The head of Australian footwear manufacturer Blundstone, best known for its gumboots and elastic-sided shoes, on Monday warned the firm may have to close its domestic operations due to cheap imports.

Although chief executive Steve Gunn described such a move as an "absolute last resort", he said the axe could eventually fall on its main plant in Hobart which employs 350 people and a smaller factory in Melbourne which has 15 staff.

He said the firm, which recently posted a 30 per cent jump in exports, is now at an "operational crossroads" with "cheap imports gaining support in the market at our expense".

"Unless that situation turns around, we will be forced to take decisions to meet competition," he told The Sydney Morning Herald. "Doing so would most likely come in the form of reduced local manufacturing."