The first function of shoes is unquestionably to protect the feet. Footwear can take many forms, such as boots, shoes, sandals or espadrilles. But footwear, in addition to protecting the foot, influences hygiene and also plays an ornamental role.
In Spain, the footwear industry has played an important role for years. The area where most of the Spanish footwear is manufactured is Vinalopó Valley, in Alicante. Other important areas are Fuensalida in Toledo, Arnedo in La Rioja and the Balearic Islands. In this last area, the Mallorcan city of Inca and the towns of Menorca play an important role.
In this article we tell you about its history and its manufacturing process.
About 15,000 years ago, prehistoric men invented the first shoes. In order to protect their feet from the cold and the ice, they covered them with a piece of animal fur and tied it with a rope.
Since that day, footwear has not stopped being part of our life. It is an element that has undergone many changes over the years. For instance, there have been times in history when people wore boots with a spiraled, lifted tip.
Footwear is a reflection of culture. For example, the Egyptians used a sort of espadrilles made of palm or papyrus bark. However, the Greeks wore high coturns that reached the calf and were simple soles tied with ribbons and straps that would later be adapted by the Romans.
Throughout the whole Middle Age the footwear would undergo great modifications. Shoes with a finished tip were deemed as fashionable, to the point of wearing them with a twisted tip, to reflect the high social class of the person wearing them.
The Renaissance would bring a new tendency which consisted in wearing excessively wide shoes. During the Baroque era the shoe became a reflection of the aesthetic tastes of the time: lines, curves, embroidery, silk, velvet, bridles and loops. It is during this time when heels appear and interestingly enough, women were not the first to wear them.
The first one to wear heels was Luis XIV the Sun King so he could hold on to the stirrups better when riding. Far from the current mentality, not only did they represent power and privilege, but also masculinity at the time.
With the arrival of the Industrial Revolution, the world of footwear took a radical turn and shoe size appeared for the first time as they began to be mass manufactured. At the end of the century there was already a consolidated and mechanized industry of factories that reached over a 1,000 workers.
Ever since, footwear has been changing with the evolution of culture and will continue to adapt to the needs of its customers.
The manufacturing of footwear had been carried out in an artisanal way since the beginning of history. Despite the manufacturing boom during the Roman era, the processes continued to be artisanal. The mass production of this element did not occur until the Industrial Revolution.
However, both the artisanal and industrial manufacturing still follow the same steps.
Steps for the manufacturing of footwear
- Select leather or materials.
- Cut according to the contour and shape that the pieces must form.
- The reduction of the pieces, mainly of leather.
- Garnish: Sew cut parts.
- Mounted (also called centered): Using a last, which serves as a standing model, when fitting the parts of the shoe (toe or shovel, heel, sole, etc.).
- Encasement: Introduction of shoes in cardboard boxes.
Although the steps in both processes are the same, the manufacturing time, the material used or the quality of the product does not have to be the same. There are some clear differences between the artisan and industrial process that you should know about.
Artisan process: The artisanal process is a manual production in which sophisticated technology is not used. Made in a small family workshop, high-quality natural materials are generally used, and in some cases chemical and industrial processes of many kinds are also used to make them.
Industrial process: Here, the cutting is done in three different ways or methods. In addition to using a manual tool to cut the leather with a pattern (usually hard cardboard, or a steel sheet), cutting machines are also used. Another current and modern method is computerized cutting which uses software for the configuration and location of the pieces in the leather. The instructions are given just like when printing, only instead of placing dots of ink, it makes cutting stitches with a blade or laser.
Another difference is within the trim, which is made with sewing machines, similar to those used in the textile industry. However, the most mechanized part of the footwear sector might be the mounting. The shoes go through drawers that circulate on an iron track (at the height of the worker) and each worker is doing each part of the manufacturing process using a machine.
Types of footwear
MENS FOOTWEAR SIZE
WOMENS FOOTWEAR SIZE
The shoes of Mallorca
The Balearic footwear industry continues to expand, but in many cases it produces outside of Mallorca. Even so, footwear companies have conserved their origins, clinging strongly to this Mallorcan artisanal approach, using it as one of its key promotion points.
The company, founded by Miquel Llompart, is now in the hands of the fourth generation. They have stores in Inca, Palma, Madrid and Georgia.
If you are talking about expansion, Camper, founded in 1975 by Lorenzo Fluxà (the grandson of Mestre Fluxà) gets first place. It has stores all over the planet.
Ballco, the Calzados Ballester brand that has been making shoes since 1966, recalls on its webpage that it is still located in Inca, a region known as “the city of leather”.
In the Balearic Islands, specifically in Menorca, we must not forget the influence of Mascaró, who from the beginnings in Ferreries in 1951 to the present, has diversified its offerings.
All these brands can be found in the footwear industry of Spain. However, the online sale of these shoes is not as big. Camper, Tony Mora, Vidal Boots, Cabrit, Ballco and Yanko are some that have been released for online sale.
So, as we can see, footwear has been changing with the evolution of culture and the footwear industry is a strong point in Spain. Spanish footwear brands, such as those featured on the island of Mallorca, are known worldwide.
If after knowing this high point of the island, you are looking for a second home to enjoy the Mallorcan culture and life, contact Dompick. We can help you find your next perfect home.