Spain’s footwear scene has a long history – and it’s not all about traditional espadrilles and elegant heels by masters such as Manolo Blahnik. These days, Spanish designers are producing some of the most exciting shoes around. Read on to discover our pick of the Spanish footwear brands you should know.
There’s no doubt that the designers at Rebeca Sanver know a thing or two about shoes. The company was founded in 1987 by a third-generation footwear entrepreneur in Elda, which is known as the heartland of Spain’s footwear industry – there’s even an Elda Footwear Museum. More than three decades later, the brand is known for its sophisticated, feminine footwear crafted from quality natural materials. Whether you’re looking for brightly patterned summer slides or boldly embellished winter boots, chances are you’ll find them here.
This upscale shoe brand, which offers separate lines for women and children, was founded by designer Elena Garcia to bring a handmade quality back to an increasingly industrialised industry. Thanks to this handcrafted approach, the colour, material and heel height of each model is completely customisable, resulting in truly unique shoes. Each pair is made in Spain by master shoemakers who create what Elena calls “jewelry in the form of a shoe.” Check out the full range at the flagship store on Madrid’s famous Calle de Serrano.
On the hunt for shoes that combine style and comfort in equal measure? Spanish shoe designer Estefania Marco creates contemporary shoes that do just that. The winter collections feature chunky-heeled boots with splashes of bold colour, elegant stilettos and animal-print flats with quirky cut-out details, while summer collections are big on colour blocking and graphic shapes. In 2020, she also debuted a collection of simple trainers that add a feminine touch to a sporty classic.
Combining the traditional craftsmanship of Mallorca with understated Berlin style, this leather footwear and accessories brand is the master of minimalist cool. Based in Berlin but inspired by its Mediterranean origins, the collection features a range of espadrilles for men and women in boldly contrasting colours – think mandarin orange with sky blue details – that are handmade in Spain using 100% natural leather and suede. If you’re looking for city style rather than laid-back beach vibes, there are also elegant ballerinas, boots and practical loafers and lace-ups.
Arguably the world’s most famous shoe designer – renowned as a favourite of fictional fashion icon Carrie Bradshaw – Manolo Blahnik is synonymous with some of the most luxurious footwear money can buy. Born in 1942 in Santa Cruz de la Palma, the Canary Islands, Blahnik was inspired from an early age by his mother who would make her own shoes. He quickly developed a signature style that celebrates sharp stiletto heels, colourful satin and bold embellishments. You don’t have to travel to Spain to find the perfect pair, though. Today, the brand boasts 20 flagship stores around the world, and its shoes are sold in more than 300 locations.
This eco-friendly Spanish brand is a one-stop-shop for not only shoes, but also handbags, jewellery and accessories – all designed to celebrate traditional artisanal techniques and local production. Each piece is handmade in the Madrid workshop, and the leather used is a byproduct of the food industry, with most of it being sustainably vegetable-tanned. The handbags are even dyed using rainwater and ecologically certified dyes, saving more than 40,000 litres (10,000 gallons) of water annually. This sustainable ethos has also been applied to the flagship store on Calle de Serrano in Madrid, which was designed by Ciszak Dalmas and Matteo Ferrari.
When Spanish designer Marta Luengo couldn’t find a pair of shoes for her wedding that were more fun and daring than conventional, she teamed up with her sister Teresa, and they started their own footwear brand. Today, the sisters have branched out, and the brand offers a variety of boots, sandals and heels – all handmade in Spain and with the opportunity for customisation and personalised details engraved in the sole. According to the duo, 90% of the personalised shoes they make are for weddings, while other orders commemorate birthdays and other special occasions.
The slogan for this Spanish shoe brand might be “Mad About Shoes” – but they are just as mad about sustainability. All shoes are crafted by local artisans located less than an hour from the Madrid store using natural materials, such as oak cork for the soles and vegetable-dyed leather that is free from chrome and nickel. The store is located in a converted garage that opens out to a courtyard in Madrid’s Salamanca district, and it also stocks a carefully curated selection of sustainable fashion from Nordic brands.
Looking for a statement shoe? Look no further than this playful brand founded in East London by Galician-born Laura Villasenin just over a decade ago. Laura’s mission was to experiment with shape, colour and material without sacrificing quality or wearability – and the brand is known for its bold vision that draws inspiration from the cinema, the Surrealists and retro fashion. While the design magic happens in East London, the materials are sourced from Spain and Italy, and each pair of shoes is crafted in Alicante, Spain, which has a history of shoemaking that dates back to the 19th century.
Since 1973, Martinelli has been creating footwear for both men and women that celebrates elegance and sophistication. The brand is known for fine leatherwork and elegant styles, as well as surprisingly high comfort. Each pair is designed with a soft insole, optimised cushioning and a flexible sole, and the women’s Comfort range of high heels features a gel insole for added support. Buying a pair of shoes for a special event, such as a wedding? There’s also the opportunity to have the insole of the shoe customised with names and dates to commemorate the occasion.