has to do with my job. Have you ever thought of which part of the world most shoes get imported from? Most of us probably never really pay attention to those tiny labels where it says “Made in China.” Well, please do not be too surprised, because just like any other commodity footwear is also outsourced, especially in the U.S. My job is in sales in the world of logistics and it has over the years has become an integral part of who I am, as I love to meet new people, help them and build relationships. I also have another passion which is fashion, and anything related to that world. Therefore, apparel and footwear have always been my favorite subjects. When I moved to NY I even took classes at Parsons School of Design right in New York’s Fashion District in order to learn how to market apparel and footwear. When I am on the job, the first thing I usually like to do is to analyze the commodities I target. Basically, the whole idea is to find good quality importers or exporters to introduce our services to. This year I decided to focus more on footwear as a commodity due to large volume of shipments imported from Asia .

During my analysis I ended up reading a lot of articles, many of which are from platforms that support the wholesale footwear industry in the U.S. Some were also from trade associations. This study really helped me to learn more about the commodity and I would like to now share with you in our blog some of those interesting subjects which captured my attention:

History

Footwear dates back almost 40,000 years. For the prime purpose of protection, our ancestors first began to use animal rawhide and other materials to wrap their feet.
Supply
Within the last decade, the footwear manufacturing landscape has changed a lot. Many U.S. footwear manufacturers have shifted production overseas in order to take advantage of lower labor costs. Therefore the increase in import penetration negatively affected domestic manufacture share.
Ranking
The Top 5 Source Countries for U.S. Footwear Imports.

1. China

2. Vietnam

3. Brazil

4. Indonesia

5. Italy

Footwear Wholesalers
In 2010, almost 4,239 establishments engaged in the wholesale footwear industry in the United States. According to Dun & Bradstreet, California had the most establishments in the industry, followed by Florida with 477 and New York with 402.

Largest Share of Imports to the US
China holds more than 86% of all U.S. footwear imports, according to the American Apparel & Footwear Association. In early 2010, China was the U.S.’s largest importer of footwear.

Other than the above mentioned information, I also found out that in the U.S. the average person purchases approximately four pairs of shoes annually. However, with the current unemployment rate, cash-strapped consumers have cut back on desirable such purchases. No worries though ladies, because we are still number one! Compared to kids and men’s footwear sales, women shoe sales are just over half of all retail footwear sales in the U.S. Why do we need to continue to buy shoes when we have 30 pairs of them at home? As they say, it is hard to understand us women, because we are definitely interesting creatures.