A humble object becomes, at times, something so important to you that you assume it as your own, it makes part of you, accompanies you, takes care of you, and inspires you.
This is the story of how a pair of boots showed me the way I had to go.
Developing a strong bond with the boots
As a child I always saw the boots on my grandfather's feet, and I was fascinated by how leather acquired personality over time. As they aged their texture seemed more and more interesting to me. Some parts of the boot were worn more than others, others were scratched by some rock or branch in the field, and the tips were toasted with the heat of the fireplace in winter.
The boots that my grandfather wore were the shoes of the working class of the 50s in Portugal, so they were sturdy, they were work boots, the shoes of the shepherds and farmers, of masons and technicians, of workers...
During my adolescence, I found in this type of boots an element with which I identified myself. In the 80s this footwear formed, in some way, part of the uniform of the Portuguese counterculture. The artists and bohemians, some intellectuals and political activists, chose this model of traditional Portuguese boot to claim their roots and their ability to innovate society and culture of my country.
However, in the 90s, the traditional leather work boots stopped being fashionable, and the mass commercialization of footwear manufactured in an industrial way, practically led to the extinction of the craft workshops where they were originally manufactured.
I kept using my boots, even if they weren’t fashionable.
I never liked the throwaway consumption, nor have I paid much attention to fashion and trends. I am one of those who prefer to be governed by the authenticity and quality of things. For that reason, I continued using my boots, although they were not fashionable.
All my universe of experiences has been reflected in the leather of the boots, and together we moved to live in Barcelona. There, people payed a lot of attention to them and they constantly asked me where they could get some. Unfortunately, fewer and fewer places were available, but ...
Then I had a vision: to manufacture the boots myself, in Portugal, with the same artisan methods of the time, and maintaining its original appearance, but using natural and recycled materials of the highest quality to guarantee the minimum impact on the environment.
From the fields to the streets, from the idea to the brand
The boots showed me the destiny, and together we walked every step of the way until I turned my idea into a brand: Urban Shepherds.
Well handcrafted in Portugal
It was very inspiring to visit the old workshops that had crafted leather boots since the 1950s. Some of them have already accumulated four family generations working in the footwear industry.
The original Urban Shepherds
It was very interesting to talk with the people who were asking me about the boots, they were the trigger for all this. They were curiously disparate people, with different lives, and who imagined themselves wearing boots while doing very different activities, in the countryside or in the city. However, all of them shared two fundamental values: they were people of free spirit, deeply rooted in nature; and they were consumers whom I respected, who valued the authenticity and quality of what they bought.
The Barcelona Store
It was very exciting to find a place in the heart of “El Borne” in the center of Barcelona perfect to be the house of the brand. And it was even more important to work with my friend Martin in the refurbish needed in that shabby commercial establishment, to become the luminous and cozy shop that it is today.
The Online Store
It was fascinating to note that tourists who walk the streets of Barcelona are deeply attracted to our boots and enter the store to try on them, chat with me, and take their pair.
And it is absolutely encouraging to see how since we have launched the online store we are expanding the spirit of Urban Shepherds around all corners of the world.
The brand is growing, and I couldn't be happier!
Like you, everyday new adventurous souls feel courage enough to: choose their own paths, and walk them wearing a pair of US Boots. A bigger family of happy customers who deserve the best service.
The US team has grown too!
Now Julia, Lucía and Paul have also joined the family to help me better manage the brand. And I am very exited about all their contributions.
From pictures to client's service, we are all working to make your US experience as good as possible. And we really hope you are enjoying it!