This category includes establishments primarily engaged in the production of men's footwear designed for dress, street, and work. Establishments primarily engaged in the production of such protective footwear as rubbers, rubber boots, storm shoes, galoshes, and other footwear with rubber soles vulcanized to the uppers are classified in SIC 3021: Rubber and Plastics Footwear. Establishments primarily engaged in the production of athletic shoes and youths' and boys' shoes are classified in SIC 3149: Footwear Except Rubber, Not Elsewhere Classified, and those manufacturing orthopedic extension shoes are classified in SIC 3842: Orthopedic, Prosthetic, and Surgical Appliances and Supplies.
Men's Footwear (except Athletic) Manufacturing
In the mid-2000s, the men's footwear market was being shaped by two powerful forces. First, the American footwear industry continued to be affected by the increasing dominance of imported shoes. Although 111 U.S. factories were engaged in the manufacture of men's dress, casual, and work footwear in the mid-2000s, U.S. imports from China alone accounted for 85.4 percent of all U.S. footwear imports in 2005, thus continuing a trend of heavy U.S. imports of footwear that began more than three decades ago. Second, the men's footwear market has also changed as more casual work attire has become more acceptable in American offices. As a result, men's dress shoe sales have fallen, while those of casual, dress/casual, and outdoors shoes have soared. After declining from $2.01 billion in 1997 to $1.69 billion in 1998, total industry shipments in 2000 climbed to $2.02 billion. By 2001 the boom had slowed; total shipments in that year equaled $1.92 billion and dropped again the following year to $956 million. In 2005 shipments totaled $975 million.
New England had become the center of a thriving footwear industry as early as 1800, and by 1850, the United States was exporting large quantities of high-quality, inexpensive shoes to England and other European countries. Micajah Pratt, who began making and selling shoes in Lynn, Massachusetts, in 1812, was considered an innovator in the industry. He was among the first to use standard patterns and sole cutting machines. Pratt eventually employed about 500 workers, many of whom lived in other towns and worked at home; with this arrangement he was able to produce almost 250,000 pairs of shoes annually.
Shoemaking became industrialized in the early 1860s, prompted by the development of machinery for attaching the leather part of a shoe, known as the upper, to the sole. In 1858, Lyman R. Blake of Abington, Massachusetts, invented a machine that attached the leather uppers with nails and wooden pegs. Soon after, Gordon McKay, also of Abington, improved on Blake's invention by substituting thread for the cumbersome nails and pegs. Recognizing the threat that McKay's sewing machine posed to their livelihood, shoemakers staged the first general strike in the footwear industry in 1859. Nevertheless, by 1864, the Blake sewer was used...