Why American-Made Shoes Have an Enthusiastic Audience Overseas

Starting with the White House, there’s increasingly been a push to step up manufacturing in the U.S. While the States had been known as a manufacturing mecca for shoe companies into the ’80s, production has since continued to move overseas, particularly China. In a bit of a role reversal, brands making shoes in the States are finding a receptive audience to these looks overseas from Europe to Asia.

Here, FN asked footwear designers and company presidents, “How is Made in America Footwear Perceived Overseas?”

Michele Bitner

International Brand Manager, Wolverine

“The Wolverine 1000 Mile collection is sold in a variety of countries, including Germany, Denmark and Japan. The heritage of our brand, coupled with the craftsmanship of our products, has appealed to the current Americana trend.“

Noah Waxman 

Founder, Noah Waxman

“We have customers in Asia and Europe that specifically buy my Handmade in USA boots. America builds a particular style of footwear extremely well: Goodyear welted, slightly rugged shoes and boots that will last for ages. I love to play with these classic styles, reinterpreting them with unexpected colors, materials and details. I see an excitement in my customers for my unique blend of authentic American craftsmanship and whimsical design.”

George Esquivel

Founder, Esquivel Designs

“In my luxury market segment, brands [performing well] overseas are those with an independent identity, along with a distinct look and feel. My collection tends to do well where there’s a high value placed on the artisans and craftsmanship that goes into my products. While we wholesale overseas in France, Norway, Germany, Japan and Switzerland, we have direct-to-consumer clients on every continent in multiple countries.”

George Esquivel bootie
George Esquivel gold metallic bootie.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

 

David Hoyt

President, Sloggers

“While we’re focused on the North American market, we do a nice export business to Australia and New Zealand. The [customers] like USA products because [most] everything else comes from China. Quality is [also] important, along with our focus on our unique graphics. However, a strong U.S. dollar makes exporting less attractive. Currency exchange rates are more of an influence than any marketing aspect of made in the USA unless it’s an iconic brand.”

Sloggers rain boot is sold in Australia and New Zealand.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand
Danner Mountain Light Boot
Danner Mountain Light Cascasde boot.
CREDIT: Courtesy of brand

 

Kotaro Nagahama

International sales manager, Danner

“Danner distributes [globally], with the biggest markets in Asia, Europe, the U.K. and Canada. While Asia is strong, we’re seeing rapid growth in Europe and the U.K. with our classic stitch-down boots. A common thread among all our USA-made boots is the quality and iconic lace-to-toe styling. Last year, we launched with lifestyle retailers in the U.K., including End, Kafka, Oi Polloi and Outsiders.”

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