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HQ 079591

April 18, 1988

CLA-2:CO:R:C:G 079591 SR


TARIFF NO.: 700.61

John B. Pellegrini, Esq.
Ross and Hardies
575 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 10017-2470

RE: Tariff classification of a woman's Reebok athletic shoe

Dear Mr. Pellegrini:

In your letter of January 16, 1987, you inquired as to the tariff status of a woman's Reebok athletic shoe. A sample was submitted for examination.


The merchandise involved is a woman's Reebok athletic shoe. The shoe has a textile upper and a cemented rubber sole. The shoe is of the lace type and has 14 eyelets. There is a sidewall six inches in length encircling the front one third of the shoe, and one at the heel area as well.

The importer claims that their shoe is a jogging shoe with a sole that overlaps "at the toe", and should be classified under item 700.61 Tariff Schedules of the United States (TSUS). Specifically, he recommends that bumpers of increasing lengths proportional to the size in question (2 1/2 inches) be deemed to overlap the upper "at the toe". For example, a bumper of 4 5/8 inches in a women's size 6 would be "at the toe", a bumper in a man's size 9 could be 5 1/8 inches and still be "at the toe".


Does the rubber bumper on the shoe in question constitute an overlap of the upper other than at the toe or heel?


The term "at the toe" has not been defined. The trade meaning of "toe" includes items which go back further than the toes such as "steel toe" safety footwear, and in items that are in front but don't reach the toes, such as ski boot bindings.

Headquarters Ruling Letter (HRL) 076581, dated October 17, 1985, dealt with a child's "zoo" shoe which also had a bumper which encircled the front 1/3 of the shoe. This ruling defined "at the toe" as including a maximum overlap in the toe area as being 2 1/2 inches.

This ruling was followed by HRL 077312, dated January 23, 1986, which involved a woman's athletic shoe with a five inch bumper around the toe area. This ruling determined that "at the toe" means the small area of the toe covered by the flat sole of a cemented jogger where it overlaps the upper. Both of these rulings determined that trade use has defined the phrase "at the toe" to be limited to 2 1/2 inches.

The Summary of Trade and Tariff Information, Rubber Footwear, USITC Publication 841, March 1981, at page 6, states in pertinent part that "items 700.61-700.63 provide for footwear that is held to the foot with the use of laces, buckles, or other fasteners and that is of cement construction, and is primarily intended to cover joggers". Jogging shoes generally have pieces of rubber that extend up over the tip of the toe area that are less than 2 1/2 inches long. They often have an extended rolled up sole which rounds off the toe and makes running easier. These are the type of shoe intended to be provided for by 700.61, TSUS, and not athletic shoes with rubber bumpers that extend across 1/3 of the shoe.


The Reebok shoe in issue should be classified under item 700.67, TSUS, as other footwear which is over 50 percent by weight of fibers and rubber or plastics with at least 10 percent by weight being rubber or plastics and having uppers of which not over 90 percent of the exterior surface area is rubber or plastics: other: footwear with soles which overlap the upper other than at the toe or heel: other: other: valued over $3.00 but not over $6.50 per pair in item 700.67, TSUS.

The proposed Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTSUS) is scheduled to replace the TSUS. The HTSUS provision applicable to the above described merchandise is subheading

6404.19.70, as footwear with outer soles and uppers of rubber or plastics, valued over $3.00 but not over $6.50 a pair. This classification represents the present position of the Customs Service regarding the status of the merchandise under the proposed HTSUS. If there are changes before enactment this advice may not continue to be applicable.


John Durant

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