One-Third of U.S. House Co-Sponsors Affordable Footwear Act; American Families Expected to Save Hundreds of Millions of Dollars Annually as Shoe Tax Relief Legislation Moves Closer To Passage

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The Affordable Footwear Initiative announced today that one-third of the members of the U.S. House of Representatives are now co-sponsors of the Affordable Footwear Act, which would eliminate the regressive, old-fashioned import duties, known collectively as the "shoe tax," on certain lower to moderately priced footwear and all children's shoes. Because of the regressive nature of the shoe tax, these types of shoes typically carry the highest rate of duty -- as high as 67.5 percent -- despite being the lowest priced. The shoe tax can ultimately contribute to as much as 40 percent of the retail price.

In just a few months, families will begin the annual ritual of back-to-school shopping, which includes buying a lot of children's shoes. The Affordable Footwear Initiative (AFI),, a coalition of footwear industry associations and their member companies, is out to educate parents and Congress this summer about the 'shoe tax' - as footwear import tariffs are collectively known - and the need for the Affordable Footwear Act (HR 3934/ S 2372) to eliminate it. The shoe tax is factored into the final price, just as all other costs are, at the cash register as a hidden tax that can be nearly 40 percent of the price of a pair of certain types of shoes. The proposed legislation would abolish the shoe tax on lower- to moderately-priced footwear and all children's shoes, or about 60 percent of all shoes sold.

Today, AFI announced that 145 U.S. Representatives, or one-third of the U.S. House of Representatives, and 12 U.S. Senators - have become co-sponsors of the Affordable Footwear Act since the bill's introduction less than 10 months ago.

"Just in time for back to school shopping, momentum is growing to enact the Affordable Footwear Act and I am working to build support among my colleagues in the House and the Senate to move this legislation forward," said U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley (D-NY), primary co-sponsor of the legislation. "The shoe tax is obsolete and it costs hard-working American families every time they buy a pair of shoes for their kids. During these difficult economic times, removing this regressive tax would be an easy way to help ease the financial burden on millions of families who are struggling to meet all of their financial obligations."

"As we see the cost of living increase, with gas and food prices rising, American families are already finding their pockets pinched," stated U.S. Representative Kevin Brady (R-TX), Affordable Footwear Act primary co-sponsor. "That is why it is time to untie the shoe tax and relieve Moms and Dads from paying up to an additional 40% on the cost of a pair of shoes because of a tariff put in place over 70 years ago."

"Ninety-nine percent of all shoes sold in the U.S. are imported and subject to tariffs as high as 67.5 percent," added U.S. Representative Nancy Boyda (D-KS), also a primary co-sponsor of the Affordable Footwear Act. "The additional expense to footwear importers is passed on to hardworking American families…to the tune of four to five-billion dollars every year."

"That's just wrong, especially when people are struggling just to pay the bills," continued Boyda. "I am proud to champion the Affordable Footwear Initiative, alongside Congressmen Crowley and Brady and this coalition. It is an important tax-relief for American households."

The popularity of the Affordable Footwear Act is due in part to consumers fed-up with paying the regressive, hidden shoe tax. A child can't go to school without shoes and the shoe tax is highest on lower-priced shoes and children's footwear, making the shoe tax unavoidable and unfair for America's hardworking families. In a virtual march on Washington, several thousand consumers have demanded Congress stomp out the shoe tax via emails sent to their members of Congress from the AFI website,

Just last month, over 50 businesses, from the largest brands and retailers to the smallest footwear companies, and their associations wrote the House Ways and Means Committee expressing their unequivocal support for the Affordable Footwear Act and passage of the legislation.

Learn more at

The Affordable Footwear Initiative is a coalition dedicated to eliminating the hidden, regressive and high import tariffs on lower- to moderately-priced footwear and children's shoes. Coalition members include the American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA), Footwear Distributors and Retailers of America (FDRA), Retail Industry Leaders Association (RILA), Outdoor Industry Association (OIA), National Retail Federation (NRF) and many of the individual member companies represented by these associations. Visit the AAFA-sponsored coalition website,, for more information.


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