Sole Mates: Decoding Keds in the Combined Nomenclature

Fun Fact

Have you ever wondered how your comfortable shoes make it to your feet from brands and stores worldwide?

The Combined Nomenclature (CN) Code is a standardized system employed worldwide to classify and categorize a wide range of goods for customs and statistical purposes. Within this comprehensive coding system, various CN codes have been designated to classify footwear, including the universally recognized CN Code 6404 for multiple types of footwear. The detailed classification within these codes is vital, as it ensures compliance with export regimes worldwide and facilitates efficient trade.

Footwear is a diverse and complex category, encompassing countless styles, materials, and intended uses. Different types of footwear are subject to specific regulations, duties, and restrictions in various countries. Accurate classification helps exporters determine the applicable customs duties and taxes, obtain relevant permits, and adhere to import regulations.

To export footwear successfully and navigate the ever-evolving global trade landscape, exporters must understand the importance of precise classification within the CN Code system. Whether it’s athletic sneakers, formal leather shoes, cozy winter boots, or any other footwear, each requires its unique classification within the CN codes.

The EU implemented a Regulation on the 26th of October, 2023, concerning the classification of certain goods in the Combined Nomenclature. The annex describes the goods as

Footwear having an upper made of a textile fabric (100 % cotton). Strips (approximately 5 mm wide) of the same textile fabric are stitched on around the instep and along the front opening and underneath the eyelet stays, as well. On the inside, the stitching of these strips fixes another strip reinforcing the eyelet stays. On both sides of the footwear two vertical strips (approximately 5 mm wide) are stitched on to the upper material from the eyelet stays to the sole. The footwear has a rubber sole (approximately 2 cm in thickness). The part of the sole making contact with the ground has an evenly structured non-slip surface. A rubber strip of approximately 3 cm is attached to the side of the rubber sole and approximately 1 cm of this strip is overlapping the textile upper all around the footwear. The footwear has laces as a closing system.


This type of footwear will now be classified under 6404 19 90 CN code.

The EU states the reason footwear classified under CN code 6404 11 00, including tennis shoes, basketball shoes, gym shoes, training shoes, and the like, is excluded because the footwear is neither designed for any of these sporting activities nor is it designed for a sporting activity similar to tennis, basketball, gym or training. Such sporting activities require running, jumping movements, quick turns, or abrupt stops. Therefore, the sole footwear designed for these activities must have features to absorb shocks resulting from the impacts of those movements or be otherwise adapted to a specific sporting activity. However, the sole of the footwear does not have any such features.

Therefore, the article is to be classified under CN code 6404 19 90 as other footwear with outer rubber soles and uppers of textile materials.


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