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June 10, 1999

CLA-2-64:RR:NC:TP:347 E81953


TARIFF NO.: 6403.99.60, 6403.99.90, 6404.11.90

Mr. John B. Pellegrini
Ross & Hardies
Park Avenue Tower
65 East 55th Street
New York, N.Y. 10022-3219

RE: The tariff classification of footwear from China.

Dear Mr. Pellegrini:

In your letter dated May 10, 1999, written on behalf of your client, Ralph Lauren Footwear Co. Inc., you requested a tariff classification ruling.

You have submitted two samples of what you state are men’s athletic footwear which you refer to as “Ridgeway Lo”. Both samples are identical with the exception of the external surface area of the uppers. Style ”MA 2072" has an upper of predominantly leather while Style “MA 2075" has an upper of predominantly textile material. Both samples feature identical rubber/plastic outer soles with unit-molded lug-like protrusions. You state the footwear is designed for use in the sporting activities of scrambling and hiking. Both shoes also feature lace-tie closures and do not cover the ankle. You further state your belief that the subject footwear style “MA 2072" is “sports footwear” while style “MA 2075" is “like tennis shoes, etc.”

Subheading Note 1, Chapter 64, (HTS) states; for the purposes of subheadings 6402.12, 6402.19, 6403.12, 6403.19 and 6404.11, the term “Sports Footwear” applies only to:

(a) Footwear which is designed for a sporting activity and has, or has provision for the attachment of spikes, sprigs, cleats, stops, clips, bars or the like;

(b) Skating boots, ski-boots and cross-country ski footwear, snowboard boots, wrestling boots, boxing boots and cycling shoes.

Customs interpretation of the terms spikes, sprigs, cleats, stops, bars or the like in regards to “sports footwear” has generally been to include projections attached to, or molded into, the soles of sports footwear” to provide traction during outdoor sporting activities such as golf, field sports, (baseball, soccer, American football, rugby etc.) or track & field events. In addition, crampons and similar attachments for rock/ice-climbing boots have also been included as fitting the definition of these terms. However, outdoor recreational footwear, with traction studs, lugs or similar sole projections, suitable for everyday walking have not been considered “sports footwear” as these projections are unlike spikes, sprigs, cleats, stops, clips, bars or the like.

The soles on the subject footwear present a pattern of numerous molded projections in various sizes which extend approximately 1/8 inch outward from the sole surface and measure approximately 1/2 inch to almost 3/4 inch in diameter. The overall walking surface of these soles is relatively even and presents a comfortable surface for everyday walking. In this regard, the subject footwear is not “sports footwear” as defined in the Subheading Note 1 (a).

In addition, regarding style “MA 2072" (leather upper), we consider this type of footwear to be commonly worn by both sexes and therefore “unisex” in sizes up to and including American men’s size 8, if a woman’s alternative is not provided to complement the submitted “men’s” model. In this regard, the applicable subheading for style “MA2072," up to and including American men’s size 8 will be 6403.99.90, Harmonized Tariff Schedule of the United States (HTS), which provides for footwear with leather uppers and plastic and/or rubber outer soles, not covering the ankle, for other persons, valued over $2.50 per pair. The rate of duty will be 10% ad valorem. The applicable subheading for American men’s sizes 8.5 and above will be 6403.99.60, HTS, which provides for footwear with leather uppers and plastic and/or rubber outer soles, not covering the ankle, for men, youths and boys. The rate of duty will be 8.5% ad valorem.

You state that style “MA 2075" has a mostly textile upper, with a cleated outsole, and is valued over $12.00 per pair. We agree that this type of footwear is ”like tennis shoes, gym shoes, training shoes and the like” and therefore “athletic”. The applicable subheading for style “MA 2075" will be 6404.11.90, HTS, which provides for footwear in which the upper’s external surface is predominately textile materials, in which the external surface of the outer sole is predominately rubber and/or plastics, which is “athletic footwear,” valued over 12.00 per pair. The rate of duty will be 20% ad valorem.

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 212-637-7089.


Robert B. Swierupski

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