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Portuguese shoemakers refocus on casual footwear

Some companies in Portugal have changed to making casual footwear.

Image © SrdjanPavlovic |

After several months of very little production due to the COVID-19 lockdown, many companies working in Portugal’s footwear industry are having to cope with a change in direction. As a result of weddings being postponed, and parties and other social events being cancelled, manufacturers of high-end and fashion footwear have faced a substantial fall in demand.

Luís Onofre – celebrity shoe designer and current president of the Portuguese Footwear, Components and Leathergoods Manufacturers Association (APICCAPS) – has described March to May as a ‘scary period’, when his company’s production practically stopped. “I think that happened to the entire industry,” he added. “Seventy per cent of it stopped.”

Now, with the reopening of the country’s factories, a number of shoemakers are changing their production lines to manufacture casual, everyday footwear. Others have started to make plastic shoes destined for health workers, as well as PPE face coverings. Nevertheless, the pandemic is still causing problems for the new production model, with companies often reporting difficulties in obtaining raw materials and ongoing staff absenteeism due to health issues.

Despite the tough trading environment, some Portuguese manufacturers are said to be optimistic. They point to their diversity of products, markets and materials, as well as having good factories, professional members of staff, and a determination to succeed as putting them in ‘a very comfortable position’.

Publishing Data

This article was originally published on page 3 of the December 2020 issue of SATRA Bulletin.

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