A rise in the value of footwear retail sales along with a surge in domestic manufacturing contributed to make 2011 a "very positive year" for the US footwear industry, according to data from the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA).

Although US footwear consumption declined 3.8% in 2011 as shoppers bought US$2.18bn pairs of shoes, the value of retail sales grew by 4.8% to $66.1bn, its ShoeStats 2012 report revealed. On average, each US shopper spent $212 on more than seven pairs of shoes in 2011.

Growth was driven by higher supply chain costs, including increases in materials, labour and transportation, as well as consumers returning to buy shoes at higher price-points coming out of the recession.

98.6% of footwear sold in the US is made internationally, a 0.2% decline from 2010 - which represents the first-ever decline in import penetration, or the amount of the US footwear market supplied by imports.

"With a 7.9% surge in domestic footwear manufacturing, 2011 was a very positive year for the US footwear industry," said AAFA president and CEO Kevin Burke.

"2011 was also marked by an increase in retail sales and growth in employment at the manufacturing, wholesale, and retail levels."

"2011 also represents a shift in sourcing as the industry began to diversify its supply chain away from China to other viable sourcing partners, including the United States," Burke added.

The report examines business and trade information related to US footwear consumption, production, employment, imports, and retail prices.

The AAFA is also urging the US government to continue to reduce barriers to trade, including the immediate congressional passage of the Affordable Footwear Act, which would eliminate import taxes on low-cost and children's shoes.