Changes in 2021 from 2020:
- U.S. total exports: Increased by $11 million (1.0 percent) to $1.1 billion
- U.S. domestic exports: Increased by $18 million (2.2 percent) to $816 million
- U.S. re-exports: Decreased by $7 million (1.9 percent) to $332 million
- U.S. general imports: Increased by $6.5 billion (31.4 percent) to $27.2 billion
The value of U.S. domestic exports of footwear products increased by $18 million (2.2 percent) to $816 million in 2021 (table FW.1). Domestic exports made up $816 million (71.1 percent) of total exports, with re-exports accounting for the remaining $332 million. The U.S. export growth was due to rising U.S. footwear production, which rebounded after factories reopened due to easing of the COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions. U.S. exports of footwear also benefitted from higher global demand. The two largest U.S. export destinations in 2021 were Vietnam, accounting for 21.8 percent of all U.S. exports, followed by Canada at 18.1 percent. Although exports to Vietnam (primarily footwear parts) fell by 13.5 percent, it held the lead at $178 million, while exports to Canada increased by 23.2 percent to $147 million. The next-largest destination markets for U.S. exports in 2021 were China (14.4 percent), Indonesia (8.8 percent), and Mexico (7.0 percent), in shares of domestic exports for the year.
U.S. general imports of footwear products increased by $6.5 billion (31.4 percent) to $27.2 billion in 2021. The increase in imports was driven by the rise in U.S. consumer demand for footwear and by footwear firms’ ability to find alternative sources for suppliers that were unable to fulfill demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The largest suppliers of footwear to the United States in 2021 were China ($11.5 billion), Vietnam ($7.5 billion), and Italy ($2.1 billion). Although imports from China grew in 2021, China’s share of total U.S. imports remained about the same as its share in 2020—42.2 percent in 2021. China’s share of U.S. footwear imports has fallen or stayed the same since 2016, when the country reached a high of 57.8 percent. In 2021, the share of imports of footwear products from Vietnam continued to increase, growing from $6.5 billion in 2020 to $7.5 billion, 27.7 percent of all U.S. imports. Imports from Italy, Indonesia, and Cambodia, the next-largest suppliers by value, all increased their shares of total U.S. imports compared to 2020 and 2019 levels.
U.S. Domestic Exports
U.S. domestic exports of footwear products grew by a modest $18 million (2.2 percent) to $816 million in 2021. The increase in U.S. footwear exports in 2021 came after a steep decline of $335 million (29.6 percent) in 2020. The marginal growth in exports in 2021 was driven by an increase in U.S. footwear output after the COVID-19 pandemic caused slowdowns among many U.S. footwear producers in 2020, as well as a subsequent increase in global demand for footwear in 2021. The largest exported footwear product was footwear parts, which accounted for 42.5 percent of all U.S. footwear exports; the remaining share covers finished shoes—similar to the composition of U.S. footwear exports in 2020. Footwear exported from the United States is viewed as high quality in foreign markets. Nevertheless, exports remain below 2019 levels as U.S. producers continued to face price competition from foreign-made footwear in 2021 due to the higher costs of production in the United States relative to foreign suppliers and the appreciation of the U.S. dollar. In addition, as supply chain disruptions increased in 2021, it became more difficult for U.S. producers to access inputs and export their products.
Growth in U.S. footwear exports to Canada, Indonesia, and Mexico helped drive the overall increase of 2.2 percent in U.S. exports in this sector. Canada experienced the largest rise in U.S. exports, with exports increasing by 23.2 percent to $147 million. U.S. exports also increased to Indonesia (up 68.4 percent to $71 million) and Mexico (up 66.2 percent to $57 million). The types of footwear exports vary: Indonesia largely imports footwear parts and accessories from the United States, while Canada and Mexico primarily import finished footwear.
Some of the largest markets for U.S. footwear saw the biggest declines in U.S. exports in 2021. Although Vietnam was the largest destination for U.S. footwear, exports fell by $28 million (13.5 percent) to $178 million in 2021. Meanwhile, exports to China, the third-largest destination market, fell by $53 million (31.1 percent) to $118 million. Exports to Vietnam and China consisted largely of footwear parts and accessories. Supply chain disruptions, including growing prices of shipping container rates and port congestion, made it more difficult for U.S. manufacturers to export goods in 2021.
Re-exports accounted for about 28.9 percent ($332 million) of total U.S. exports of footwear in 2021, a decline of less than 1 percentage point from 2020. Re-exports’ share of total exports remained consistent with 2019 and 2020 shares. Canada and Mexico were the largest destination markets for re-exports, totaling $155 million (46.9 percent) and $39 million (11.8 percent), respectively.
U.S. General Imports
The U.S. market for footwear is almost entirely supplied by imports, which accounted for 95.9 percent of U.S. consumption in 2021. U.S. imports of footwear grew by $6.5 billion (31.4 percent) to $27.2 billion in 2021. The increase in U.S. footwear imports was driven primarily by an increase in consumer spending due to pent-up demand from 2020. Consumer demand increased in 2021 as COVID-19 pandemic-related restrictions eased in the United States, allowing customers to shop in person, in addition to online, for shoes for activities such as entertainment and office work. Consumer spending on footwear increased 29.8 percent in 2021.
The two largest sources for U.S. imports of footwear in 2021 were China and Vietnam, together accounting for 69.9 percent of all U.S. imports. The United States imported a variety of footwear products from China in 2021, with U.S. imports from the country totaling nearly $11.5 billion, an increase of $2.7 billion (31.2 percent). Although China is still the largest supplier of U.S. footwear, its market share continued to decline in 2021, albeit at a slower rate than in previous years. U.S. firms looked to diversify their sourcing options amidst changing market dynamics, including China’s rising costs of production and additional duties levied on imports from China under section 301 of the Trade Act of 1974. Despite the challenges associated with sourcing from China, footwear manufacturing in China continued to benefit from vertically integrated supply chains. Although the cost of production has prompted many U.S. importers to search for alternative sourcing locations, industry representatives state that no other country currently can equal China’s footwear production capacity, has its access to raw materials, or has the infrastructure to supply footwear components needed for styles in demand in the U.S. market.
U.S. imports from Vietnam rose by $1.0 billion (15.5 percent) to $7.5 billion in 2021. Vietnam is a large player in global footwear production and focuses more on the production of higher-valued footwear than does China. Footwear manufacturing in Vietnam was disrupted in 2021 due to an outbreak of COVID-19 in July. Many factories closed for nearly two months and then struggled to return to full capacity as migrant workers slowly returned to manufacturing jobs. Some of the effects of the factory closures on U.S. footwear imports were mitigated by strong export growth in the beginning of 2021; but the growth rate of footwear imports from Vietnam was the lowest among the largest suppliers of footwear to the United States in 2021.
Imports from Italy, the next-largest U.S. supplier of footwear by value, grew by $779 million (58.5 percent) to $2.1 billion, reaching an all-time high. Italy supplies premium, high-end footwear to the United States, and its share of the U.S. market grew from 6.4 percent in 2020 to 7.8 percent in 2021. In recent years, Italian firms have evolved to include more comfort and athleisure shoes in their product lines, which saw higher U.S. demand during the pandemic. In addition, pent-up consumer demand for footwear combined with additional stimulus funds may have resulted in more purchases for high-end products, including footwear. Two other countries also saw growth in U.S. imports: imports increased from Indonesia by $611 million (44.8 percent) to $2.0 billion and from Cambodia by $212 million (42.2 percent) to $713 million. Indonesia used recent investment in domestic production of raw materials and footwear inputs to boost its downstream footwear industry and reduce reliance on countries such as China and Vietnam for footwear inputs. Cambodia also saw an increase in purchase orders in 2021 as other footwear suppliers struggled with COVID-19 pandemic-related factory closures.
 The Footwear sector consists of one product digest which encompasses various 8-digit subheadings in the Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS). For a complete list of HTS subheadings classified in a particular sector or digest, see data table.
 Except when otherwise noted, export data used in this section are for domestic exports. For more information on trade terminology, please refer to USITC, “Special Topic: Trade Metrics,” Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade, 2014, June 2015.
 USITC DataWeb/Census, digest FW001, accessed February 17, 2022.
 Sourcing Journal, Footwear Report 2020, August 5, 2020, 2. World Footwear, Business Conditions Survey Second Semester 2021, 2021, 2.
 Footwear parts are exported under HS heading 6406.
 Guirguis, “Shoe and Footwear Manufacturing in the US,” November 2021, 28.
 Guirguis, “Shoe and Footwear Manufacturing in the US,” November 2021, 9. Ahmed, “Dollar Dominates,” November 15, 2021.
 These disruptions were not insignificant given that exports represented about 30 percent of total industry revenue in 2021. Guirguis, “Shoe and Footwear Manufacturing in the US,” November 2021, 14 and 28.
 The largest footwear group exported to Canada was certain leather footwear under HS heading 6403, while the largest footwear group exported to Mexico was certain other footwear under HS heading 6405.
 Dobrosielski, “Nike, Puma, Under Armour,” November 23, 2021; AAFA, “AAFA Urges Biden,” September 20, 2021.
 Guirguis, “Shoe and Footwear Manufacturing in the US,” November 2021, 3; USITC DataWeb/Census, digest FW001, accessed February 17, 2022.
 Friedman, “US Footwear Imports Match Strong Consumer Demand,” November 12, 2021.
 Guirguis, “Shoe and Footwear Manufacturing in the US,” November 2021, 19.
 USDOC, BEA, “Personal Consumption Expenditures by Type of Product,” January 27, 2022, table 2.4.5U.
 World Footwear, “Steve Madden Shifts Production,” August 5, 2022.
 Fibre2Fashion, “China Plus One: A Trade and Investment Story,” December 2021.
 Strong, “Nike Shifts Footwear Production,” January 5, 2022; Sourcing Journal, Footwear Report 2020, August 5, 2020, 19.
 World Footwear, “Vietnam Is Now the Main Exporter,” October 14, 2021.
 Dobrosielski, “Nike, Puma, Under Armour,” November 23, 2021; Boudreau and Uyen, “‘Nothing Left But Fear’ Heightens,” October 10, 2021.
 By quantity, Italy was the 6th-largest supplier of U.S. footwear after China, Vietnam, Indonesia, Cambodia, and India, respectively. The average unit value for footwear imports from Italy was over $80 per pair, while the average unit value for China was $8, Vietnam $14, and the world $12. The average unit values were calculated using imports for consumption. USDOC, OTEXA, “Footwear, Leather, and Travel Goods: Imports by Country,” accessed February 23, 2022.
 The average unit value of footwear from Italy fell by just over 5 percent from 2020–21. USDOC, OTEXA, “Footwear, Leather, and Travel Goods: Imports by Country,” accessed February 23, 2022; Velasquez, “Why Italy’s Footwear Sector,” January 24, 2018.
 Thomas Crockett (FDRA), email message to USITC staff, March 23, 2022.
 World Footwear, “Shortage of Raw Materials Threatens Indonesian Footwear Industry,” December 3, 2021.
 Chua, “Cambodia’s Garment Workers,” September 29, 2021.
Ahmed, Saqib Iqbal. “Dollar Dominates as Inflation Heats Up.” Reuters, November 15, 2021. https://www.reuters.com/business/finance/dollar-dominates-inflation-heats-up-2021-11-15/.
American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA). “AAFA Urges Biden to Take Action Now to End Shipping Crisis,” September 20, 2021. https://www.aafaglobal.org/AAFA/AAFA_News/2021_Letters_and_Comments/AAFA_Urges_Biden_to_Take_Action_Now_to_End%20_Shipping_Crisis.aspx.
Boudreau, John, and Nguyen Dieu Tu Uyen. “‘Nothing Left But Fear’ Heightens Vietnam’s Factory Crisis.” Bloomberg, October 10, 2021. https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2021-10-10/-nothing-left-but-fear-heightens-vietnam-s-factory-crisis.
Chua, Jasmin Malik. “Cambodia’s Garment Workers Get $2 Monthly Pay Bump.” Sourcing Journal, September 29, 2021. https://sourcingjournal.com/topics/labor/cambodia-minimum-wage-covid-19-304715/.
Dobrosielski, Chuck. “Nike, Puma, Under Armour ‘Too Optimistic’ About Vietnam Comeback?” Sourcing Journal, November 23, 2021. https://sourcingjournal.com/topics/sourcing/vietnam-covid-restrictions-production-delays-bofa-footwear-apparel-nike-puma-314729/.
Fibre2Fashion. “China Plus One: A Trade and Investment Story,” December 2021. http://www.fibre2fashion.com/industry-article/9301/china-plus-one-a-trade-and-investment-story.
Friedman, Arthur. “US Footwear Imports Match Strong Consumer Demand.” Sourcing Journal, November 12, 2021. https://sourcingjournal.com/footwear/footwear-supply-chain/us-footwear-imports-consumer-demand-vietnam-china-313060/.
Guirguis, Jullian. “Shoe and Footwear Manufacturing in the US,” IBISWorld. November 2021. https://www.ibisworld.com/united-states/market-research-reports/shoe-footwear-manufacturing-industry/.
Sourcing Journal. Footwear Report 2020, August 5, 2020. https://issuu.com/sourcingjournalevents/docs/20_footwear6_edited/1.
Strong, Matthew. “Nike Shifts Footwear Production from China to Vietnam.” Taiwan News, January 5, 2022. https://www.taiwannews.com.tw/en/news/4399466.
U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC). Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). “Personal Consumption Expenditures by Type of Product.” January 27, 2022. Table 2.4.5U. https://apps.bea.gov/iTable/iTable.cfm?reqid=19&step=3&isuri=1&nipa_table_list=2017&categories=underlying.
U.S. Department of Commerce (USDOC). Office of Textiles and Apparel (OTEXA). “Footwear, Leather, and Fur Products, and Travel Goods Index Page: Imports by Product Group and Country.” Accessed January 20, 2022. https://otexa.trade.gov/FLTCAT_imp.HTM.
U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC). “Special Topic: Trade Metrics,” Shifts in U.S. Merchandise Trade, 2014. Investigation No. 332-345. USITC Publication 4536. Washington, DC: USITC, June 2015. https://www.usitc.gov/research_and_analysis/trade_shifts_2014/trade_metrics.htm.
U.S. International Trade Commission Interactive Tariff and Trade DataWeb (USITC DataWeb)/U.S. Census Bureau (Census). http://dataweb.usitc.gov. Accessed various dates.
Velasquez, Angela. “Why Italy’s Footwear Sector Is Better Prepared to Take on the US Market.” Sourcing Journal, January 24, 2018. https://sourcingjournal.com/footwear/footwear-trends/italys-footwear-brands-courting-us-retailers-2-98620/.
World Footwear. Business Conditions Survey Second Semester 2021. Issue 5, November 2021. https://www.worldfootwear.com/publications-details/business-conditions-survey-second-semester-2021/7215.html?tab=All.
World Footwear. “Shortage of Raw Materials Threatens Indonesian Footwear Industry.” December 3, 2021. https://www.worldfootwear.com/news.asp?id=7274.
World Footwear. “Steve Madden Shifts Production from China to Mexico and Brazil.” August 5, 2022. https://www.worldfootwear.com/news.asp?id=6888.
World Footwear. “Vietnam: Industry Struggles with Extended Lockdowns.” October 1, 2021. https://www.worldfootwear.com/news.asp?id=7021.
World Footwear. “Vietnam Is Now the Main Exporter of Textile Footwear.” October 14, 2021. https://www.worldfootwear.com/news.asp?id=7058.