Turkey's footwear industry has developed at a rapid pace due to modern manufacturing processes, the availability of major quality raw materials, skilled workers and high design capacity. Today the Turkish footwear industry has a strong position among exporters of high quality fashion goods. Another sign of positive development is the increase in foreign investments in the sector.
It is obvious that the footwear industry is extremely dependent on the leather industry in the country. The Turkish leather sector, which has a history of 500 years, is becoming a leading centre in the leather world. The Turkish leather industry which occupies a prominent place in the Turkish economy has been developing rapidly by combining its technology and its historical background.
Initial efforts to modernize the leather industry began in the 70s but significant progress on a real industrial scale only began in the mid 80s. The sector has developed very quickly in recent years. At present, there are three organised leather industry zones in Turkey and wastewater treatment plants for these zones have been completed. In addition, eight organised leather industry zones are under construction. The sector produces according to international standards and is becoming more sensitive to health and the environment; about 90 % of the production is based on health and environmental standards.
Leather is one of Turkey's leading export sectors. The export figure of the leather sector for 2007 was about 846 million dollars.
The shoe industry, which began to appear as a smallsize industry in 1950, is now a welldeveloped industry. Especially in the 1980s significant investments in machinery parks were made and now over 15 % of the sector has completed its industrialization process. About 70 % of the production in the sector is carried out by semimechanized production processes and almost 15 % of production is handmade.
According to State Institute of Statistics, the footwear industry employs 26,954 people and the industry has about 4753 companies which are manufacturing various shoes and slippers. Almost 50 % of the total number of companies is active in İstanbul. Konya, Ankara, Gaziantep, Manisa and Denizli, Adana, Malatya and orum (İskilip) are the other important shoe production centers.
The production capacity of the 33 leading companies in the sector is 328,100 pairs daily. In addition, there are many small and medium size establishments in the sector.
Turkeys shoe production reached 200 million pairs in 2004. Almost 26 % of the production consists of leather shoes. In addition, there has been a rapid increase in the manufacture of plastic shoes and slippers. The footwear sector relies on Turkish made shoe production machinery as well as shoe parts. The share of the shoe parts industry in the total shoe industry production is around 5 % and production is very diversified. The soles, heels, casting molds and the welt of the shoes are exported. The shoe parts industry is located in İzmir and the Aegean region, Konya, Gaziantep and in particular İstanbul.
The military boots, work and safety shoes industries in Turkey have developed significantly in recent years. These sectors are producing according to international standards, and shoes with the CE mark are exported to European countries.
The footwear sector closely follows the latest trends in the fashion world. Turkish shoe companies prepare their own collections for every season according to fashion trends both in Turkey and in the world.
The industry is now concentrating
its efforts on training and design. In this context, with the initiative of
shoe industry, the Turkish Shoe Industry Research, Development and Education
Foundation was established in 2001. In order to meet the need of qualified personel
in shoe design, a new department of education, "The Shoe Design Department"
has been opened at Mimar Sinan University in Istanbul, which offers twoyear courses.
In addition to these, every year various shoe design competitions are being
organized in order to discover new talents in the field of design.