On Shoes

Growing up in Portugal, I’ve never even considered buying shoes anywhere else. Every town, no matter how small, will have at least one shoe shop where you can find a good pair of, often locally made, shoes at very affordable prices.

Your mum buys your shoes from there when you’re a kid, and you buy your shoes from there when you grow up. Often, these places sell shoes that are produced in-house by generation after generation of shoe-makers, so you’re supporting the local economy and specialised trade in all its glory.

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Those three on the left? Yup, all bought/made in Portugal…

But not all shoes made or found in Portugal are of excellent quality and you learn to tell the difference. The fact is, in recent decades, only a handful of Portuguese shoe factories still produce the good stuff for the internal customer. For most, the best goes overseas while a lower quality shoe is sold internally. Don’t get me wrong, they’re not bad. They’re just not the best.

While I will still purchase some of the lower quality stuff in one of those small town shoe shops (because really, they’re better than some of the best stuff available in Auckland), I always like to know where to find the best Portuguese-made shoes, just in case I feel like getting an investment pair.

And, in Lisbon, you’ll find some of the best in this cute, little shoe shop right in the centre of town – Sapataria do Carmo.

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My lovely cousin Marina captured this one

After following them on every possible social media platform like an absolute fan-girl, I couldn’t wait to check them out in person. I knew they stocked some of the best Portuguese shoe brands and I very much wanted to invest in a pair of those shoes. The hubby was also very keen to check out their stock for men.

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We weren’t disappointed. The shop is a cute little gem but it’s filled with plenty of desirable options. Monk shoes, oxfords, derby shoes, moccasins, loafers, ballet flats, tassels, no tassels, ankle boots…You name it, they have it. And if they don’t have your size or the colour you like in-store, well, worry not – they will have it made for you!

After our experiences shoe-shopping in Auckland (a story for another day maybe?), we felt spoiled. Honestly, the hard part was to choose the pair to bring home!

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We spent a lovely couple of afternoons there (yes, we went twice in two days, that’s how much we liked it), chatting away to the lovely couple who now owns the shop and has carried this lovely place into the XXIst century. Alexandra and Joao Pedro were absolutely patient with us, all our questions and indecision. No wonder they have the best reviews on TripAdvisor!

We left with one pair for me, two pairs for the hubby and a promise to come back next time we’re in Portugal, which we know we will keep – we know a good pair of Portuguese-made shoes is worth the wait!

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2 thoughts on “On Shoes

  1. This interests me on so many levels. I love knowing about people’s shopping experiences and ideas about quality etc. (I’d so be interested in an Auckland shopping post), but also the history and quality behind the shoes was fascinating and- well, now I want to shop there 🙂

    • And you know what? It would be really great if you could. Lisbon is an amazing city to visit anyway, and so is the rest of the country so you know, think about it 😉

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