How To Find A Sneaker Supplier?

How To Find A Sneaker Supplier?


Sneakers are among the most demanded forms of footwear globally; hence, the scope of opting for a retail and wholesale business is quite compelling. When considering this business, one of the most important things is to look for the right sneaker supplier.


Well, before we dive into the search for a supplier, we must first take a glance at the market size of the sneaker, which was valued in the year 2023 at USD 91.1 billion and by the year 2030, it is expected to cross USD 145.3 Billion with the CAGR to grow by 7%.


If you are looking forward to learning more about sneaker suppliers and how you can choose the right one, the guide below could greatly help you. So, let’s read it.

Different Ways to Find a Sneaker Supplier

1. Utilizing Online Supplier Directories

Why choose online supplier directories?

Online directories have many suppliers that can offer the best sneaker options. Various reasons may compel you to choose these directories; among them, the first one is the versatility of the designs provided. You can come across a wide range of suppliers, and hence, you have multiple options.

The supplier list in the directories is always after a thorough check; hence, they offer reliable and credible sources. It also helps you choose the supplier quickly, as you have all the well-known options in one place.

How do you make the most of online supplier directories?

The online directories prove to be the best source of choosing reliable sneaker suppliers, and for this, you can follow the below-given steps:

  • First, you must mention your requirements, which include the order quantity, shipping options and the specifications of products you may need.
  • Most online directories are equipped with filters and allow you to narrow down your options based on your requirements, so using them makes your research process relatively easy.
  • You can go through the reviews left behind by other businesses that have dealt with these suppliers, and hence, it helps you to keep an eye on the supplier’s reliability and quality.

Tips to evaluate and filter suppliers from the directories

You can follow the tips suggested below to make the most of evaluating and filtering the suppliers from the directories, and some of these are as follows:

  • Always look for certifications when choosing a supplier, as the best supplier will always adhere to quality standards.
  • Always communicate with a supplier and see how he responds; the prompt response from a supplier indicates their commitment.
  • Don’t rush to place a large order immediately; ask for a sample first to see the quality and delivery process.
  • Pay a physical visit to their factory or request a virtual tour to view their production setup.
  • Negotiate on prices, shipping and payment terms and see how flexible they are when accommodating your requirements.

1 Online supplier directories

  1. Online supplier directories

2. Networking at Trade Shows and Industry Events

Benefits of networking at trade shows

Trade shows and industry events are the most important places where you can quickly access various suppliers, and there are multiple benefits offered in such areas, some of which are as follows:

  • When you meet suppliers personally, you get an opportunity to have a personal connection, which helps to build trust.
  • Trade shows allow you to look at their products on the display and quickly assess the quality of their sneakers.
  • Looking at the different sneakers from different suppliers at the trade shows gives you an insight into the industry trends and market demands.
  • You can make the most of networking opportunities at the trade shows, allowing you to have future collaborations later on.

Strategies for effective networking with potential suppliers

  • Always research trade shows beforehand, which helps you shortlist the suppliers, and you can prepare the points you may need to discuss with them.
  • Make the most of such shows and attend their workshops and seminars to learn about the sneaker industry.
  • Communicate with the supplier by informing them regarding your business needs.
  • Collect samples and pamphlets from the suppliers, as these can be of great help when it comes to reviewing the options at a later date.
  • Always follow up after the trade shows and ask questions for future partnerships.

2 Trade Shows for sneaker suppliers

  1. Trade Shows for sneaker suppliers

3.  Leveraging Referrals and Recommendations

Importance of word-of-mouth in finding reliable sneaker suppliers

Referrals and recommendations play a significant role and are among the most powerful tools that help find suitable suppliers. These are basically from the ones who have tried and tested the suppliers; hence, people can easily rely on their product quality.

Choosing suppliers through referrals makes it easier to select suppliers as the level of risk is low, and you can confidently place your orders with them.

How do you seek recommendations from industry peers and contacts?

If you are looking for recommendations and have no idea about how to do this, you can read below and get some ideas:

  • You must look forward to building a network by paying visits to industry events and online forums to get in touch with some people in the same industry.
  • You can also join online forums and get into discussions with the people in such groups to seek advice from them.
  • You can contact the people who may share their experiences and recommendations by attending local and international events.
  • Social media is also a potent tool that allows you to seek recombination from people with experience with different suppliers.

3 Referrals and recommendations

  1. Referrals and recommendations

4. Exploring Social Media and Online Communities

Connecting with suppliers on social media

You can always come across suppliers on social media and connect with them by directly messaging them. You can ask questions that you have in mind and clear all your doubts.

Moreover, follow the suppliers on social media. You can stay updated with the promotions and news they may share on their social media platform so that you can always remain aware of the latest happenings.

Cautions to exercise when seeking advice on social media

However, before you seek advice on social media, there are a few cautions that you must exercise, and these comprise the following:

  • The information on social media may only sometimes be authentic; hence, verifying that information before making any decision is imperative.
  • Privacy concerns are also significant to be kept in mind when dealing with public platforms, and it is suggested to always opt for secure channels.
  • Always recheck the recommendations with other sources before entirely relying on them.
  • Always keep an eye on the source’s credibility from which you get the information, and always check if they have enough experience and expertise to comment.

4 Social media for searching suppliers

  1. Social media for searching suppliers

5. Direct Outreach to Manufacturers and Wholesalers

Advantages of directly contacting suppliers

There are multiple advantages to have when reaching out directly to manufacturers and suppliers, and some of these advantages comprise the following:

  • If you communicate with the supplier directly, you can discuss specific requirementsyou may need in your sneaker batch.
  • By contacting the manufacturer directly, you can save on the cost of having an intermediary in between, and it helps make your supply chain efficient.
  • Direct connections give rise to direct relationships that foster the terms with the suppliers, and you can benefit from them.
  • Everything is crystal clear when you communicate directly.

Strategies for negotiating agreements with suppliers

You must always have some strategy pre-determined when you are negotiating with the suppliers, and some of these are as follows:

  • Always thoroughly research the market and industry, followed by the suppliers you plan to contact.
  • Understand the pricing and terms beforehand, and always be prepared for negotiations.
  • Very precisely outline all your requirements and quality standards you have been expecting.
  • Try to have long-term contracts and bulk orders placed so that you can have negotiating power.
  • Make sure that whatever is decided between you and the supplier is present in a written agreement.

5 Directly reaching out to the manufacturer

  1. Directly reaching out to the manufacturer

6. Hiring Sourcing Agents or Consultants

Benefits of hiring sourcing professionals

Many people prefer hiring sourcing professionals when it comes to looking for manufacturers or suppliers as it comes with a lot of benefits, which comprise the following:

  • The experts in the field always have relevant knowledge; hence, these sourcing agents have years of experience, and with their expertise, they can help you make informed decisions.
  • They already have a very strong network of connections, and with the help of their connection, they have more supplies on board to offer you as per your requirements.
  • The negotiating skills of the sourcing agents must be considered, and you can always make the most of them based on your conditions and pricing terms.
  • When you deal internationally, the major problem is the cultural and language barrier that the sourcing agent can quickly mitigate and help bridge the communication gaps.

Evaluating the cost-effectiveness of hiring sourcing assistance

However, the services of a sourcing agent come with a cost, and for this, you must always assess the cost-effectiveness of hiring them, which consists of considering the following factors.

  • Consider the time-saving you may achieve by hiring the agents and the time you may spend locating the right supplier.
  • Always assess your team’s expertise and whether they can choose the right supplier in contrast to the capability of a sourcing agent.
  • Assess the financial benefits of hiring them; their negotiation skills are vital.
  • Carry out a comparison of the fee charged by the sourcing agents to the cost of having an in-house team and look for which proves suitable. You have to consider factors like salaries, training and benefits you may have to offer to an in-house team.

6 Hiring sourcing agents

  1. Hiring sourcing agents

How To Identify a Good Sneaker Supplier?

To choose the right supplier for the sneaker business, there are various things that you must pay attention to, and some of these are discussed below:

1. Official website


The official website of a supplier indicates their positive reputation and professionalism. Creating and maintaining a website requires effort; hence, you can vary the fact that it won’t be a scam, as scammers only invest a little bit of time and money on a website.


Also, by considering their website, you can make the most of the information about the company and their products and decide whether or not they are worth doing business with.

2. Company Information


Company information is an essential and effective tool; always check the “about us” section of the website, where you can gain a lot of understanding of the supplier. Their details of mission, vision, and commitment to international quality standards and environmental protection are also included.


Also, you can check their “Contact Us” page, where you can get information on their contact details, including their email address, number, and even physical address.

7 Making the most of company information

  1. Making the most of company information

3. More than 25 years


You must also see how long a sneaker supplier has been in the business; try to choose someone who has been in the industry for over 25 years. It indicates a successful setup that will be sustainable in the long run.


The experience of a manufacturer is also an indication of their expertise as someone who has been in the business for more than 25 years will have connections with the raw material suppliers, must have developed advanced production mechanisms and would have a team offering their services with consistency.


4. Famous business partners


Choosing a sneaker supplier that is already working with renowned shoe brands is always better. This allows you to assess their quality and terms with their partners. A famous brand would never deal with a low-quality or unprofessional supplier, which hints you in making a better decision.

5. Product Showcase


The product catalog present on the supplier’s website gives you insight into the types of shoes they manufacture. You can make the most of these images by exploring them, giving you an idea of the quality and layouts they offer.


You also know their creativity and design skills by going through different options. It helps you decide whether or not you should work with them.



6. Comprehensive cost

When selecting a sneaker manufacturer, you must consider the cost in detail. It doesn’t count only for the product’s price; other factors like delivery time, communication capabilities, and additional charges must also be analyzed.


If your supplier cannot meet the deadline, you may be at a bigger loss, which is far much higher than the cost; hence, all this must be assessed beforehand.


7. Samples:


The sample is one of the most crucial considerations when choosing a sneaker supplier. Always request a sample as it allows you to check the quality, and you can protect yourself from receiving any surprises later.

8 Inspecting samples

  1. Inspecting samples

9. Factory Visit (if possible)


If your supplier is in the same city, you must require a physical factory visit to analyze their production processes and have an eye on the quality inspection and testing they carry out. However, if you are in a different city, you can ask for a virtual tour instead and look at how they operate.



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