Like any other product, shoes are subjected to an extensive process to be converted from raw materials into a usable final product. In terms of demand, the shoes’ popularity often directly influences how much of the raw materials are required in the process.
But let’s face it. How much does it actually cost to produce a sneaker? Footwear brands must be making huge bucks on those showy pairs. Why should it cost +$100 to buy a shoe? What is the actual production cost that makes it rate that high?
In particular, Vans has recently become more popular footwear among many college students, probably due to their simple and minimalist design that can go well with just about any outfit. Similar to other famous brands like Adidas, Nike, and Asics, Vans has also had its share in the shoemaking industry.
In this post, we will look at various cost factors that go into the creation, development, and transportation of Vans shoes, as well as how the materials are transformed along the way to reach the final product.
The real Cost to Make a Sneaker
Sneaker companies, such as Vans, Adidas, and Nike outsource manufacturing cost to more than one million laborers in factories in China and other parts of the world where labor cost is relatively cheaper.
The real cost of manufacturing a Vans shoe is around $15.00. Of course, this is subjective as some companies like Nike report the general cost to make one pair of shoes at $28.5.The cost breakdown includes the Chinese factory labor cost, overheads, and shipping cost.
For instance, ocean freight from China to the USA is around $. 50 per pair. Taking a 40-foot shipping container, a semi-truck trailer can carry approximately 5000 pairs of shoes. On that note, 5000 by $.50 equals to exactly $2500.00. That’s the cost of getting a shipping container from China to California.
Upon arrival in the USA, the shoe must legally be imported. For leather sneakers, the US government charges an import duty of 8.5% of the Free On Board price (F.O.B). So add $1.32 to the cost and another $.32 for insurance and customs. With all the summation, the shoe rests in a local warehouse at $17.10 in total.
Also Read: Why Are Yeezys So Popular?
The Vans Sneaker Costing Sheet
Upon the confirmation of the footwear design, the factory then takes the specification sheets and examines the production cost of each line item. Commonly referred to as the costing sheet.
The costing sheet basically involves every part of the shoe, including the stuffing paper, packaging, hangtags, the silica gel, etc. Simply everything in the package.
Every item will be recognized with the cost per unit and the material usage to make the shoe. Moreover, the waste percentage will be included. Yes, the production cost consists of even the scrap that is thrown away.
These refer to the scrap material left over after the extraction of essential parts. For mesh fabric, the cutting loss is typically very small, less than 5%. However, for leather shoes, the manufacturer can’t use any animal-based material with cuts or scars. That means there has to be cut loss or scrap loss, which can be up to as much as 20%.
With every listed cost, the cost analyst may evaluate each part’s material price and determine the material usage. It can be a tedious process, but if the manufacturing is based on mass production, the bucks can add up really fast.
A meticulous costing technician can save many thousands of dollars than their allocated salary. As a general rule of the thump, athletic apparel and sporting footwear companies like Vans and Nike give retailers a discount of about 50% on suggested retail prices.
Digging deeper into the factory’s costing calculation per unit (per pair), the next component would be the toe cup. Most Vans toe cups are crafted with suede that cost around $1.25 for every square foot to make the pair.
When the material is cut, around 10% is lost to waste, which adds to the toe cup’s total cost. A costing sheet is an essential tool for the designer and the shoe developer if the shoe is to meet a target production cost.
Another note is that not all Vans shoes marked at $70.00 will sell full retail price. Things might change and take a chunk out of retailers’ profit. Moreover, unsold inventory might make the retailer return the shoes to the manufacturer, though it depends on the retailer’s agreement.
Vans Raw Materials and Manufacturing Process
Perhaps the most important material in the production of Vans is the rubber. It is an essential part of making the gum soles and rubber foxing tape that goes around the shoe. While Vans were actually meant for supporting the growth of skateboarding activities back in the 1970s, rubber comes in handy to ensure grip and traction at the bottom of the shoe.
Additionally, the company apparently employs a mixture of two rubbers, which is cheaper and a bit more efficient as natural rubber is typically expensive and takes longer to gather or harvest for that matter.
As for the uppers, they need to be made from heat deterrent material such as leather, suede, and cotton canvas. You may also find that other specific sets of Vans are made with plastic.
This is primarily meant to provide the much-needed shape that the overall construction will take on. Generally, plastic is produced by converting natural products or synthesis from major chemicals that often come from oil, coal, or natural gas.
Vans shoes are also subjected to the Vulcanization process. This involves heating a raw rubber to create cross-links within the rubber compound to bond it together. The vulcanizing process converts the once stretchable rubber into a tough, flexible material ready for use.
One of the most prominent athletic apparel companies in the world, Vans, people pay as much as $100 for a Vans sneaker without a second thought. While it’s the consumer’s right to spend as little or as much as they want for whatever they choose, it can only cost the company approximately $17-$30 at most to make those sneakers. Interestingly, sneakerheads will pay for them and probably wait in line to do so.