Watch the Making of Brogues in the Philippines' Shoe Capital

See how the local craftsmen of Sapatero do it.
IMAGE Mark Jesalva

Recent years have seen the resurgence of Filipino shoemaking. Several local labels have rediscovered and reframed the craft here in the Philippines, touting brogues and oxfords and loafers and more, all made the old-fashioned way, by Filipino craftsmen.

One such shoemaker is Sapatero, which offers ready-to-wear, made-to-order, and bespoke shoes of superior quality; all out of Marikina, the shoe capital of the Philippines. One could even argue that Sapatero led the charge for local shoemakers, as among the first of this new wave to break into a more mainstream appreciation for Filipino handcrafted shoes. That was precisely their goal: to restore the local industry, and then, push it to new heights.

"When we first started, the main mission was to bring back shoemaking in the Philippines. And it still is," says JR Jader, co-owner and managing director of Sapatero. "Somehow, seeing as a lot of shoe brands have been popping up in recent years, the mission is slowly starting to be fulfilled. It's also a good sign that more and more Filipinos are starting to support homegrown brands, and are being more discerning in terms of the material, construction, durability of their shoes."

But while Sapatero proudly proclaims its Filipino heritage, Jader's sights are set beyond Marikina and being an excellent shoemaker in the Philippines. He wants to eschew the disclaimers of locality and for Sapatero to be known as an excellent shoemaker, period. "In the near future, we plan on expanding outside the Philippines. We plan on meeting with and studying under world-renowned shoemakers," he says. "We always aim to be a standard of quality footwear not just in our home country, but also throughout the world."


The brand's ambitions aren't as far-off as you might assume. Sapatero's craftsmen are already some of the more skilled in the local industry, and among the few shoemakers in the Philippines who still practice the traditional method of hand welting. To make the shoes, they use some of the finest calfskins and naturally tanned leathers from renowned tanneries in France, Italy, and England. Great attention is paid to quality, which is of paramount importance when it comes to shoes.

And while it would suffice to say that their shoes are made well, it's also fun to see it for yourself. That's why we took a peek into their workshop to see how a pair of Sapatero shoes are made. Check it out:




For more information, check out Sapatero on Facebook and Instagram: @sapateromanila, or visit Sapatero at any of the following areas:

Suit it Up Manila
L&R Building, Arnaiz Avenue, Makati
9:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Mondays to Saturdays, strictly by appointment

Felipe And Sons
El Pueblo Real de Manila, Julia Vargas cor. ADB Avenue, Ortigas
11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Tuesdays to Saturdays

Felipe And Sons
122 LPL Mansion, San Agustin Street, Salcedo Village, Makati
11:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m., Tuesdays to Saturdays

For inquiries, contact 0919-524-8259.

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