Once again, The Post has let its biases get in the way of accurate reporting in the trade area. The editorial titled "Who Pays for High Tech?" {Sept. 21} states that the shoe industry is not "critical" and thus undeserving of federal help.

Tell our allies from World War II that footwear was not critical -- we had to make their boots for them when their factories were down.

Tell our own government that footwear was not critical -- footwear was the only item of apparel that had to be rationed during World War II because of the shortage of leather, at a time when there were hundreds of tanneries and thousands of shoe factories in the United States. Our production during the war was 3.74 pairs per person; today it is less than one pair per person per year.

The Defense Department has acknowledged the critical footwear shortage that would ensue during even a limited conflict, let alone one of extended duration. And this doesn't even address the shortage for the civilian population.

Because of the terrible damage inflicted upon the U.S. shoe industry because of imports, more than 81 percent of the market is controlled by foreign firms. In time of war, can we really count on Taiwan and Korea and Eastern Europe to provide us with our needed boots?

It would be better, and safer, to provide our country's shoemakers with a respite from imports so they can hasten their efforts to retool and acquire the technology currently available but beyond the financial resources of most of the industry in today's market. FAWN EVENSON Acting President, Footwear Industries of America Washington