Spanish shoe companies will have had a total of 621 stands at 22 foreign trade shows in Germany, France, Italy, Russia, the U.K., the U.S., Japan and Australia this year in coordination with Fice, the Spanish shoe industry association. That's going to be 33 percent more overall than in 2010.

In particular, the number of firms showing at each of the two sessions of the Micam fair in Milan will be up by 16 percent to 168 this year. The GDS fair in Düsseldorf will come in second position with a contingent of 82 firms, 5 percent more than last year. As France remains the biggest foreign destination for Spanish footwear, Icex, the Spanish export promotion institute, is providing support for a big boost in the Spanish presence at three fairs in Paris: A total of 66 firms will have shown at the two sessions of Première Classe, Who's Next and Mess Around, compared with only 22 in 2010.

A record of 87 shoe firms will have shown this year at the FFANY and Sole Commerce fairs in New York, 40 percent more than in 2010, and 36 firms will have had stands at the two sessions of the FN Platform at Magic in Las Vegas.

On top of these and other regular fairs abroad, Fice and Icex will have sponsored various initiatives in China, a match-making session with German agents in Düsseldorf in June and a special exhibition of Spanish shoes in Tokyo last month. The number of companies participating in the latter two trade missions were 25 and 11, respectively.

A dedicated page for “Zapatos de España” has been posted on Facebook and Twitter since September 2010. Furthermore, an advertising campaign involving Spanish shoe brands will result in 84 ads in all these countries except Russia and Australia, 31.3 percent more than in 2010. Conversely, only 21 firms have agreed to participate this year in communication programs partly financed by Icex in Germany, Italy and the U.K. – 30 percent fewer than in 2010.

Spanish shoemakers hope to be able to sustain the export momentum of the first five months of this year. They shipped 56 million pairs of shoes abroad between January and May, 12.2 percent more than in the same period of 2010, and their total value went up by 13.2 percent to €875 million. Exports of leather shoes declined by 1.4 percent in volume but rose by 6.3 percent in value. For all types of footwear, the average export price increased in all the six major markets except Portugal, where the volume jumped by 38.7 percent to a level of 7.4 million pairs in the period, second only to France.

In terms of value, Spanish shoe exports rose by 9.1 percent in France, by 14.9 percent in Italy, by 7.5 percent in Germany, by 13.1 percent in Portugal, by 18.6 percent in the U.K. and by 23.4 percent in the U.S. Further down the list, they grew by 24.4 percent in Japan, by 42.6 percent in Russia, by 19.2 percent in Mexico and by 108.1 percent in China.

Spain's total shoe imports increased by 12.9 percent in value to €800.6 million during the five-month period, but they declined in volume by 9.3 percent to 149.4 million pairs. Imports from China declined by 11.9 percent to 109.4 million pairs, but their value grew by 20.5 percent as their average price shot up by 36.9 percent to €2.94 per pair. In terms of value, significant increases were registered from Indonesia and Portugal – up by 22.6 and 33.4 percent, respectively – while imports from Brazil fell by 20.3 percent.