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Safety footwear makers take inspiration from sports, casual lines

Exporters are sprucing up protective shoes with vivid tones and eye-catching closure placement.

China suppliers of safety footwear are giving their latest releases a trendy look by incorporating design details from athletic and informal shoes.

Safety footwear
  The HY903 model from Quanzhou Hengyu adopts design elements from hiking and skate shoes. It has plastic composite toe caps and goes for $11 per pair.

Companies are utilizing color schemes typically seen on trainers and sneakers, mixing neutrals such as white, black and pale gray with bright orange, yellow or blue. The key hues are reflected on mesh and leather patches on the uppers, some of which are in the form of a streak across the quarter. The theme can be continued by using striped webbing to form loops for the laces. A few styles employ wide and flat outsoles similar to skate shoes. As regards boots, cherry-tinted leather lends a fashionable appearance to models. Functional zipper and buckle closures are arranged to also be decorative. Makers are creating ankle-high slip-on variants with wide elastic patches on each side of the ankle as well. The fit-enhancing feature is often adopted in casual footwear.

Even with these initiatives, however, suppliers still apply traditional materials to maintain the integrity of the products. Cowhide is the primary choice for the uppers because it is more durable than pig- and sheepskin. Full-grain, suede, nubuck and split forms are utilized. The last represents about 70 percent of output in the line. This figure includes action leather, which is a version coated with PU. One-step injection-molded PU and PVC kinds are also available. For the outsoles, the most common and least expensive option is PU. Several combine a top layer of the polymer with rubber or TPU at the bottom. Adopting the latter hybrid boosts prices by $0.50. Pure rubber types are $2 costlier because they are manufactured using different equipment and therefore outsourced.

Apart from boosting the chicness of designs, suppliers are reducing weight by replacing steel toe caps and midsoles with a plastic composite consisting of fiberglass and other additives. The substitute is 20 to 30 percent lighter than the metal counterpart but does not compromise protection. In fact, it can resist up to 200J of shock as required by CE EN 20345:2007. Quotes for pairs that employ the alternative are $2.13 higher.

China-made safety footwear goes for $7 to $32. The majority of exports consist of ankle-high boots. Knee-length models with uppers of genuine hide have the smallest share.

Prices are 5 to 10 percent higher than three months ago due to rising material outlay. Rates for action leather increased 11 percent YoY, while those for full-grain cowhide and nubuck climbed 10 percent. Influenced by crude oil values, PU outsoles soared 33 percent in the same period. The upward trend is expected to continue in the months ahead. Consequently, suppliers will raise quotes by about 5 percent.

Product gallery

Safety footwear price guide

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Safety footwear
Product gallery

Ningbo Pioneer Protective Equipment Co. Ltd

Model: UC-3444
MOQ: 2,000 pairs
Price: $10.50 per pair
Description: Suede uppers; mesh lining; PU outsoles; steel midsoles, toe caps; sizes 37 to 47; CE EN 20345 S1P; box packaging

Safety footwear

Ningbo Pioneer Protective Equipment Co. Ltd

Model: UR-666
Price: $16.80 per pair
Description: Nubuck uppers; Cambrelle lining; steel midsoles, toe caps; PU outsoles; oil-resistant, anti-static; sizes 37 to 47; CE EN 20345:2004/A1:2007 S3

Safety footwear

Quanzhou Hengyu Light Industrial Development Co. Ltd

Model: HY903
MOQ: 5,000 pairs
Price: $11 per pair
Description: PU leather uppers; mesh lining; plastic composite toe caps; rubber, MD outsoles

Safety footwear

Ruian Youfeng Shoes Ind. Co. Ltd

Model: YF8641
MOQ: 2,000 pairs
Delivery: 45 days
Price: $7.80
Description: Action leather uppers; mesh lining; steel midsoles, toe caps; PU outsoles; sizes 37 to 47; CE EN 20345 S1P; custom packaging

Safety footwear

Ruian Youfeng Shoes Ind. Co. Ltd

Model: YF8620
MOQ: 3,000 pairs
Delivery: 45 days
Price: $11.50 per pair
Description: Action leather uppers; mesh lining; steel midsoles, toe caps; PU outsoles; sizes 37 to 47; CE EN 20345 SBP; custom packaging

Safety footwear

Shenzhen Selen Science & Technology Co. Ltd

Model: SE-7815
MOQ: 1,000 pairs
Price: $16.65 per pair
Description: Full-grain leather uppers; Cambrelle lining; steel midsoles, toe caps; PU, TPU outsoles; sizes 35 to 48; CE EN 20345 SB-S3

Note:This article was originally published by Global Sources, a leading business-to-business media company and a primary facilitator of trade with China manufacturers and India suppliers, providing essential sourcing information to volume buyers through our e-magazines, trade shows and industry research.

All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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