Portuguese footwear with attitude

Footwear brands are growing in size in Portugal. Each year there are more proposals, some with a more conventional design, others with a more irreverent one. Ideas that attract those who enjoy wearing shoes that will make a difference, regardless of age and style…

Luís Onofre, Zilian, Fly London, Carlos Santos, JJ Heitor, Foreva, Made In, Prof, Goldmud, Cubanas, Eureka ou Dkode are some of the brands that have been on the national and international markets for several years now. Nonetheless, many others have also emerged with a more daring concept, some reinterpreting timeless models, others approaching “outside the box” stuff. In these cases, we can highlight the brands Freakloset, Senhor Prudêncio, Armando Cabral, Guava, Lemon Jelly, Perks, Xperimental Shoes, Josefinas, Officina, Patrícia Henriques ou Green Boots, conceived for the male and female realms. Many of these names are not unknown to the general public and many others have yet to be part of the consumer’s mental list, due to a brand’s strategy or for not owning a mono-brand selling space in Portugal, which thwarts the access to those want to purchase footwear that is produced and designed in Portugal, a fruit of Portuguese minds.

The easiest access happens online, in websites that promote the selling points and/or email addresses that one can use to ask where these brands can be found. These are projects concocted by daring minds that do not limit themselves to wishful thinking, venturing into complex yet stimulating sectors. In some of the aforementioned cases, their founders are young people of both sexes. Joana Lemos, the founder of the brand Freakloset, reveals to Umbigo how everything started. “Before the emergence of the idea to establish a footwear brand, appears the will to have a brand that encompasses different products, associated with its image. I ended up focusing on footwear, to initiate a structured process, avoiding needless daydreams which could disturb the whole process”. She first began to have timeless male models only, for men and women, recently joined by snickers.

Armando Cabral, the homonymous brand of the former international model, was born from his passion for shoes. It started in Lisbon and was quickly expanded abroad, and is now currently present in several parts of the world and one of the most important fashion spots, Mr. Porter. “Fashion was not in my plans until I went to London to study. The fact that everything turned out to be a quite serious profession was a stroke of luck. I modelled for the most important international brands, and I still keep a working relationship with some. I stopped being a full-time model and decided to create my own footwear brand, since I’m deeply fond of this product and for having been able to find my own niche,” says Armando. In Portugal, he has a small space in Embaixada (Príncipe Real, Lisbon).

With the growth of the footwear industry, there are some other complementary approaches, as it happens with The Lace Company, a brand of shoelaces which fit different models, depending on the colour of the clothes that you use on a daily basis. Changing the shoelaces in snickers, shoes or boots ends up adding a fun or differentiating touch. And, to wear shoes with style, there is an ever-growing number of national sock brands, which provide less common ideas, like WestMister. The fact that the great art of footwear Portuguese brands has foreign names is something that puzzles who want to wear what is “Made In Portugal”, however it is an easily surmountable obstacle, a brief search is all that it takes, in addition to the suggestions made in this article. One should stress that a large part of the national footwear excels due to its extraordinary comfort quality materials, without neglecting confection.

Degree in Journalism. PhD in Fashion Design, UBI, Covilhã. Journalist specialising in fashion. Interviewed some of the best national and international fashion designers. Trainer and teacher in the area of communication / journalism / image consulting / luxury. Collaborate with national and international publications.

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