Starting a Rubber Shoe Business

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A few years ago, classic rubber boots and galoshes from work equipment (used mainly by summer residents, outdoor enthusiasts, fishermen, and rangers) sharply grew into a fashion trend. The price tag for branded boots can exceed tens of thousands of rubles. But even despite the fact that designer shoes are gradually losing their uniqueness on foreign catwalks, in our country, where rainy weather does not surprise anyone (especially in the summer and in the off-season), such shoes have been and will be in demand.

Quite naturally, this niche, which has great prospects, generates competition. In addition to foreign brands, whose shoes are in relatively little demand due to their high cost, Indian manufacturing companies have to work in competition with Asian factories (the main importer of rubber products in China), which fill market stalls with cheap products.

At the moment, only one large manufacturer is singled out in the domestic market of rubber shoes – Pskov-Polymer. In addition, in this segment, you can find about 20 “smaller” manufacturers who produce similar products.

To the question of whether it is profitable to organize your own production of rubber boots and galoshes in the conditions of high competitiveness and declining demand for such products, you will not get a clear answer – there are several indirect theories of further behavior.

As in any direction, the key is an original idea that can draw attention to your product. You have to offer something interesting while telling people about the benefits of this solution. A well-known example is the “Rain Level” rubber shoes from the Italian manufacturer Regina Regis. Boots are available in 9 colors, the cost of one pair is $86. It would seem that ordinary rubber boots of various colors, what is so special about them? Everything is simple – on the side of the product, there is a scale (up to 35 centimeters), which allows you to literally measure the depth of a puddle of mud with a boot. The simplest idea, which was not difficult to implement, while this idea brought the creator large incomes and world fame.

Technological process

Before sending rubber boots to production, it must be designed. This procedure may include the following steps: designing the shape of the product, block sizes or (depending on the production method) designing the appropriate molds, as well as designing models.

Basic requirements for rubber boots and galoshes:

  1. Convenience;
  2. Strength;
  3. wear resistance;
  4. Aesthetics.

If you are unable to hire an in-house designer, you can seek outside help. For example, the largest manufacturing company Pskov-Polymer, when creating one of the model ranges of rubber shoes, used the consulting services of designers from Italy.

To date, rubber boots are made by 3 methods:

  • Assembly (by gluing individual parts),
  • stamping;
  • Molding.

Rubber shoes consist of separate components that are interconnected. The number, shapes, dimensions, and materials used are determined by the purpose, model, and production method.

The largest number of elements is in shoes made by gluing (most often, these are galoshes, assembled from about 15 components, and boots from 18-20 components). In rubber shoes made by stamping and molding (these methods are the most common), the number of components is several times less compared to shoes made by gluing. All elements are divided into subgroups according to the location: external and internal (sometimes intermediate ones are distinguished).

The most common materials for the manufacture of rubber shoes are rubber and textiles, organic solvents, knitted and other fabrics.

Rubber mixtures, filler, vulcanization agent (as well as an accelerator of this process), various pigments and rubber reclaim – all this is processed on a special calender, upon completion of the procedure, the mixture becomes rubber sheets. From it, the outer elements of the upper part of the boots are cut out, and from the profiles of the sheet mixture – the elements of the sole. The rubber mixture is smeared and the textile mixture is coated in the same calenders.

The fabric base (which is prepared from the rubber compound and unvulcanized residues from rubberized knitwear) is used for overlaying fabrics that are used for both internal and intermediate components of the product, sometimes for patterning textile elements.

In addition, in the manufacturing process of rubber boots, cotton knitted linings and fabric inserts are used for some components.

Most manufacturing companies are switching or have already switched to polyvinyl chloride compounds (PVC for short). The cost of this raw material is much lower than the cost of the base of rubber rubber – by about 35%. At the same time, it is in no way inferior in terms of its characteristics.

The most progressive production method is molding. Its main idea is that the rubber carcass is formed and the product is vulcanized at the same time. For the manufacture of rubber shoes, this method uses rigid cores made of an alloy of metals or cores with a “plastic” chamber. The technological process is extremely simple. At the first stage, the preparation of elements from textiles and rubber mixture takes place. Textile components are cut out of fabric, which is covered with a thin layer of rubber. After the shoe frame is sewn in the form of a stocking. In the same way, rubber elements are cut from blanks.

The stocking made is put on a special block, and then covered with rubber components. This core with the future footwear blank is placed in the mold of the vulcanization press. With the following pressing and heating procedure, the finished boot is formed, as well as its vulcanization.

Then the made shoes are sent for cutting the upper part in the shin area – all irregularities and roughness are removed. After the product goes to the control shop, then – sorting and packaging. The packaging is usually a regular polyethylene bag, not a box – this allows you to significantly save on production by reducing the cost of 1 pair.

Making rubber shoes by molding has many advantages. The main one is that this method is less time-consuming and labor-intensive compared to the others. Footwear produced by the molding method has greater wear resistance. Among the shortcomings can be noted:

  1. Slightly large mass of the product;
  2. Slightly more rigid products;
  3. Increased costs of rubber raw materials due to the compaction of some places;
  4. There is a possibility of the lining moving away from the lining;
  5. Difficulty in creating molds.

For this reason, manufacturing companies regularly upgrade the technological process in order to minimize the above disadvantages. For example, the use of combined cores from a steel case and a “plastic” chamber contributes to less labor intensity in the production of boots, an increase in wear resistance and a more reliable attachment of the “toe” to the rubber base.

Necessary equipment

The cost of a used line for the production of rubber shoes is around 35 thousand dollars (equivalent to 2 million rubles). But at the same time, you should carefully inspect such equipment before buying (at least for performance and visual defects). Remember that the quality of the output products depends on the equipment you purchase. Therefore, if you have sufficient resources, we recommend that you opt for foreign manufacturers (for example, plants from Italy are famous for their quality and high production capacity).

Premises and staff

You will need to rent a production facility with plumbing and electricity. A three-phase current network (voltage 380 V) is required, since almost all equipment operates on 3-phase voltage. The minimum area is 100 square meters, excluding additional premises (warehouses for raw materials and finished products, office space).

The minimum team of employees should include the following specialists:

  • Designer;
  • Design engineer;
  • Chemical production technologist;
  • Production plant repairman;
  • seamstresses;
  • Managers;
  • Human Resources Department;
  • Service staff.

Calculation of profitability

The annual production capacity of large manufacturers of rubber boots and galoshes is 3 or more million pairs of shoes. The profit of such an enterprise (with regular work) can reach 10 million dollars (which is equivalent to 565 million rubles). Most of this amount goes to the following items of expenditure:

  1. Development and creation of new model lines;
  2. Expansion of the range;
  3. Modernization and replacement of equipment;
  4. Search for alternative ways of production;
  5. Advertising campaign;
  6. Finding new distribution channels and more.

Both small and larger enterprises sell their products to wholesalers. At the same time, the smallest price tag is 125 rubles (for comparison, the cost is almost 2 times less). In retail stores, such shoes have a cost of more than 550 rubles. About a third of the total production volumes in our country are successfully exported to foreign retail chains.