15 Best Paying Jobs In Shoe Manufacturing In 2023

There are many ways to start a career in the shoe manufacturing industry. Some of them include working at a retail store, working as a product tester, or even starting your own company. If you want to get started in the shoe manufacturing industry, check out our 15 best-paying jobs in shoe manufacturing.

Before we go on to list the top-paying jobs in shoe manufacturing, here are a few reasons why you may fancy a career in the shoe industry.

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Is Shoe Manufacturing Industry Lucrative?

People will always wear shoes; as such, the shoe manufacturing industry will always e a lucrative venture as long as there is demand.

According to Statista, it is estimated that the revenue of the shoe and footwear manufacturing industry in the United States will amount to about 1.66 billion U.S. dollars. This is a little increase from the 1.63 billion U.S dollars generated in revenue in 2020.

Starting a shoemaking business is one of the most rewarding things an entrepreneur can do, given the right skill and good business acumen.

To get started, here are things you must do:

1. Learn the skill

You can learn how to make shoes by signing up for an internship with a shoemaker or factory in your area. This training exposes you to the technicalities of shoe making and also the business part of it.

2. Choose a niche

Carving a niche for yourself streamlines and gives you an area of interest. You can decide to start making formal shoes or sports shoes depending on your area of interest and the availability of raw materials and capital.

3. Determine your target market

Given the current economic status of the U.S., having a defined target market gives you room to compete healthily for market share.

Targeting a specific market does not imply excluding people who do not satisfy your criteria. Instead, it allows you to focus your marketing dollars and brand message on a certain need more likely than others to purchase from you.

This is a much more cost-effective, efficient, and productive means of attracting new customers and increasing income.

Furthermore, it helps businesses easily focus on potential and reach the right customers.

4. Create a business plan for your business

Every profitable shoe business begins with a detailed business strategy. This allows an entrepreneur to examine every aspect of the firm and effectively deal with future challenges.

This improves the business’s efficiency and stability. As a result, the business plan should cover the location of the company, the machinery and equipment required for shoe manufacture, where to obtain raw materials, the number of staff, and your potential buyers.

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15 Best Paying Jobs In Shoe Manufacturing In 2023

Here’s an outline of the best-paying jobs in shoe manufacturing in 2023:

  1. Footwear Authentication Specialist
  2. Solution Architect
  3. Cost Engineer
  4. Manufacturing Manager
  5. Product Tester
  6. Sales Assistant
  7. Footwear Developer
  8. Visual Merchandiser
  9. Shoe Designer
  10. Innovation Engineer
  11. Merchandiser
  12. Cost Accountant
  13. Footwear Manufacturing Technician
  14. Quality Control Lead
  15. General Manager

1. Footwear Authentication Specialist

Average National Salary: $91,667

Sneaker Authenticators or Footwear Authentication Specialists authenticate footwear from major sneaker companies. They must stay up with shoe releases, trends, and collaborations in the footwear business. They are also well-versed in the world’s greatest stores, from streetwear to high fashion.

To succeed as a footwear authentication specialist, you need to have excellent research skills and be able to pay attention to details.

2. Solution Architect

Average National Salary: $134,828

A solution architect is responsible for driving the profession and presenting the overall technical vision for a specific solution. In the shoe manufacturing industry, it is their duty to create new shoe designs.

A good solutions architect examines the existing shoe designs and determines which technologies are accessible and which software products must be employed to produce the best shoe.

3. Cost Engineer

Average National Salary: $60,714

Cost engineers typically work in the shoe manufacturing unit to ensure that shoes are produced at the right cost. They need to have sufficient knowledge of the production process and also know how to negotiate prices with suppliers.

Additionally, you need to clearly understand footwear sourcing and global processes.

4. Manufacturing Manager

Average National Salary: $101,670

The footwear manufacturing manager plans, coordinates, and distributes the different activities involved in the shoe manufacturing industry. It is one of the best-paying jobs in shoe manufacturing.

It is their duty to ensure strict adherence to the standards of production and company goals. To excel as a manufacturing manager, you need to understand the shoe-making process from start to finish.

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5. Product Tester

Average National Salary: $44,500

Next on our list of best jobs in shoe manufacturing is the product tester. A footwear product tester gives feedback on shoe prototypes that contribute to making the best shoes. As a product tester, you must communicate your thoughts.

They also need a unique knowledge of the target customers to better guide the production process. Knowing the technical involvements in shoe production will also be an added advantage in product messaging.

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6. Sales Assistant

Average National Salary: $34,413

Sales assistants work in shoe shops to help customers find the best fit for them and advise them on how to wear the shoes.

Shoe sales assistants are responsible for ensuring a solid customer base for their companies by building a new customer base and maintaining existing relationships with the company’s customers.

They also take inventory of the shoes in the store. To excel as a sales associate, you need to master the use of customer service and sales skills to connect with customers and persuade them to buy your shoes.

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7. Footwear Developer

Average National Salary: $96,162

Footwear designers are in charge of designing the shoes that individuals wear every day. They use a wide range of materials and technology to make fashionable and useful footwear.

Footwear developers must be able to think creatively while also paying attention to detail. They may spend weeks or months constructing a single shoe design and testing it in various conditions and situations to ensure that it fulfills all of their specifications.

Lastly, footwear developers work with timelines per their deliverables and company target.

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8. Visual Merchandiser

Average National Salary: $61,746

Visual merchandisers are in charge of developing and creating visually appealing shoes for display. They use their talents in visual design and space usage to improve the aesthetic attractiveness of window displays, walkways, counters, and in-store displays as creative and imaginative thinkers.

This is one of the best-paying jobs in shoe manufacturing.

9. Shoe Designer

Average National Salary:  $53,217

A shoe designer, often known as a footwear designer, is a type of fashion designer who creates shoes and boots. Shoe designs can be creative, innovative works of art in addition to being functional for protecting the feet.

Becoming a shoe designer requires creativity and skill, but it is something that can be accomplished with hard work.

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10. Innovation Engineer

Average National Salary: $83,020

An innovation engineer generates concepts and develops projects per the company’s product innovation, insight, and ideation strategies.

They use observation of specific example cases to discover insights and gather new knowledge.

11. Merchandiser

Average National Salary: $75,849

Merchandising is a suitable career for people who are both innovative and detail-oriented. As a merchandiser, it is your duty to create and assemble visually distinct and compelling sales displays for products on a store’s sales floor.

They may work in a shoe company on a corporate level. Corporate merchandisers work with product developers and designers to keep the design lifecycle on track.

This is one of the best-paying jobs in shoe manufacturing.

12. Cost Accountant

Average National Salary: $73,854

A cost account is a financial expert who calculates the actual costs of delivering a service or manufacturing a product. They accomplish this by examining all relevant costs along the supply chain.

The goal of cost accounting is to analyze profitability and prepare budgets. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the financial data provided by cost accountants assists executives in determining whether products, services, procedures, or departments are least and most profitable.

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13. Footwear Manufacturing Technician

Average National Salary: $77,000

Footwear manufacturing technicians are one of the best-paid professionals in shoe manufacturing companies. They specialize in the design, production management, industrial engineering, quality control, or in general and executive management of shoes.

The duty of footwear technicians is solely based on their area of specialization. Typically, they learn about all aspects of footwear production. This level of knowledge and awareness keeps the indispensable in the shoe manufacturing house, making it one of the best paying jobs in shoe manufacturing.

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14. Lead Quality Control Agent

Average National Salary: $41,712

Lead quality control agents are manufacturing professionals that supervise and coordinate the operations of workers to ensure that completed products satisfy the specified quality standards.

These individuals are responsible for reviewing the calibration of production equipment to verify that it operates correctly and on schedule. They must assist in identifying and establishing quality management system-related procedures and processes.

Quality control leads must also undertake material quality testing while engaging in team meetings to discuss safety and quality issues.

15. General Manager

Average National Salary: $58,602

A general manager (GM) is in charge of all or part of a department’s or the company’s operations, including revenue generation and cost control. The general manager may be one of the top executives in a small company.

The GM supervises lower-level managers. These lower-level managers may be in charge of several smaller divisions but report directly to the GM. 

Top Shoe Manufacturing Companies In The US

With China, India, Vietnam, and Indonesia topping the list as the largest footwear-producing countries, the United States generates the highest global footwear market revenue.

Let’s take a look at the top 7 shoe manufacturing companies in the U.S.

1. Nike, Inc.

HeadquartersNo. of employeesAnnual sales
Oregon74,400$38.7 Bil

Nike, Inc, established in 1964 is the largest shoe manufacturing company in the world. Nike produces various footwear like specialized sports shoes such as basketball shoes, football boots, running shoes, etc. They also make apparel and sports equipment.

2. VF Corporation

HeadquartersNo. of employeesAnnual sales
North Carolina70,000$12.3 Bil

VF Corporation is one of the biggest shoe manufacturers in the U.S. and globally. They make the best of shoes that match different lifestyles and activities.

Here’s a list of some of their popular brands; The North Face, Timberland, JanSport, Eastpack, Vans, and Seven For All Mankind.

3. Coach, Inc. (Tapestry, Inc.)

HeadquartersNo. of employeesAnnual sales
New York21,000$6 Bil

This luxury brand in the US has been producing luxury accessories such as shoes and handbags since 1941. Coach owns shoemaker Stuart Weitzman and fashion house Kate Spade under the parent name, Tapestry Inc.

4. Under Armour, Inc.

HeadquartersNo. of employeesAnnual sales
Maryland15,800$5.2 Bil

Under Armour, Inc. is a sports apparel and footwear manufacturer in the United States. The global headquarters of Under Armour is in Baltimore, Maryland.

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5. Sketchers USA, Inc.

HeadquartersNo. of employeesAnnual sales
California11,700$6.3 Bil

Skechers USA, Inc, is an innovation-driven company that offers a complete collection of footwear, apparel, and accessories for men, women, and kids. Since its establishment in 1992, Skechers has grown to be one of the top shoe manufacturing companies in the US with its products sold in over 180 countries.

6. New Balance Athletics, Inc

HeadquartersNo. of employeesAnnual sales
Massachusetts8,000$4.4 Bil

New Balance Athletics, Inc. (NB), better known as simply New Balance, is a leading sports footwear and apparel manufacturer around the globe. The worldwide firm, headquartered in Boston, Massachusetts, was formed in 1906 as the New Balance Arch Support Company. They produce specialized sports shoes like basketball shoes, hiking boots, running shoes, and fitness wear and accessories.

7. Caleres Inc. (Brown Shoe Company)

HeadquartersNo. of employeesAnnual sales
Missouri13,400$2.57 Bil

Calares is a global footwear brand home to the best-admired shoes. Since its inception in 1878, the shoe company has undergone several changes. Caleres owns several high-end footwear brands, including Diane von Furstenberg, Dr. Scholl’s, Sam Edelman, Famous Footwear, and Fergie Footwear.

They have an unrivaled global sourcing network as one of the world’s largest footwear firms.

FAQs On Best Paying Jobs In Shoe Manufacturing

What is the biggest shoe manufacturing company?

Burgess and Lang buildings is the largest shoe factory in the world. It is located in Haverhill, Massachusetts.

Can I make my own shoes at home?

It is entirely feasible to make your own pair of shoes at home. To construct shoes, gather the necessary materials, make a cast of your feet, cut the shoe pieces to size, combine those parts, and finalize the design.

How is the Vans shoe constructed?

The vulcanized construction process is used to make Vans shoes. The rubber shoe outsole sections are joined onto the lasted upper before the rubber is completely cured in the Vans vulcanized shoemaking process.

What type of engineer makes shoes?

Footwear Design Engineers are specialists in shoemaking. They support the development of new technologies for shoe design by bringing footwear concepts to life. 


Shoes are a huge part of our daily lives, they are worn every day, from casual shoes to dress shoes. With the shoe manufacturing industry projected to grow by 6.3% in the US, there are plenty of opportunities for those who want to enter the shoe manufacturing industry.


  • kamerpower.com – Top 10 Best Paying Jobs In Shoe Manufacturing Industry
  • statista.com – Revenue of the shoe and footwear manufacturing industry in the United States from 2011 to 2021
  • thomasnet.com – Top Shoe Manufacturers in USA and Internationally

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