Things You Should Know For Importing Shoes From China

Lots of people want to import shoes from China ,but always lacking confidence or information in trying it because of some worries, like language barrier, complicated international trade process, bad quality control or frauds.


You will learn how to import shoes from China step by step in this most practical guidance on the internet. Even if no experience of international trade, it is easy for you to learn all knowledge of the whole process from picking most profitable footwear designs to arrange shipment.

1.Identify if you are qualified to import from China.

Almost every new or experienced businessman/businesswomen will consider to import footwear directly from China to get a higher profit margin. But the first thing you should consider is that how much budget you should prepare to import from China. However, the budget varies from your business mode.

Only $100 for dropshipping business

You can spend $29 in building a website on Shopify, and then invest some money in social media advertisement.

$3,000 + budget for mature Ecommerce sellers

As your business becomes mature, it is better not buy from drop shippers anymore because of the high price. A real footwear trading company like DOCEN footwear would be your best choice. Usually, footwear trading company will set a lower minimum order quantity of 500 units. Finally, it usually costs you $4000+ including shipping fees.

$10,000 + for traditional wholesale / retail business

As an offline tradional businessman / businesswoman, you purchase footwear from your local suppliers currently, but you can try buying footwear from China to get a more competitive price. Moreover, you don’t need to worry about the MOQ standard in China according to your business mode, you can meet it easily.

2.Find Chinese suppliers online via Alibaba, DHgate, Aliexpress, Google, etc..

Here are 3 online channels to search for suppliers.

B2B trade websites

If your order quantity is low, Aliexpress would be the right choice for you. There is a wide range of designs and suppliers for you to choose from. If you have enough budget to develop your long-term business, Alibaba is better for you. Made-in-China and Global Sources are wholesale sites like Alibaba, you can also try them.

Search on Google directly

Google is a good channel to find Chinese suppliers. In recent years. More and more Chinese factories and trading companies build their own websites on Google.


You can also search for Chinese suppliers on some social media, like Linkedin, Facebook, Quora, etc. Many Chinese Suppliers want to be widely noticed, so they often share their news, products, and services by these social platforms. You can reach out to them to learn more about their service and products, then, decide whether or not to cooperate with them.

3.Find Chinese suppliers via trade shows, wholesale markets, industrial clusters.

Find suppliers at fairs

There are many Chinese fairs every year. Canton fair is my first recommendation to you, which has the most comprehensive range of footwear designs. You can know more fairs in China.

Visit Chinese wholesale market

There are many wholesale markets of footwear in China. Markets in the city of Guangzhou would be my first recommendation, footwear in Guangzhou has widest range, best designs and quality. There are more wholesale markets in other footwear industrial city like Wenzhou, Quanzhou, Taizhou, etc..

Visiting industrial clusters

Many importers would like to find a direct manufacturer from China. So, the industrial clusters are the right places to go. Industrial cluster is area manufacturers making the same type of product are more likely to be located in so that it would be much easier for them to share common supply chains and hire workers with related experiences for production.

4.Evaluate supplier’s background to ensure it’s trustworthy.

So many suppliers for you to choose from, you must be confused about how to identify the supplier as a reliable partner to cooperate with. A good supplier is a vital element for a successful business. Let me tell you some important factors you shouldn’t ignore

Business history

As it is easy for suppliers to register in a company in China if a supplier focuses on the same product category for a relatively long time such as 3 years +, their business would be stable to a large extent.

Countries exported

Check which countries the supplier has ever exported to. For example, when you want to sell the products in America, and you find a supplier that can provide you competitive price. But you learn that their main customer group focuses on the developing countries, which is evidently not a good choice for you.

Compliance certifications on products

Whether the supplier has relevant product certificates is also an important factor. Especially for some specific products like electronic products, toys. Many customs will have strict requirements for importing these products. And some e-commerce platforms also will make some requirements for allowing you to sell on it.

5.Get product quotes based on trade terms (FOB, CIF, DDP, etc.)

When you negotiate with suppliers, you will encounter the phrase, Incoterms. There are many different trade terms, which will influence the quotation accordingly. I’ll list the 5 most commonly used in real business.

EXW Quote

Under this term, suppliers quote you the original product price. They aren’t responsible for any shipping costs. That is the buyer arranges to pick up goods from the supplier’s warehouse. Hence, it is not advisable if you don’t have your own forwarder or you are a newbie.

FOB Quote

Aside from product price, FOB also includes the shipping costs for delivering the goods to the vessel in your appointed seaport or airport. After that, the supplier is free of all risks of the goods, that is, FOB quote=original product cost + shipping cost from supplier’s warehouse to agreed port in China + exporting process fee.

CIF Quote

The supplier is responsible for delivering goods to the port in your country, then you need arrange to ship your goods from the port to your address. As for the insurance, it doesn’t help if your products got damaged during shipping. It only helps when the whole shipment gets lost. That is, CIF quote = original product cost + shipping cost from supplier’s warehouse to the port in your country + insurance + exporting process fee.

6.Confirm payment terms before place the order.

Before reaching an agreement with your supplier, there are many important details you should pay attention to.

Proforma Invoice

Non-Disclosure Agreement

Lead time and delivery time

Solutions for defective products.

Payment terms and methods

One of the most important is the payment. The right payment term can help you keep a continuous cash flow. Let’s take a look at the international payments and terms.

4 Common payment methods

Wire Transfer

Western Union


Letter of Credit (L/C)

4 Common payment terms

30% Deposit, 70% Balance Before Exporting.

30% Deposit, 70% Balance Against Bill of Landing.

No Deposit, Whole Balance Against Bill of Landing.

O/A payment.

Chinese suppliers usually adopt such a payment clause: 30% deposit before manufacturing, 70% balance before shipping out from China. But it varies from different suppliers and industries. For example, for product categories usually with low profit but large-value orders like steel, to obtain more orders, suppliers may accept a 30% deposit, 70% balance before arrival at the port.

7.Choose the best shipping solution according to time & cost preference.

After completing the production, how to ship the products from China to you is the next important step, there are 6 common types of shipping methods:


Sea freight

Air freight

Railway freight for full container load

Sea/airfreight plus courier for eCommerce

Economic shipping for dropshipping (less than 2kg)

Courier for below 500kg

If the volume is below 500kg, you can choose courier, which is a service offered by big companies like FedEx, DHL, UPS, TNT. It only takes 5-7 days from China to the USA by courier, which is very fast. The shipping costs vary from destination. Generally $6-7 per kilogram for shipping from China to North America and West of Europe. It’s cheaper to send to countries in Asia, and more expensive to other areas.

Air freight for above 500kg

In this case, you should choose air freight instead of courier. You need to provide related compliance certifications during the customs clearance process in the destination country. Although it is a bit more complicated than courier, you will save more by air freight than courier. That’s because the weight calculated by air freight is about 20% smaller than air courier. For the same volume, the dimensional weight formula of air freight is length times width, times height, then divide 6,000, while for air courier this figure is 5,000. So if you’re shipping big-sized but light-weighted products, it’s about 34% cheaper to send by air freight.

Sea freight for over 2 CBM

Sea freight is a good option for these goods volume. It’s about $100- $200/CBM to ship to areas near the west coast of the US, around $200-$300/CBM to areas adjacent to the east coast of the US and more than $300/CBM to the middle US. Generally, the total shipping cost of sea freight is about 85% lower than air courier. During the international trade, with the increasing diversified need for shipping methods, apart from the above 3 ways, there are another three commonly used shipping ways, check my complete guide to learn more details.

8.Handle custom clearance, deliver products to doorstep.

The last important step is customs clearance. You should know what documents or certificates are needed in the process.

In the process of the export customs clearance in China, the following documents are necessary for all kinds of products:

  • Contract
  • Commercial invoice
  • Packing list
  • Bill of lading
  • Certificate of origin

Of course, there are additional certificates needed according to different customs supervision requirements on products. But for the export process, you needn’t worry about it too much. Usually, the supplier will help you tackle it.

In the process of import customs clearance in your country, there are also some standards or documents according to customs requirements in your country. But 5 documents are needed just the same as the export process, including commercial invoice, contract, packing list, bill of lading, certificate of origin. But some other certificates are different according to countries or products. You can consult the freight forwarder who can help you with logistics.

Apart from the certificates, you need to pay for customs duties. But the standard is different according to countries or products. For example, if you import shoes from China to America, you need to pay customs duties, MPF(merchandise processing fee), and HMF(harbor maintenance fee).

You can consult freight forwarders or your customs broker for documents required and product duty rate.

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