Made in Portugal
At Sneaky Steve, shoes are our passion and we love working with producers that feel as passionate about the craft as we do. That’s why we produce our shoes together with small scale, family owned factories in Felgueiras, Portugal where they have a long history and a rich tradition of shoemaking. To us, this means an assurance of high quality while also being one of the most important aspects in our quest for sustainability. Producing shoes in Portugal has made it possible for us to build close and long lasting relationships. We visit the factories 3-4 times every year and it gives us full insight into the process, the working conditions and the choice of materials.
When we say Felgueiras is the town where all of our production is located, we mean all of it! Everything that goes into our production is found within a 10 km radius. Leather, suede, soles, shoelaces, eyelets and even our shoeboxes are made right here. This is important to us because it ensures the smallest possible environmental impact. Also, the factories and leather tanneries we work with are exclusively those that lives up to the demands of the REACH and The Leather Working Groups regulations. Europe-based production also makes the path from production to market shorter and we can make sure the shoes are transported with freight companies that complies with the EU:s guidelines for emissions and working conditions.
Everything starts with pencil and paper. At Magasinsgatan in Gothenburg, Sweden, the city where Sneaky Steve was born, every new style is still being drawn by hand in pencil by our Queen Designer Sara-Lotta. She’s been designing shoes this way for Sneaky Steve for over 10 years now.
“Shoes is something I have a genuine interest in. I can’t quite put my finger on why but shoes never get boring. Without that fundamental interest I would never have been able to do this year after year.” Says Sara-Lotta
When the sketches are ready, we send them to the factory in Felgueiras where they produce samples which are sent back. With the samples at hand, the real work begins.
“From here on out, me and the factory work closely together towards the final result. The collaboration with the factories is extremely important for a great end result. If we’re not on the same level, it just doesn’t work. Luckily, we’re now working with factories that understands where we’re coming from and what we want. It doesn’t hurt that we also have a really good time together.”
The overall Sneaky Steve design has a big focus on details and finish and making these shoes with the level of quality we strive for is not possible without a trained eye and a real sense of craftsmanship. There are a lot of steps that a machine simply can’t do well enough and therefore requires the talent of a skilled craftsman. That’s why Portugal suits us perfectly, their history of shoemaking and the pride they take in their work is really important for the end product.
It’s of great importance for us that our producers, beyond their level of skill, also share our values. One of our main factories, whose production includes making our iconic style Crasher, hold sustainability as one of their most important core values. One of the owners tells us that he has no doubts whatsoever about sustainability being the future of shoe production and that they are more than ready for it. Today, they only use water based glue in combination with cleaning by UV light and they’ve invested big in their own recycling plant in order to minimize spills and reuse as much materials as possible. All errands to and from the factory is made with electric cars and they have plans of becoming self sufficient with their electricity through solar panels.
We are always striving towards making our production as sustainable as possible and although production in Portugal is a big part of that, we also make smaller choices with big consequences such as using alternatives to leather in parts of the shoes that are less visible. By switching to microfiber on the inside of a lot of the shoes we’ve been able to reduce our use of leather by half. Microfiber is a material with a lot of advantages, for example being 100% recyclable, 100% breathable, has a long lif is water resistant and looks and feels like leather.
“To us, high quality is not just a product that feels and look great. To us, high quality is a pair of shoes that will last a long time and age beautifully and with grace.” Says Måns, founder and CEO of Sneaky Steve
One of the most important choices we can all make is to buy products with the intention of using them for a long time. That’s what quality means to us.