About 500 delegates from more than 30 countries around the world - about 240 of them from Portugal - have registered to attend the 20th edition of the UITIC Congress in the Portuguese city of Porto on May 16-18 to learn more about the development of the shoe sector, particularly on the technical side, and for networking purposes. It's a great score, as the organizers were hoping for more than 400 delegates.

Repeating the experience of two years ago at the previous UITIC convention in Chennai, some of the delegates will also participate in group visits to various Portuguese shoe factories prior to the conference.

The program for the conference is available on its website. Focused on the theme “From Fashion to Factory: A New Technological Age,” the conference will start with introductory lectures and a discussion panel on emerging design technologies involving representatives of Deckers Brands and Deichmann. It will be moderated by Matt Priest, who runs Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA). 

Claude Eric Paquin, president of the French Footwear Federation, will introduce the topic of new products and services, followed by speeches from Sofia Lucas of Vogue, Maria José Ferreira of the Portuguese Footwear Technology Center (CTCP) and representatives of Else Corp. 

The editor of Shoe Intelligence will run one of two sessions on intelligent development and manufacturing, involving experts from the Centre Technique du Cuir (CTC) in France, the Spanish footwear research institute (Inescop) and other institutes, plus Desma, Atom Lab and BM Technology from China.

On the second day, other speakers from France, Brazil, Portugal, Spain and India will address the themes of sustainability, and regulatory trends. Representatives from Romania, Germany, Italy and France will speak about training and knowledge management.

Run by Yves Morin, the International Union of Footwear Technicians (UITIC), is organizing the biennial convention in Porto together with CTCP and the Portuguese shoe and leathergoods industry association, Apiccaps.