By Andrew Atkinson

The coronovirus pandemic has hit the shoe manufacturing industry – with 90 per cent of companies seeing their sales fall, due to COVID-19.

Footwear in the Valencian Community has felt the effects of COVID-19 emphatically, with the province of Alicante losing 2,300 companies since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Concerns are also cited with the uncertainty of tax tariffs imposed, particularly in America.

Amid a study being carried out, 90% of companies in the footwear or its auxiliary industry have seen a reduction in turnover as a result of the coronavirus.

A study of the impact of coronavirus on industrial companies by The Minister of Economy, Rafa Climent, the head of the Polytechnic University of Valencia, Elías Seguí-Más, and the general director of Sustainable Economy, Josep Soler report the footwear industry turnover decreased significantly.

Almost 50 per cent of footwear industry businesses are set to continue to decline with further job losses forecast.

On a positive note Spain is in a position to step out of the COVID-19 hit shoe market being a shoe-making country that could match Italy for number of shoe manufacturers and quality brands.

Up until recent years, prior to the euro-dollar exchange rate shifted dramatically, quality shoes in Spain were significantly cheaper, than in America.

The Federación de Industrias del Calzado Español (FICE) highlights the national presence of Spanish shoemakers.

The major industrial areas for footwear production in Spain have been Elche, Elda, Villena, all in Alicante, and the Community of Valencia, and regions including: Almansa and Fuensalida (Castile-La Mancha), Arnedo (La Rioja), Mallorca and Menorca (Balearic Islands); Illueca (Aragon) and Valverde del Camino (Andalusia).

The most famous shoe designer to come out of Spain is Manolo Blahnik for women. Carrie Bradshaw in Sex in the City made his shoes famous, through her shopping obsession with them. Born on the Canary Islands – his mother is Spanish – he moved away and today the brand is based in the USA.

Established fashionable Spanish shoe brands amongst higher-end shoe labels are: Paco Gil (women’s, Elda in Alicante). Brenda Zaro (women’s). Barrats 1890 (men’s, Mallorca). Pons Quintana (women’s, Menorca). Carmen Poveda (women’s, Alicante). Farrutx (men’s, Alicante). Martinelli (men’s and women’s, Alicante). Pedro Miralles (women’s, Alicante).

Also recognised Spanish shoe brand is Camper (Mallorca). Camper was the result of a younger generation shoemaker, Fluxá, from a long line of shoemakers, who branched off from the family business and begin a national, and later international, brand.

Shoe label, Lottusse (men’s, Mallorca), is also from Fluxá family. Camper is one of many Spanish brands starting to show the ‘Hecho en España‘ – Made in Spain label – showing pride in the country’s impressive shoe industry. Spanish footwear brand Looky, inspired by women passionate about fashion, comfort and quality Made in Menorca (Balearic islands, Spain) and the mid-range the list includes: Pikolinos (men’s and women’s, Alicante); Panama Jack (adventure footwear, Alicante); Zinda (women’s, Elche); Hispanitas (shoes and bags, Alicante); Pielsa (men’s and women’s nautic footwear, Toledo); Callaghan (part of the Grupo Hergar, in Arnedo, self-proclaimed “Ciudad del calzado”); Lodi (women’s, Elda); Gadea Shoes by Lodi (women’s, Elda); Looky (women’s, Menorca); Vulladi (home-wear and children’s, Elche); Patricia Miller (women’s).

Magrit (women’s, Elda), Amante (women’s, Elda) and Ángel Infantes (men’s, Albacete in Castilla-La Mancha).

Wonders can find in its soles say ‘Made with love in Spain’. Noted are 24 horas (Elche); Snipe (ecological shoes, Valencia); La Cadena (Munilla, La Rioja); Valverde del Camino, Tejus (Alicante); Segarra (boots, Castellón); Victoria (urban shoes, in particular ‘bambas‘ or ‘zapatillas’ (Logroño).

Spanish shoe traditions amongst the most established and increasingly exported Spanish style of footwear are menorquinas sandals, or abarca de Menorca.