The Designers Guide to Shoe Material Suppliers
Shoe Material Suppliers
A supply of high-quality shoe materials and subcomponents is key to great looking and long lasting shoes. Your shoe material suppliers will be your best partners as you design and develop your shoe lines. A good relationship with your shoe material suppliers has many benefits. They can help recommend materials for your shoes and can also help you make or find new or unique materials. A supply factory with steady material orders from you will move your production to the head of the line or may be more accommodating if there is ever a problem.
Finding Shoe Material Suppliers:
A great place to start is your shoe factory’s existing material supply partners. Ask your shoe factory development department to order swatch books and sample cards for your study. They will have many types of leather, textile, PU leather, and plastic swatch books. Don’t forget to ask for the price sheets! If they can’t get you material books, snap a photo of the book so you can make contact yourself. If you don’t see anything you like, don’t be afraid to strike out on your own to find new suppliers! There are great material shows full of vendors looking for new customers. The Material Show and Alibaba.com are great tools for findings materials close to your shoe factory.
Shoe Material Suppliers Will Come to You:
Once you get started material suppliers will be coming to you. If you work for a major brand you may need to turn suppliers away! Longtime relationships with material supply reps is also a great way to get some “inside” information. “Oh, yea we are making tons of this material for ……….and ………” Your material rep is also a great source of industry gossip. “Did you hear that so and so has moved to the new shoe company in Portland?” Keep your eyes and ears open!
Local Market Shoe Material Suppliers:
Depending on the location of your shoe factory you may be close to local shoe material markets. These market areas are a great place to seek inspiration, and everything is for sale! But watch out for the material quality, make sure you test any local market materials before production.
Visiting Your Shoe Material Suppliers:
When traveling overseas make time visit your existing material suppliers to see how they really make their products. Supplier visits are always a worthwhile use of your time. You will gain insights as to the vendor’s capabilities and processes. You may see something that peeks your imagination! A new machine, or process, an old machine, a competitors material in production, there is much to see if you are there on the ground with your eyes and ears open.
Here is a short list of the many shoe material suppliers available to you.
Real Leather for Shoes
Synthetic leather for shoes
Textiles for Shoes
Lining Fabric for Shoes
Thread for Shoemaking
Shoe Laces/Webbing / Trims Etc./Reinforcements