While China still supplies more than eight out of every 10 shoes sold in the U.S., domestic production is on the up. A recent report by the AAFA (American Apparel and Footwear Association) found that in 2012, the number of shoes manufactured in the United States increased by 9 percent. This rise combined with a corresponding fall in imports caused import penetration in the footwear market to fall slightly for the second year in a row, from 98.7 percent to 98.6 percent.
Forever 21 is the latest fast fashion brand to bank on shoes. Joining the likes of Nasty Gal, Gap and H&M, the chain will soon debut a range of 10 trend-driven styles of higher quality–and price–than its past inexpensive offerings. Prices will range from $49 to $79. Forever 21 recently came under fire for its existing footwear and accessories when unsafe amounts of lead were found in several items.
Puma has added to its long list of star sponsorships by inking a deal with AC Milan striker Mario Balotelli. The controversial soccer player wore the brand’s boots for the first time last week against Roma when he sported a custom pair of evoPower Stampa FG covered in newspaper headlines from his colorful career. “Puma’s support for the Italian national team was [an] instrumental reason for me signing this contract and I am sure that the coming years will bring many good things for us all,” Balotelli says.