Help needed on First-pullover or sample question

Re-paste of what i posted in another thread forum on accident

Hello guys, I am new to the forums as you can see, and I am fairly new to the shoe business.

Say I have a couple designs already, now where do I go to get it prototype or sample and try it out and from there, what companies should I be approaching to mass produce it?

From what I understand, all of these process are done cheaper over seas, and from what I have been reading, I just need to find a factory and show them my design drawings and things should get up and started right?

I guess the most important questions is, how long the process will take, how much money is required, and best of all, what factory do you guys recommend, or how do I find a reliable factory.

If I am off on my assumptions, please help me get started on the right path.

Last bit of info: We plan to produce around 1,000-10,000 units of our first model (Sport/sneaker shoe).

Sorry for the double post, but as what I have read around on this forum alone, we are prepare for the 100k$ investment.

But can that cost be cut in half? Or further more? Since I reside in the US, is there any recommended factories here that would sample a shoe for us, and worry about the mass production later?

Right now, my main focus is to have a sample completed.

Ah, I get several emails a week about this subject, so I reckon Im pretty well versed…

Dress shoes - you can often find a shoemaker to make a one-off prototype but not for sneakers, it’s pretty rare now. Regular shoemakers cannot make sneakers, it is a completely different skill.

I used to use an independant sample room for sneakers in Pusan (South Korea), but I’m not sure these places exist anymore - they were mostly going out of business back then (6 years ago). AFAIK theres no domestic prototyping of sneakers in the USA.

Sneaker sample rooms tend to be in sneaker factories. They will probably want evidence of orders if you are a new business. The sample always costs alot more than what they actually charge you, they will be investing in you as a company because of this and this is why they won’t make a sample purely for the sake of making a sample.

It also depends what your product is like - I had someone contact me as a business start up last year - he had a basic product, he used an existing outsole and it was no problem finding factory and getting the samples produced.

If you plan to open your own outsole molds the costs skyrocket as do the minimum orders. The minimum order I’d imagine you could get away with if you wanted exclusive upper patterns but an existing outsole would be about 5,000 pairs. If it’s your own outsole, then the minimum they accept would probably be 40,000 pairs (you might be able to persuade them to spread this over two or even three season, I don’t know). You could pay the mold costs upfront but it won’t be cheap at all.

The $100,000 cost is realistic. Even my friend (who has been in the shoe trade for 22 years) who is in the second season with her own line has expressed to me that it is way, way more expensive than she had ever dreamed. You need the $100,000 because it’s not really possible to turn a profit until your third season in business at least. You need to budget for problems (my friend has been on a plane to the factory every week because there were problems).

So, in a nutshell.

You can’t do it on the cheap.
You will need the funding and a solid business plan in place if you are to be taken seriously by any decent factory /sample room.

Thank you for your well descriptive response, that was what I needed. 5,000 pairs sounds like a good start, we don’t mind starting out with their outsole molding material. We have the funding, but was unsure what path to take. Another question we had was, is there any reliable factories you guys recommend? We were planning to try to hit the vietnamese shoe factories since our communication skills will be better off with them.

Last of all, for the 5,000 pairs of shoes, and using their soles… how much does it typically cost to produce all that, along with the labor cost, materials, and such?


you won’t make a lot of headway here unless you describe or post an image of exactly what it is you’re trying to do.

First clarification is needed as to what type of bottom this is going on (you said you’d work with the factory to use open molds), but is this a sheet bottom, sheet bottom with eva wedge, tapings/foxings, cupsole? Rubber is prices have been rising, the more rubber you use, the greater the cost. Also is this going to be a rubber bottom? If you’re on a budget maybe a tpr is a potential option.

Next the lasting process. Do you have a last? Do you have a full size range, or will it only be whole sizes? Lasts may need to be made for your project, or you can use a factories, but you have to find the right one. Additionally if you do this, you’ll need to make sure it is compatible with your bottom.

This will also determine construction type, board or strobel. Again this is something that has to be considered. Generally speaking board lasting keeps the shape more, but is stiffer and again will cost more. Strobel constructions are usually for athletic, lifestyle, etc. and are a little cheaper. It also means that there will be less control when produced. If you get into a crummy factory, your production run can look like garbage if not lasted properly on a strobel construction.

Materials, there here that can add to the pricing, like is it all over full grains and rich leathers or is this heavy on the textile side?

Linings and sock liners. Will you need a mold for the sockliner? what material? Pu, eva, composite, propriatary materials? Is your lining going to be pig leather or calf? Is it gonna be canvas and terry?

Before someone can give you an estimate you gotta come up with some specs for the shoe man. Also your relationship to the factory can be a very important part of pricing; if the factory doesn’t see you doing future business, they may take as much as they can knowing that you don’t have many options.

To offer you an idea of pricing though, i’ll volunteer something. Let’s say you were going to do an existing last, on an existing sheet bottom with a toe bumper and eva wedge (think of like asics casual shoes), it’s got a full grain upper, stock sockliner with terry and canvas lining (we’ll assume skeleton pig lining). Let’s also say you’re a pretty good negotiator, the factory likes you and you will do business going forward, expect ~19-21. If they didn’t like you etc. expect 24 (or more) for an FOB. Again this is considering your 5k pair run.

I don’t know what your margins are or what type of points you need to hit, but that should put your shoe in at around 79-99. This doesn’t take into account anything else, if you are selling the shoe directly then you can bring the costs down further etc.

Good luck though.