The report also includes statistics for leather footwear and safety footwear. All figures have been reviewed and cross-checked to provide what Satra considers to be the truest picture of the global footwear industry today. UK based Satra has been publishing statistics on world footwear markets in various formats since 1975.

Satra publishes this edition of World Footwear Markets after witnessing 100 years of technological change in the footwear industry. During this time, mass footwear manufacture has found its way to China and has not really left. In 1919, the first Chinese rubber shoes were successfully produced in Guangdong. Towards the end of the 1970s, because of cheap labour and a ready supply of raw materials, the Chinese footwear industry developed rapidly. During the 1990s there was an explosive growth in shoe production in China establishing the country as the world’s footwear manufacturing centre. Arguably, this peaked in 2014 at 14.3 billion pairs. Annual production in 2017 is estimated at just under 13 billion pairs. This is still 60% of the entire global output which means that China remains without an equal in terms of the number of shoes produced every year.

Looking ahead, the global footwear industry will inevitably be affected by Industry 4.0 and the smart factory and challenge and opportunity could appear anywhere and everywhere. Rules, regulations and tariffs may shift continuously if protectionism spreads across continents. There may also be unexpected impact on the supply chain caused by climate change in whatever form this takes whether it be the planet’s natural evolution or a man-made disaster.

The future of footwear production has never been harder to predict and, therefore, in this edition Satra no longer suggests ‘ones to watch’ as, indeed, every country will be the one to watch. The consumption of footwear may contain its own surprises. Should augmented reality and personalisation take hold on a mass scale then rather than die the high street might be reborn through a consumer thirst for experience and social interaction. Entrepreneurs might find it all exciting, others could be fighting for survival.

Further details of the report can be found online on the Satra website.