There was a time when only the best bespoke and ready-to-wear men's shoes came from either England or Italy, but now Spain is emerging as a force to be reckoned with in the world of fine quality men's shoes. Although, the Spanish have made shoes just as long as the Italians and English, they have mostly been ignored by men's shoes aficionados. However, that is no longer the case and these four brands have definitely made their presence known.
Known for their hand applied patinas and innovative styles, the founder, Sebastián Blanco Aldomar, started working in Spanish shoe factories at the age of 12, and at the age of 44 decided to open his own company. The company began in 1954 with just five employees in a factory located in Almansa, Spain, on the ground floor of a house. In 1956, Sebastián Blanco partnered with Antonio García Pastor – and Blanco y García S.L. was born. The company’s products were registered under a new brand: BLANGAR.In 1989, the third generation of the Blanco family began to take its place at the head of the company. Miguel was the first member of this generation to join the family business. He was soon followed by Pascual, Sebastian, Luis, Rocío and Julio.
This family owned made-to-order brand started In 1866, Matías Pujadas opened a small workshop in Inca, Majorca, where he began crafting tailor-made shoes. A generation later, his son Mateo Pujadas followed in his footsteps, and in 1905 he opened one of the first factories of Goodyear-stitched shoes in the Balearic Islands. In 1961, José Albaladejo Pujadas, the founder's great-grandson, continued the family tradition when he created one of Spain's largest shoe companies. In the 1980s, this firm turned out a total of one million pairs of shoes. In 1997, after a downturn in the market when the demand for luxury shoes dropped dramatically, José Albaladejo decided to create a new company together with his wife and some of his sons in their native Majorca. The new business was called Carmina Shoemaker, and its goal was to create some of the world's best hand-crafted shoes.
In the few short years since its inception, Carmina Shoemaker has established eight shops (in Paris, Barcelona, Bilbao, Valladolid, Palma de Mallorca, and three in Madrid) and competes in some of the best shop displays in Europe, Japan and the US against the most distinguished English shoemakers. Carmina Shoemaker shoes are Goodyear-stitched with the same techniques, consistency and perfection as their English counterparts – the only difference being that it crafts them for women as well.
Meermin, established in 2001, is a company formed by members of the third & fourth generation of a renowned shoemaking family from Mallorca, who specialized in manufacturing high-end Goodyear shoes. The goal of the company is to produce high-end shoes at a reasonable and affordable cost to consumers. Their main interest is to pleasantly surprise the customer with the value (Quality & Price) of the product. To achieve their goal they seek to achieve permanently sustainable cost in manufacturing and distribution without having to compromise quality and product.
Although, Jack Erwin is not a Spanish owned shoe manufacturer, their shoes are made in Spain. Started in 2013, the brand's focus is to produce the highest quality of men's shoes at a price that's respectable and fair. In addition, another significant component of their business model is their distribution, the majority of their sales are made online exclusive while the remaining balance of their sales are made from their NYC store. They source their high-quality leather from exquisite Italian and French cultivators and the manufacturing is Blake construction (a machined process where the insole, sole and upper are all stitched together in a single stitch throughout).
The founders Ariel Nelson and Lane Gerson started the company because they were frustrated with not being able to find fashionable high-quality men's shoes for under $500, so they began the process of learning the business (neither previously work in the shoe business, retail or otherwise), raising funds and launching their first offering May 2013. The brand's offerings are released in families of specific collections such as Sullivan, Foster and Wright and can be purchased easily from their website.
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