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Footwear labelling

The labelling of footwear and its components provides consumers with information to allow them to make informed buying decisions. It also helps to protect the industry from unfair competition and enhances the operation of the internal market in the European Union (EU).


Directive 94/11/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 March 1994 on the approximation of the laws, regulations and administrative provisions of the Member States relating to labelling of the materials used in the main components of footwear for sale to the consumer



It lays down the rules for the labelling of footwear:

  • the content and form of the label;
  • responsibility for the labelling.


  • Only materials covering 80 % or more of the surface areas of the upper, the lining and the sock of the footwear, as well as 80 % or more of the volume of the outer sole, need to be labelled. Where no single material accounts for at least 80 %, a label with information on the two main materials must be provided.
  • The labelling needs to provide information on the three components of the footwear:
    • the upper;
    • the lining and sock;
    • the outer sole.
  • The label may either be written or in the form of a pictogram.
  • The label must be visible, securely attached and accessible.
  • The label should be:
    • printed or embossed on the footwear; or
    • attached to the footwear by means of, for example, an adhesive label; or
    • affixed by means of, for example, a fastener or string.
  • The label must appear on at least one of the two items comprising the pair of shoes, boots, etc.
  • EU manufacturers are responsible for supplying the label and for its accuracy or, where the footwear is imported, the person who first places it on the EU market assumes this responsibility. Retailers remain responsible for ensuring that the footwear they sell bears the appropriate labelling.
  • The annexes specify:
    • definitions (an upper, a sole, etc.) and corresponding pictograms or written indications concerning the parts of the footwear to be identified (Annex I);
    • examples of the footwear covered by the directive are contained in Annex II. It does not, for example, cover footwear used by individuals for health and safety purposes in the workplace, which falls under EU rules on personal protective equipment.

A voluntary EU eco-label also exists for footwear. This label helps consumers identify footwear whose life-cycle (production, use and disposal) has a low environmental impact.



Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 94/11/EC



OJ L 100, 19.4.1994, pp. 37-41

Amending act(s)

Entry into force

Deadline for transposition in the Member States

Official Journal

Directive 2006/96/EC



OJ L 363, 20.12.2006, pp. 81-106

Directive 2013/15/EU



OJ L 158, 10.6.2013, pp. 172-183

Successive amendments to Directive 94/11/EC have been incorporated into the basic text. This consolidated version is for reference only.

last update 19.08.2015