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Handmade shoes…..Portuguese manufacturing, what else?

A couple of weeks ago, I received a very nice email from Sapataria do Carmo, an invitation to visit this unique and peculiar shop.

In the very known, elegant and trendy neighborhood of Chiado, a very old shop can be found at the romantic Largo do Carmo, nº 26. What makes this shop so special? It sells handmade shoes, exclusively manufactured in Portugal and with Portuguese design.

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Many people, Portuguese and foreign, know that Portuguese shoes have great quality. Shoes designed by the singer Rihanna are manufactured in two factories in the North of Portugal; another singer, Shakira also uses Portuguese shoes and even Princess Kate and her mother wore shoes manufactured in Portugal on Princess’s wedding.

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The shop was founded in 1904, more than a century ago, and belonged to Paulo da Cruz’s family for three generations.

But who makes part of Sapataria do Carmo nowadays? Alexandra – a former TV journalist from Romania, João – her husband that is an agronomist, Sofia – journalist and she is João’s sister and Denis – photographer and Sofia’s boyfriend. The shop was closed due to illness of the owner and this family of 4 was looking for a new opportunity, so they decided to put a note under the door, it was the end of February of 2012. None of them had experience whatsoever in shoe business.

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Some cleanings and paintings were made, however this little space kept the charming atmosphere. So when you enter, you will go back in time, till the 50’s, with red velvet sofas and old boxes stacked in shelves, where these unique shoes are kept.

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It seems that women, who buy their shoes in the shop, prefer oxford shoes (classical style shoes also called as men’s shoes) instead of shoes with heels. And that’s the correct choice if the shoes are going to be used on Lisbon’s streets, keep in mind the cobblestone (Calçada Portuguesa), which is not very fond of heel shoes.

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Women can find a mix of retro with colors and audacity of the new century. The brand Tokim continues to be sold but now it’s possible to find new brands like Shoes Closet. Regarding men, the timeless elegance remains in brands like Armando Silva and Mariano.

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If you are looking for high quality shoes with attractive and unique design and want an exclusive service, you should definitely pay a visit to this historic shop. You will be very well attended by one of the four family members.

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I got the chance to have more time with Alexandra and João and it was lovely to meet them. A very friendly and warm couple with whom I had a very good conversation. Thank you for welcoming me so well in your shop.

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This entry was posted on February 15, 2014 by and tagged , , , , , , , .

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