(P) Essential Guidance for any company importing or exporting footwear and parts of footwear to find the HS code
The outer sole
Footwear made from leather and textile
Waterproof footwear made of rubber or plastics
Other footwear made of rubber or plastics
Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics or composition leather, and uppers of leather
Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather, and uppers of textile
Parts of footwear
Items excluded from chapter 64
Introduction Chapter 64 includes footwear, soles and uppers made of textiles, leather, rubber or plastics. This includes woven fabrics and other textile products, which have an external layer of rubber or plastics visible to the naked eye.
Footwear is classified according to:
the material of the upper and the outer sole (this can be any material other than asbestos)
its type and purpose
whether the shoe covers the ankle
shoe size (specifically whether the insole length is 24 centimetres (cm) or more, or less than 24cm) — it does not take into account whether they’re classed as adult or child footwear
the height of the heel
who the target audience is
The upper The upper is the part of footwear that’s above the sole. It covers the sides and top of the foot. It does not include the tongue or any padding around the collar.
If the upper is made of more than one material, the classification is determined by the material covering the greatest external area. Accessories and reinforcements are not taken into account, including:
Reinforcements Reinforcements are parts attached to the outside of the upper, such as the addition of leather or plastic patches to add strength.
To be treated as a reinforcement, the attachment must be made of material that’s suitable for use as an upper (not lining material). If the attachment covers only a small area of lining material, it’s treated as part of the upper, rather than a reinforcement. To find out which parts are reinforcements and which parts help form the upper, you may need to cut the external material to see what’s underneath.
The outer sole The outer sole is the part of footwear that comes into contact with the ground during use. The outer sole does not include any separate attached heel.
To establish what the outer sole is made of, you need to identify what material has the greatest surface area in contact with the ground. Accessories and add-ons are not taken into account, including:
Footwear made from leather and textile To find the correct commodity code for certain items of footwear, you need to know what main material makes up the upper. Some shoes are made from a combination of textile, leather and lining material. Only textile and leather are viable uppers for classification purposes.
You should check under all the leather sections of a shoe before deciding what the main material is. This guidance will help you determine what the main material is for each section of the shoe.
After these checks, if you reach the conclusion that the greater area of the upper is made from leather, and the shoe has outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather it will be classified under heading 6403.
If you reach the conclusion that the greater area of the upper is made from textile, and the shoe has outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather it will be classified under heading 6404. Lining material is not substantial enough to be considered as a viable upper.
A shoe with an upper made mainly of textile
Diagram showing parts of a trainer, labelled as follows: 1. Toe cap 2. Toe vamp 3. Eye stay 4. Section overlapping the eye stay 5. Back section 6. Heel counter 7. Side section 8.
Toe caps and vamps
If you remove the leather toe cap and toe vamp and find textile material underneath, the textile is considered as the viable upper — the toe cap and vamp are classed as reinforcements.
The eye stay and heel counter The eye stay and heel counter are considered as viable uppers if you remove them and reveal lining material with only a small section of textile. When the textile does not extend under the whole leather eye stay, the leather section is considered as the viable upper. If you remove the leather section (that sometimes overlaps with the eye stay) and reveal it’s sewn on top of textile, the textile must be considered as the viable upper. If the leather section overlaps the eye stay, the eye stay has already been taken into account as a viable upper, therefore the overlapping section cannot also be counted. The leather section is treated as reinforcement. Back section If you remove the small leather section at the back of the shoe and reveal textile underneath, the textile is considered as the viable upper. The leather section is treated as a reinforcement. Side sections and logo If you remove the leather side sections and the logo and reveal textile underneath, the textile is considered as the viable upper. The leather sections and logo are treated as reinforcements.
A shoe with an upper made mainly of leather
Diagram showing parts of a trainer, labelled as follows:
1. Toe cap
2. Toe vamp
3. Eye stay
4. Section overlapping the eye stay
5. Back section
6. Heel counter
7. Large side section
8. Small side section
9. LogoToe caps and vamps
If you remove the leather toe cap and toe vamp and find limited lining material underneath, the leather pieces are considered to be the viable uppers.
The eye stay and heel counter The leather eye stay and heel counter are considered as viable uppers if you remove them and reveal only lining material. When you find this under the eye stay, it means the textile upper material is not one continuous piece and leather has been used to cover the areas where the textile pieces don’t meet. The leather sections must be considered as viable uppers.
Back section If you remove the small leather section at the back of the shoe and reveal textile underneath, the textile is considered as the viable upper. The leather section is treated as a reinforcement.
Side sections and logo If you remove the large leather side section and reveal that the textile material does not continue all the way down to the sole area, the leather is considered a viable upper. If the leather logo is removed and reveal textile underneath, the textile is considered as a viable upper.
If the small leather side section on the side of the shoe is removed and reveal textile underneath, the textile is considered as a viable upper.
Waterproof footwear made of rubber or plastics This footwear is classified under heading 6401 and includes:
certain snow boots
The uppers are not fixed to the sole and are not assembled by methods such as:
Waterproof footwear can be made by:
bonding and vulcanising
high frequency welding
Other footwear made of rubber or plastics This footwear is classified under heading 6402 and includes:
ski-boots consisting of several moulded parts, hinged by parts such as rivets
slippers without quarter or counter, with uppers attached to the sole by stitching — the upper must be produced in one piece or assembled by means other than stitching
sandals with straps across the instep and a counter or heel strap attached to the sole
non-waterproof footwear produced in one piece, such as bathing slippers
Example Footwear with an outer sole and upper made of plastics, with sole and heel combined (having a height of less than 3cm). A single piece of material is used to form the sole and the raised side parts of the upper. The other part of the upper consists of a plastic strap attached across the foot to the side parts by 4 horizontal plugs. Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics or composition leather, and uppers of leather This footwear is classified under heading 6403. Shoes for rhythmic gymnastics are classified under subheading 6403 59 91, if they:
have a leather upper, lined with a textile fabric and an outer sole of leather
have an insole length less than 24cm
cover the toes and the ball of the foot, leaving the heel and more than half of the foot exposed
are attached to the foot by means of 2 elasticated bands which go round the heel
Sandals are classified under subheading 6403 99 91, if they:
have outer soles of rubber
are less than 3cm in height (with the sole and heel combined)
have an insole length of 24cm or more
(generally) have uppers that consist of leather straps lined with woven man-made fibre fabric
have 3 straps of textile material which fasten across the forefoot with a Velcro-type fastening
Leisurewear shoes are classified under subheading 6403 99 93, if they have:
a plastic sole — a hard-plastic plate attached by screws under the arc of the shoe
an upper made of leather (which makes up the greater part of the external surface), plastic and man-made fibre
a whole vamp without metal protectors at the front
an insole length of 24cm or more
Footwear with outer soles of rubber, plastics, leather or composition leather, and uppers of textile This footwear is classified under heading 6404. Sports footwear Sports footwear can be classified under headings 6402, 6403 and 6404. Footwear classified under subheadings 6402 19 00, 6403 19 00 and 6404 11 00 include:
wrestling or boxing boots
Footwear classified under subheadings 6402 12 10, 6403 12 00 and 6404 11 00 include:
cross-country ski footwear
Snowboard boots are classified under subheadings 6402 12 90, 6403 12 00 and 6404 11 00. To be classified as sports footwear, the goods must be designed for a sporting activity and include various features, or be designed so these features can be attached. The features include:
Trainers are not classified as sports footwear unless they’re classified as ‘training shoes’ under subheading 6404 11 00. By means of their shape, cut and look, footwear of subheading 6404 11 00 must show they are designed for a sporting activity such as:
Footwear worn mainly (or only) for non-sporting activities are not classified as sports footwear. This includes:
white water canoeing
Other footwear Footwear having outer soles and uppers made of a material, or combination of materials, not covered under headings 6401 to 6404, are classified under heading 6405. Slippers and other indoor footwear This category includes:
ballroom dancing shoes
other indoor footwear
The sole of a slipper is the material that is both durable and has the most contact with the ground. If the outer sole is made of plastic or rubber, covered by a thin, insubstantial layer of textile material that lacks durability, the slipper is deemed to have a ‘plastic/rubber’ sole, ignoring the thin textile layer.
A slipper which has a plastic or rubber sole with a textile covering is only classified under heading 6405 if the textile proves to be durable. One of the ways to prove this is to submit the shoe for a Martindale abrasion test, which checks the textile durability and abrasion resistance, while simulating natural wear. The test considers a textile durable if it has no worse than moderate wear after 51,000 revolutions. This test is only for use on textile materials.
In some cases, the outer sole is covered or part-covered with a thicker, more durable textile material featuring a rubber or plastic tread for grip. If the slippers have a tread applied on top of a textile layer and the tread has more contact with the ground than the textile, the slipper is deemed to have a ‘plastic/rubber’ sole.
If a thin layer of textile covers the tread, that textile must also prove to be durable. If tests show the textile covering is not durable, the slipper is deemed to have a ‘plastic/rubber’ sole. Parts of footwear Footwear parts classified under heading 6406 can be made out of any material except asbestos. Parts include:
uppers (including those that are attached to soles other than outer soles)
leather pieces used for making footwear, cut to the approximate shape of uppers
parts of uppers, such as:
inner, middle and outer soles
insoles for gluing on the surface of inner soles
heels, including glue-on, nail-on and screw on types
parts of heels, such as top pieces
parts of sports footwear, such as
articles that cover the whole or part of the leg and sometimes part of the foot, but not the whole foot, for example:
fittings that can be worn inside footwear, such as removable insoles and removable internal heel cushions
Items excluded from chapter 64 Footwear made from textile that does not have a separate sole attached to it, is classified under chapter 61 and 62. This includes:
Worn footwear (which shows noticeable signs of wear) is classified under heading 6309. It must be presented in bulk packings such as:
Orthopaedic footwear is classified under heading 9021, as long as it’s either:
made to measure
mass-produced, presented singly and not in pairs and designed to fit either foot equally
Disposable foot or shoe coverings made of flimsy material like paper or polythene, which have no separate sole, are classified by the material they’re made of. Other footwear excluded from chapter 64 includes:
footwear and their parts and accessories that are made of asbestos — classified under heading 6812
toy footwear (usually made from moulded plastic, with no separate outer sole) — classified under heading 9503
shin guards, cricket pads and similar protective sportswear — classified under heading 9506
ice skates, roller skates and all other skating boots with attached skates — classified under heading 9506
The following items are not classified as footwear parts, although they can be used in footwear manufacturing:
protectors, eyelets, hooks, buckles and ornaments — classified under heading 8308
braid, pompoms and other trimmings — classified under heading 5808
woven shoe laces — classified under heading 6307
buttons, press fasteners, snap fasteners, press studs, zips — classified under Chapter 96
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