Footwear Labelling 2021 UK Guidance

These changes will affect your business if you are:

  • a manufacturer planning to place footwear on the UK market
  • a retailer planning to sell footwear imported from the EU

Labelling requirements

The rules for what you must show on labels will stay the same.

Responsibility for labelling


Retailers will be responsible for ensuring the accuracy of labelling of footwear imported from the EU from 1 January 2021.

If you know that you will be placing footwear on the UK market from 1 January 2021, you should check the presence and accuracy of the labels.


If you are a manufacturer, your responsibilities will not change from 1 January 2021. However, your authorised agent will now need to be based in the UK rather than the EU.

Published 14 August 2019

Labelling requirements

The label must state, in English or in a clear pictogram form, what material makes up 80% of:

  • the surface area of the upper
  • the surface area of the lining and sock (this means the lining of the upper and the insole, which constitutes the inside of the footwear article)
  • the outer sole

Where multiple materials are used, the two main materials in the composition of the footwear must be stated.

The label must be attached to at least one item of footwear in each pair and may be affixed by way of printing, sticking, embossing or use of an attached label; it must be visible, securely attached and accessible. The label may also appear on the packaging but it must be on the footwear itself.

If pictograms are used in a retail shop a notice must be displayed that explains to consumers what the symbols mean. The notice must be large enough so that the information can be seen and understood by consumers.

If pictogram labels are used where footwear is sold from a place consumers do not have access to (for example, mail order or internet sales) the consumer must be clearly informed of the meaning of the pictograms used.

Table showing the written indications or pictograms concerning the parts of the footwear:

Parts of footwear


lining and sock:


Lining and sock
outer sole:


Outer sole

Table showing the written indications or pictograms concerning the materials used in footwear composition:

Materials used


coated leather:


Coated leather


other materials:


Other materials

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Other legislation

If any misleading claims regarding footwear are made there may also be breaches of the requirements of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. Please see ‘Consumer protection from unfair trading’ for more information on these Regulations.

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Failure to comply with trading standards law can lead to enforcement action and to sanctions, which may include a fine and/or imprisonment. For more information please see ‘Trading standards: powers, enforcement & penalties’.

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Key legislation

Footwear (Indication of Composition) Labelling Regulations 1995