Spanish shoe exports grew last year by 12.3 percent in volume to 124.6 million pairs. Reaching the highest level in 10 years, they rose in value by 8.6 percent, breaking the €2 billion barrier at €2,007.3 million. The average price per pair declined by 3.31 percent to €16.11 as sales of canvas shoes and other types of footwear grew more strongly than those of leather shoes, which still represented 61.5 percent of the total export value.

A wider coverage of the international market helped Spanish companies to improve their overall performance abroad, offsetting the lower demand from their domestic demand. Their exports outside the European Union grew by 30 percent in volume and by 21 percent in value.

In particular, China became the 11th largest foreign destination for Spanish shoes with a jump in exports of 61 percent in pairs and 82 percent in value. With sales of 690,713 pairs worth €32.07 million in the country, the average price of €46.43 was the highest on the list compiled by Fice, the Spanish shoe industry association.

Sales to Japan were still a little higher in value and double as high in volume, and they went up by 29 percent in value and by 38 percent in volume in spite of the natural and nuclear disaster that hit the country one year ago.

The U.S. remained the largest destination outside the EU, with sales increases of 16.4 percent in volume and 11.5 percent in value. Sales in Canada grew at even higher rates of 30 and 18 percent, respectively.

In Eastern Europe, Spanish shoes recorded generally higher increases in value than in volume, rising by 21.2 percent in Poland, 13 percent in Romania, 32 percent in Hungary, 27 percent in the Czech Republic and 55 percent in Bulgaria. Sales in Russia went up by 39 percent in volume and 27 percent in value, reaching a level of €27.6 million.

Fice pointed to significant increases in volume in other emerging markets such as Mexico (+18%), Turkey (+31%), the United Arab Emirates (+15%), South Korea (+30%), Ukraine (+60%) and Brazil (+65%). Inside the EU, Spain's exports of footwear increased in value by 6.2 percent in France, by 11 percent in Italy, by 2.6 percent in Germany and by 6.4 percent in the U.K., but sales to Portugal fell by 3.8 percent. France, Italy and Germany continued to lead the national ranking.

Spain managed to reduce its trade deficit in the sector as its footwear imports declined by 2.9 percent in volume to 374 million pairs and grew in value by only 5.3 percent to €2,238 million. Portugal overtook Vietnam as the second-largest source in terms of volume, with a jump in imports of 333.4 percent (sic) to 27.7 million pairs accompanied by a rise in value of 126.3 percent to €235.7 million.

China remained the biggest source, accounting for 69 percent of the total volume imported into Spain, but imports from that country declined by 7.4 percent in volume and by 0.8 percent in value, reaching 257.3 million pairs worth €839.3 million. Imports from Vietnam went down by 13.2 percent in volume and by 8.2 percent in value, but imports from Indonesia grew by 8.1 percent in both volume and value.

Spain also imported less footwear from Italy, India and Brazil. Imports of Italian shoes declined by 10.5 percent to 7.6 million pairs and by 4.6 percent to €191.6 million. Imports from India were off by 9.4 percent in volume and by 5.1 percent in value. Imports from Brazil went down by 36.9 percent in volume and by 36.1 percent in value.