Pakistan produces a wide range of footwear to cater for the needs of a variety of customers – men and women, boys and girls, pedestrians and joggers, business executives and bureaucrats, office goers and hawkers, squash and hockey players, cricketers and footballers, mountaineers and foresters, policemen and soldiers and specially designed footwear for the disabled.
Many factories have a production capacity of 2,500 pairs per day, while the larger units produce as much as 10,000 pairs per day. It includes leather, textile and synthetic shoes.
Bulk of the exports, about 80% are of leather shoes in the medium price range of 9-12 US Dollars and are very competitive in the international market.
Pakistani Footwear Industry is in constant touch with the developments occurring in the modern footwear technology and technical know-how, especially in Europe.
Pakistan has inherited centuries old craftsmanship of shoe making and its popular brands like ‘Khussa’ a hand crafted footwear with thick leather used in uppers and soles and special stitching process, is still exported in huge quantities.
The main strength of the footwear industry is the availability of top quality leather in the country. Pakistan is a hub for the production of high quality leather and the leather goods industry is a big contributor to the country’s export earnings.
Pakistan shoe making industry is predominantly located in and around city of Lahore, where almost 80 percent of the documented sector of the country is located. Other regions where shoe making activities are good include Karachi, Faisalabad, and Multan.
The Pakistani Footwear Industry is striving to reposition itself with a view to forming joint ventures with Chinese manufacturers. Collaboration with Chinese shoemakers is expected to help the domestic industry access new technology and improve labor skills, as well as boost exports.
Pakistan is also famous for producing Peshawari Chappal traditional footwear worn especially by Pashtuns in the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa region.
It is semi-closed footwear which consists of two wide strips where both strips are joined with the sole by crossing each other. The back side has also a strip with a buckle to tie according to the foot size and level of comfort. It is traditionally made with pure leather.
In March 2014, Peshawari Chappal became the center of a global fashion debate when Sir Paul Smith (fashion designer) made a similar shoe, which sold for £300.
This prompted complaints on social media that this appropriated the culture and craft of its original Pakistan makers. As a result, the shoe’s description on the Paul Smith website was changed to read that it was ‘inspired by Peshawari Chappal.