Your browser is no longer supported. For the best experience of this website, please upgrade to a newer version or another browser.

Your browser appears to have cookies disabled. For the best experience of this website, please enable cookies in your browser

We'll assume we have your consent to use cookies, for example so you won't need to log in each time you visit our site.
Learn more

Footwear factories that offer the ultimate label

Richard Kottler

In these days of mass production and overseas sourcing, the Made in Britain label still commands respect - but received wisdom tells us that British-made footwear is as dead as the proverbial Dodo.

In these days of mass production and overseas sourcing, the Made in Britain label still commands respect - but received wisdom tells us that British-made footwear is as dead as the proverbial Dodo.

Hold that thought! In response to enquiries from member companies, the British Footwear Association (BFA) investigated where premium grade shoes with the ‘Made in Britain’ tag can be manufactured. Much to our excitement, our research uncovered about a dozen UK manufacturers. We expected to find some producers of high grade men’s welted footwear that were keen to make for brands. We were more surprised to meet some small factories that could make a variety of footwear, from dressy ladies’ shoes to men’s casuals, speciality sports shoes, children’s product and dancewear.

The companies have been visited by the BFA to check production standards and the result is the ever-expanding ‘Britlist by the BFA’ (www.britfoot.com).

Some of these pockets of excellence use 100% British components and all produce to a high specification and do short runs and assembly work. Turnaround is rapid. What’s more, prices are increasingly competitive against rising costs elsewhere in the world and the reduced transportation commitment - more eco-friendly too.

A number of well-known brands have started working with these manufacturers. The brands see real marketing potential in the ‘Made in Britain’ label.

We are not talking about a major renaissance of the British footwear manufacturing sector, but about business between brands and dedicated local factories.

This is receiving every encouragement from those in the industry who are keen to see a reversal in the decline of quality footwear production in the UK.

Richard Kottler is chief executive of the British Footwear Association

Have your say

You must sign in to make a comment

Please remember that the submission of any material is governed by our Terms and Conditions and by submitting material you confirm your agreement to these Terms and Conditions. Links may be included in your comments but HTML is not permitted.