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In the world of footwear, Portugal is quietly becoming a major player. It’s a country celebrated for its unwavering commitment to quality and masterful craftsmanship, giving the likes of Italy and even England a run for their money heritage-wise.
What sets Portugal apart, beyond artisanal finesse, is its ability to strike a balance between excellence and affordability. Portuguese makers deliver top-notch, high-end footwear without the insane price tags you might expect from a traditional Northamptonshire-made pair of shoes. This makes the country an enticing option for brands seeking manufacturers, and provides fertile ground for homegrown footwear labels too.
So, how does Portugal do it? It has a lot to do with the country’s abundant access to prime raw materials, including sumptuous leather and premium textiles. And let’s not forget the export-driven mindset that propels Portuguese shoemakers onto the global stage.
If you’re looking for well-made footwear at fair prices, a pair of Portuguese-made shoes could well be the answer. Here are a few of our favourite brands, Portuguese and otherwise, that have chosen to craft their shoes here.
Myrqvist is a Swedish footwear brand that is growing in popularity. Founded by Sebastian Öhrn in 2014, the brand takes its name from a small Swedish village, reflecting its commitment to heritage and tradition.
Each pair is constructed with premium details, such as full-grain leather and Goodyear-welted soles, ensuring both style and durability over the years.
Portuguese brand JAK specialises in well-made, reasonably priced sneakers. In terms of design, the emphasis is firmly on understated versatility, which means the shoes are often fairly minimalist, with few details and little to no visible branding.
This means JAK’s kicks can be worn with pretty much anything, making them a valuable addition to your shoe rack.
OK, they’re not exactly dirt cheap, but when you put them next to brands that are comparable in terms of quality and aesthetics the value aspect is easy to see.
British luxury footwear brand Oliver Sweeney splits its production across Italy and Portugal, with many of the brand’s best-selling styles produced in the latter.
Founded in 1989 by Oliver Sweeney himself, the brand has become synonymous with high-quality, stylish shoes and accessories. Each pair of shoes is meticulously handcrafted using premium materials, showcasing a blend of traditional shoemaking techniques and contemporary aesthetics.
Founded in 2013, Sweden’s Axel Arigato has grown into one of the leading labels in premium sneakers and streetwear.
The brand started out making simple leather kicks a la Common Projects, before diversifying into chunkier, sportier and more experimental designs.
The shoes are made in a few different locations around Europe, but the vast majority are handcrafted in Porto, Portugal.
Russell and Bromley
Established in 1873, Russell and Bromley has a long history of producing high-quality footwear that blends traditional craftsmanship with contemporary design. The renowned British brand is famous for its wide range of shoes – including boots, loafers and Derbies – made from premium materials.
A number of Russell and Bromley’s styles are handcrafted in Portugal, including the Laceway sneaker, which features a clean minimalist design, lightweight rubber sole and a simple, timeless aesthetic.
If you’re worried about the impact your spending habits and contents of your wardrobe have on the environment, you might be interested to learn what LØCI is doing in the world of footwear.
This up-and-coming label works with recycled, sustainable and vegan materials to craft some seriously good-looking and stylish kicks that are designed to go with anything and everything while minimising negative effects on the planet at the same time.
Saye is another sustainable footwear brand you need to know. Its shoes are simple, stylish and beautifully made, with each pair crafted using eco-friendly recycled and organic fabrics. The company also supports reforestation projects and the entire range is vegan so it’s cruelty-free too.
The hero model is the Modelo ‘89, which is kind of like an elevated Reebok Club C. It’s made in Portugal and is available in a number of tasteful muted colour options.
Launched in the 1990s, Yogi is a brand inspired by the unconventional Earth and Roots shoes of the 1960s and 1970s. These shoes are unusual in that they feature a negative heel. This means the heel is lower than the forefoot. It’s claimed that this can provide certain health benefits, but the vast majority of people who buy Yogi shoes are probably doing so for their stylish casual looks more than anything else.
Many of the brand’s most popular styles are based on the classic moccasin template – broad fits, pronounced stitching and soft suede uppers – and they’re all handmade in Portugal.
Diverge isn’t your average sneaker brand. Rather than choosing a model right off the shelf and clicking ‘buy’, customers are instead invited to select one of its blank sneaker models and customise every element.
There are lots of different silhouettes to choose from and endless combinations to be made, meaning that you’re highly unlikely to see anyone else with the same pair as you.
The best part? Each shoe is handcrafted to order in the brand’s Portuguese factory using high-end equipment and traditional shoemaking techniques.
Morjas has a knack for mixing classic designs, traditional shoemaking practices and contemporary touches to create a range of footwear that’s both exciting and timeless. The complete collection includes loafers, boots, dress shoes and minimalist sneakers – the latter of which are made by hand in Portugal.
Regardless of style, all of Morjas’ shoes are tied together by the quality and attention to detail that goes into each and every one – these are beautifully made pieces of footwear crafted with real care and skill by some of the best makers on the Iberian peninsula.