Step up your shoe game: how to find a manufacturer in Europe?

Editorial Team
December 14, 2023

From Italy to Spain to Portugal, Europe is renowned as the place to get your shoe line produced. Premium materials, skilled (old) creatives that have learned the craft from their grandmothers and fathers. It’s all true, but you still need to know some things before you can get started. This guide will help you navigate the market.

Why opt for a European shoe manufacturer?

European manufacturers are celebrated for their meticulous attention to detail and use of high-quality materials like leather and suede. Additionally, they embrace innovative, sustainable materials such as apple leather and recycled polyester. Craftsmanship in Europe spans generations, and some of the most remarkable machinery is no longer available in the market.

Choosing a European manufacturer as a brand located in Europe reflects a strategic, sustainable choice: nearshoring. Many European manufacturers prioritize fair labor practices and environmentally friendly production methods. Manufy allows you to filter and find a manufacturer that aligns with your values and work ethics.

Research and inquiry

When choosing a shoe manufacturer, there are several factors to consider. Start by ensuring the manufacturer produces top-quality shoes—research materials, production processes, and do they pay attention detail? Scrutinize their catalog, client portfolio, and customer reviews.

Next, ask questions to clear any confusion. Make an effort to better understand the ordering process, minimum order quantities, lead times, and shipping policies. Local production can offer faster delivery and – since you’re in the same time zone - smoother communication. If you have very specific sustainability criteria, be upfront about this so they can take any necessary special efforts into account.

Evaluating potential shoe manufacturers

When researching potential shoe manufacturers, utilize our database, where you can filter by location and product type. Once you've identified candidates, communicate your needs, request samples, review testimonials, and delve into their business practices. Consider scheduling a call or meeting to further discuss your requirements and understand their processes. Depending on your shoe type, request a detailed explanation of the manufacturing process.

To prepare for these conversations, explore the supply chain and answer key questions beforehand. Understand concepts like lasting, sole attachment methods, finishing processes, and criteria for recognizing quality. Clarify your brand language and its impact on design criteria. The more prepared you are for the call, the smoother the process.

Questions to ask a shoe manufacturer before you seal the deal

Before partnering with a shoe manufacturer, ask crucial questions to ensure compatibility. Inquire about materials, production processes, quality control measures, lead time, minimum orders, and pricing structure. Understand their strengths and weaknesses. If a match isn't evident, part ways amicably.

Only by asking questions can you find out whether you are a match. If it appears not to be the case? No hard feelings. Be kind, then move on.

Communicating with your shoe manufacturer

Clear communication with your shoe manufacturer is essential. Be clear and specific about your needs and expectations. Provide detailed feedback on any samples or prototypes that you receive. Keep an open line of communication with the manufacturer and be responsive to their inquiries. Use visual aids such as sketches, teck packs and photos to illustrate your vision. Be patient and allow for some flexibility in the manufacturing process. At this point, they know best.

With so many top shoe manufacturers in Europe to choose from, the only challenge will be deciding which one to work with. Go to and create your own profile to start looking for the perfect shoe manufacturer in Europe.