This report focuses on the manufacture, wholesale, and retail of footwear in South Africa and includes information on the state and size of the sector, plans to grow the sector, regulation, developments, notable players and factors that influence the industry. There are profiles of 57 companies including manufacturers and wholesalers such as Bolton Footwear, retailers including One Step Ahead, Mr Price and Mr Tekkie, and local brands such as Corrida (Tsonga), Bathu Swag and Veldskoen Shoes.
The Footwear Industry in South Africa
South Africa’s footwear industry manufactures safety and protective footwear, gumboots, formal and casual footwear, school shoes, slippers, sandals, ballet shoes and children’s shoes. There are 15 large factories producing more than half of local production. The number of shoes produced locally and the number of smaller factories has declined, but the value of footwear sales has increased incrementally over the past decade, apart from 2020, reflecting price increases and higher sales of imported footwear.
There are concerns about the ongoing sustainability of the industry, mainly due to low productivity levels and increasing labour costs. Initiatives to grow the industry include a clothing, textile, footwear, and leather masterplan and government’s production incentive programme to fund manufacturing infrastructure.
Sales of sneakers have been increasing. Sportswear brands continue to hold strong positions in footwear in South Africa, including global brands such as Nike and Adidas and local brands such as Bathu and Drip. Demand for vegan footwear, which is manufactured using environment-friendly materials and alternatives to leather, is increasing, driven by rising awareness of animal rights, concerns about plastic waste, increasing demand for sustainable products, and a growing number of vegans. A subsector which has remained robust is safety footwear, where demand has been consistently high. Sales and production of locally-made safety footwear, both gumboots and leather, has increased.