Tips to remain competitive in the EU Market
In order to remain competitive in the footwear industry in the EU, these are some of the key issues an exporter should consider when exporting footwear include:

  • The best value for money is important for the EU consumer. There will be a grading up to higher value footwear in the coming years.
  • Comfort in casual footwear for the growing group of older people for example in terms of soft leathers, perfect fit, warmth, inner soles with linings made from a single piece of leather, fabrics against moisture, membranes, breathable footwear or rubber soles. Also, in evening footwear there will be more comfort by different forms of high heels allowing easier walking.
  • Design, which plays an increasingly important role, also among older people. Particularly in Italian, French and Spanish designs, the shapes in footwear are rounded, refined and sometimes ultra feminine. Also, sneakers and trekking footwear designs are mixing of a sporty or solid look with refined shapes.
  • Technology with innovative footwear development mixing different materials in soles such as leather, Gore-Tex, nubuck and canvas for example developed by the new brand MBT (http://www.mbt.com). Computer aided design will continue to generate demand for new types of footwear.
  • Market Niches for example, more variety in evening footwear, recycled footwear, ethical footwear (e.g. the new brand TOMS – http://www.tomsshoes.com), street footwear or in outsized or specialised shoes.
  • Media coverage of celebrity lifestyles and the outfits, including footwear they are wearing for special events (work, leisure, dance parties, holidays etc..). A continued attention to their looks by TV and the Internet drive consumers to copy their look themselves.
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