Turkey’s footwear industry has developed at a rapid pace due to modern manufacturing processes, the availability of major quality raw materials, skilled workers and high design capacity. Today the Turkish footwear industry has a strong position among exporters of high-quality fashion goods. Another sign of positive development is the increase in foreign investments in the sector.
It is obvious that the footwear industry is extremely dependent on the leather industry of Turkey. The Turkish leather industry, which has a history of 500 years, is becoming a leading center in the world leather industry. The Turkish leather industry, which occupies a prominent place in the Turkish economy, continues to develop day by day by combining new technology and its historical background.
Although the initial efforts to modernize the leather industry began in the 70s, significant progress at a real industrial scale began in the mid-80s. The sector produces according to international standards and is becoming more sensitive to health and the environment – about 90% of the production is based on health and environmental standards.
Leather is one of Turkey’s leading export sectors. The export figure of the leather sector (including footwear) for 2018 was about US$ 1.5 billion.
The shoe industry, which began to appear as a small-size industry in 1950, is a well developed industry now. Especially in the 1980s, significant investments in machinery parks were made and now, over 15% of the sector has completed its industrialization process. About 70% of the production in the sector is carried out by semi-mechanized production processes and almost 15% of production is hand-made.
According to Social Security Institution Statistics there are 6.348 workplaces producing leather and leather related products and 59.316 insured persons in 2018 (November). Turkey’s shoe production reached more than 360 million pairs, including sneakers, boots, plastic shoes and slippers. Almost 50% of the total number of companies is active in Istanbul. Konya, Gaziantep, İzmir, Ankara, Manisa, Hatay are other important shoe production centers in Turkey.The footwear sector relies on Turkish-made shoe production machinery, as well as shoe parts. The share of the shoe parts industry in the total shoe industry production is around 5% and production is quite diversified. The soles, heels, casting molds and the welt of the shoes are exported. The shoe parts industry is located in Izmir and the Aegean region, Konya, Gaziantep and in particular Istanbul. The military boots, work and safety shoe production in Turkey have developed significantly in recent years. These sectors make production according to international standards, and shoes with the CE mark are exported to the European countries.
The footwear sector closely follows the latest trends in the fashion world. Turkish shoe companies prepare their own collections for every season according to fashion trends both in Turkey and the world. The industry is now concentrating its efforts on training and design. In this context, with the initiative of the shoe industry, the Turkish Shoe Industry Research, Development, and Education Foundation (TASEV) was established in 2001. In order to meet the need of qualified personal in shoe design, a new department of education, “The Shoe Design Department” has been opened at Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul, which offers two-year courses. In addition to these, every year, various shoe design competitions are being organized in order to discover new talents in the field of design.
Today the Turkish footwear sector has the capacity of creating its own brands and fashion. The performance of the sector largely depends on exports. The Turkish shoe sector had an export value of US$ 887,4 million in the year 2018. Major markets for the Turkish made shoes in 2018 were the Russian Federation, Iraq, Germany, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Italy
The Turkish footwear sector takes part in important international fairs and exhibitions abroad. GSD Shoe Fair – Düsseldorf / Germany, Motexha Spring Fair – Dubai / U.A.E., Mosshoes Moscow / Russia, Micam Shoeevent / Milano and Lineapella – Italy are the most attended ones. As an important footwear producer/exporter country, many fairs are also held in Turkey in the related sector every year. Major fairs in the Turkish footwear industry in 2019 are as follows:
Trade Fairs in Turkey
Source: Republic of Turkey – Ministry of Trade, 2019