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NY D80286

August 12, 1998

CLA-2-64:RR:NC:TA:347 D80286


TARIFF NO.: 6403.99.6075

Mr. John Kenney

Reebok International Ltd.

25 Littlefield St.

Avon, MA 02322

RE: The tariff classification of footwear from Taiwan

Dear Mr. Kenney:

In your letter dated July 13, 1998 you requested a tariff classification ruling.

The submitted sample, identified as Style #2-45195, is a size 9 men's low-top, you state, weightlifting/strength training shoe. The shoe is of cement lasted construction, with a leather upper, a six eyelet lace closure and a 1 inch wide leather "hook and loop" strap at the instep. It has a heavy non-flexing bottom which consists of, as you indicate, a compression molded non-
marking solid rubber outer sole, a 5mm thick EVA forefoot midsole, a solid wood heel with a wooden shank wedge that extends under the arch of the foot, a thick fiberboard footbed and a fully encircling leather welt strip.

The question to be considered regarding this weightlifting, strength training shoe is whether or not to treat it, for tariff classification purposes, as athletic footwear. Additional U.S. Note 2 to Chapter 64, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), reads as follows:

2. For the purposes of this chapter, the term "tennis shoes, basketball shoes, gym shoes, training shoes and the like" covers athletic footwear other than sports footwear (as defined in subheading note 1 above), whether or not principally used for such athletic games or purposes.

We note, and previous Customs Headquarters Rulings (HRL 953882, 9/24/93 ; HRL 95524, 3/25/94) have held that all the exemplars of "athletic footwear" listed in Additional U.S. Note 2, including training shoes(joggers) are principally used in sports that require fast footwork or extensive running. Therefore, since this weightlifting, strength training shoe is specifically constructed with a heavy, non-flexing wood heeled high traction rubber bottom, to primarily provide the wearer with stationary support and stability, it will not be considered as being "athletic" footwear-like, such as a tennis shoe, basketball shoe, gym shoe and a training(running) shoe.

The applicable subheading for this shoe, Style 2-45194, will be 6403.99.6075, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for footwear, with uppers of leather and outer soles of rubber or plastics or composition leather; which does not cover the ankle; which is not "sports", nor "athletic" footwear; and which is worn by men, youths and boys. The rate of duty will be 8.5% ad valorem.

In your letter you also state that if this very same style of weightlifting/strength training shoe had an upper with an external surface area that was textile instead of leather and the construction of the bottom/sole remained the same as in the instant sample, it is your belief that a shoe so constructed would be classified under 6404.19.9030, HTS. We agree that a shoe like that would also, most likely, be considered not "athletic" footwear. However, without an actual sample to examine, nor the price per pair being confirmed, we are precluded from issuing a binding classification ruling for this proposed hypothetical textile upper model.

We are returning your samples as you requested.

This ruling is being issued under the provisions of Part 177 of the Customs Regulations (19 C.F.R. 177).

A copy of the ruling or the control number indicated above should be provided with the entry documents filed at the time this merchandise is imported. If you have any questions regarding the ruling, contact National Import Specialist Richard Foley at 212-466-5890.


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