Spain's shoe industry has emerged from a four-year restructuring to boost producers' margins and improve the international image of "Made in Spain" shoes.
 
While the industry's size has shrunk, its companies are more profitable than in 2004 when the sector was crumbling under soaring Asian imports, a strong Euro and a thriving black market.

It follows a  campaign to promote Spanish shoes as a high-quality product for international export, invest more in research and development, and crack down on illegal sales.

"We have lost many jobs and companies but we have a healthier and more competitive industry with very well positioned brands," a spokesman for leading shoe industry federation Fice told just-style.

Since 2004, the industry has lost 10,000 jobs while approximately 500 companies, mostly mass-market shoe producers that couldn't compete with China's low prices, closed shop.

The country's producers operate 400 mono-brand shops around the world and that number is expected to rise sharply in the medium term, he added.

According to Fice, shoe export revenues rose 7.4% to EUR1.9bn last year when 100m pairs of shoes were sold abroad.

Average Spanish shoe prices rose 3% to EUR18.63 last year and rose to EUR33.53 in the US, consolidating the sector's efforts to sell its products at more premium prices.

Spain is home to global brands such as Majorca-based Camper and Yanko. In recent years, labels such as Pedro Garcia, Chie Mihara and Callaghan de la Rioja have also made a name for themselves.

By Ivan Castano Freeman.