In Latin America, Nicaragua has become an attractive location for labor-intensive manufacturing operations as a result of its competitive labor costs and high productivity. According to the Ministry of Labor in each Central American country, Nicaragua has the lowest labor costs in the region with an hourly wage for manufacturing operations under the free zone regime of US$1.09; the rest of the countries range from US$1.47 (El Salvador) to US$4.18 (Costa Rica).
Nicaragua reached its highest historical figure in terms of footwear exports in 2012 with the amount of US$37.5 million, considering both the traditional fiscal regime and the special free zone regime. Currently, the main export destinations are the United States, Costa Rica and Panama.
The main products in Nicaragua’s footwear industry are cattle and goat leather footwear (loafers and high heels), synthetic sandals, rubber boots and safety boots for construction. Some national brands in the footwear industry include Rolter, Tosca and ECCO; the most important international brand produced in Nicaragua is Clark’s.