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China – National standard "Shanks for Footwear" was transformed from a mandatory standard to a voluntary standard

Photo: Leather shoes
Photo: Leather shoes

According to the No.7 Chinese national standard announcement in 2017, national standard was transformed from a mandatory standard to a voluntary standard on March 23, 2017. The standard code was transformed from GB 28011-2011 to GB/T 28011-2011.

GB 28011-2011 (now GB/T 28011-2011) was applicable to steel shanks used for footwear and led to a significant failure rate in shank test items. The following chart summarises the leather shoes and leather sandals spot check released by Shanghai QTS from 2014 to 2016 and highlights the high level of failed shank batches.

Chart: summary of leather shoes and leather sandals spot check released by Shanghai QTS
Chart: summary of leather shoes and leather sandals spot check released by Shanghai QTS

Summary of leather shoes and leather sandals spot check released by Shanghai QTS from 2014 to 2016

One of the reasons why shanks have shown such a high failure rate in recent years is due to the standard for steel shanks in shoes requiring conformance to the requirements of marking, minimum length, stiffness, hardness and bending performance, all of which were mandatory. After the recent change from a mandatory to a voluntary standard, shanks only need to conform to the requirements in the claimed product standard and not to the additional requirement of GB/T 28011 unless the product specifically claims GB/T 28011.

There are 5 product standards and one mandatory standard with a requirement related to shanks. Based on the actual reference condition, there are two types of changes going from GB 28011 to GB/T 28011 which are summarised as:

Type 1: There are three product standards referring to parts of GB/T 28011. Since the update, it's sufficient for the shank component to conform only to the product standard and the detailed test items of the shank will be changed as per Table 1.

Claimed product standardThe shank test items before transformationThe shank test items after transformation
GB/T 22756-2008
Leather sandals
Stiffness, hardness, size, bending performance, markingStiffness, hardness, size
QB/T 1002-2015
Leather shoes
Stiffness, hardness, minimum length, bending performance
QB/T 4546-2013
Children leather sandals
Stiffness, hardness, length, bending performance, marking

Table 1 Standards referred to parts of GB/T 28011

Type 2: There are three standards referring to the complete GB/T 28011. Since the update, the shank component should conform to all of the items in GB/T 28011-2011, which means there is no change of the test items.

Claimed product standard or applied mandatory standardThe shank test items before transformationThe shank test items after transformation
GB 30585-2014
Safety technical specifications for children’s footwear
Stiffness, hardness, size, bending performance, marking, appearance, fatigue resistanceStiffness, hardness, size, bending performance, marking, appearance, fatigue resistance
QB/T 4329-2012
Cloth shoes
QB/T 4332-2012
Craftwork shoes

Table 2 Standards referred to complete GB/T 28011

As the standard has been updated, shoe companies should update their quality control manuals accordingly in order to legally sell their products in the China market.

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Email SGS Hong Kong Ltd. at mktg@sgs.com for enquiry or visit www.sgsgroup.com/hk.

Content provided by SGS Hong Kong Limited
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