The mandatory tagging of footwear coupled with increased control of the Russian market could curb the share of counterfeit shoes, said Vladimir Denisenko, the head of Russia’s main footwear producer Unichel.

Denisenko was initially critical about the tagging project when it was launched by the Russian government on July 1, 2020.

He claims that some counterfeit shoes have been smuggled into Russia and tagged as unsold stock. ”This mess is still taking place,” he said, adding that the practice is affecting the entire Russian footwear industry.

“It is impossible to produce shoes legally, pay huge taxes, while it is possible to smuggle shoes into the country not paying anything. The Kazakh border is still open; there are caravans of cars, with less than 1 percent of them being inspected,” according to Denisenko.

Nevertheless, tagging could squeeze out counterfeit shoes within six to 12 months with increased inspections in shopping centers, flea markets and other retail channels by Rospotrebnadzor, the Russian watchdog for consumer rights and wellbeing, he added.