Portugal: Europe’s second largest footwear producer ahead of Spain

Portugal number two in European footwear

Ladies shoes on sale. Credit: Vladyslav Starozhylov/Shutterstock.com

Could Portugal’s recent strides in footwear production signify a shifting tide in European manufacturing?

Recent statistics show that Portugal has now eclipsed Spain, becoming the second-largest producer of footwear within the European Union.

As of 2022, Portugal manufactured 85 million pairs of shoes, surpassing Spain’s output by two million pairs. This milestone was reached due to Portugal’s consistent growth over the last decade in footwear production, contrary to the downward trend observed in Spain.

Production trends

From 2012 to 2022, Portugal saw its footwear production climb by 14.4 per cent, from 74 million to 81 million pairs.

Meanwhile, Spain’s production fell by 14 per cent, dropping from 97 million pairs in 2012 to just 83 million in 2022. This contrast highlights a significant shift within the industry, positioning Portugal favourably on the European stage.

Italy remains by far the top footwear producer in Europe, although its sector too has seen a decline, with production falling by 18.6 per cent since 2012, to 162 million pairs.

This indicates a broader slowdown in the European footwear market, which has contracted by 19.6 per cent over the past ten years, totalling 496 million pairs.

A vision for the future

‘This is the result of the continuous investment of the footwear sector in Portugal in the definition of an ambitious vision and adapted public policies, which have allowed the sector to reposition itself in the international competitive scene,’

Luis Onofre, president of the Association of Manufacturers of Footwear, Components, and Leather Goods, explained that Portugal’s success stems from the footwear sector’s ongoing commitment to setting a bold vision and implementing tailored public policies, enabling it to improve its competitive stance around the world.

In terms of business numbers, Italy leads with 3,381 registered footwear companies, though this is a drop of 25.8 per cent since 2012.

Spain and Portugal have also seen reductions in their number of footwear companies by 16.1 per cent and five per cent, respectively. Spain now has 2,808 companies, while Portugal hosts 2,428.

Portugal’s rise in the footwear industry not only reflects its economic resilience but also suggests a promising outlook for its market share in Europe.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.