The Italian footwear sector

Despite the serious consequences induced by the pandemic, Italy is the leading shoe manufacturing country in the European Union (with 130.7 million pairs produced); holds thirteenth place amongst world-wide footwear manufacturing countries in volume terms.
It is the eighth exporting country in the world in volume, but the third in terms of value.
[2020 data, WorldFootwearYearbook 2021 edition].
Italy has always been the undisputed leader among manufacturers of luxury and high level shoes having a high fashion content.

The Italian footwear sector is one of the pillars of the Fashion System.
It has about 4,100 companies and 72,000 employees (data for 2020), a trade balance that has always been active and an overall annual turnover that in 2019, pre-Covid, was around 14.3 billion euros.
It represents a reality of extreme qualitative and quantitative importance in the Italian economy.

The success of the footwear sector in Italy is linked to the lively entrepreneurial spirit and to the typical structure of the sector, which is part of a “supply chain”, an operational system consisting of sub-suppliers of raw materials, tanneries, components, accessories, machinery manufacturers, model makers and stylists.

This has resulted in a territorial concentration of companies and the formation of shoe manufacturing districts. The main districts are located in the following regions: Marches, Tuscany, Veneto, Campania, Lombardy, Apulia and Emilia Romagna and cover 23 provinces.

The leading position of the Italian shoe industry on the International markets is due to the sector’s high level of competitiveness based on the superior quality of the product and an elevated capacity for innovation.

The characteristics that distinguish Italian production in the footwear sector are: creative talent, innovation of traditional manufacturing methods and skilled labour thanks also to the existence of professional training schools; raw materials, accessories and components that are in the forefront for technology and design; flexibility, thanks to the territorial concentration and size of the companies; a wide range of designs to suit current trends and satisfy customer demands; customer service and the “Made in Italy” image.