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sheepskin boots

Sheepskin Boots from Spain

Sheepskin boots stand for warmth and comfort in the winter. As far as style is concerned, the situation varies. Is it ultimately possible to have your cake and eat it too? In short, are there good-looking high-quality sheepskin boots out there? The answer is a resounding “yes”!

Spanish Sheepskin Boots

Where do they make good-looking and reliable sheepskin boots? If you guessed Australia, you are only partly right. Excellent sheepskin boots for both men and women are also designed and made in Spain. Spain’s involvement with sheep goes centuries back, to the times when Mesta, a powerful association of sheep ranchers, overrode everyone in the kingdom to secure never-to-expire rights-of-way for their sheep. Some of these grazing paths are now city streets. Sheep farmers still drive their sheep through these paths on occasion, just to remind everyone of this remarkable privilege.

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Igloo” sheepskin lined lace-up boot by Panama Jack.

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The “Igloo” sheepskin boot is available on Spartoo.

Here is a classic mustard yellow waterproof napa leather laced boot by Panama Jack. Panama Jack belongs to the Valencian group of Spanish shoe manufacturers. The company is based in Elche, province of Alicante.

Panama Jack is a brand that caters to adventurers and explorers of all kinds: from the humble weekend hiker to the intrepid glacier-climbing types. Panama Jack sheepskin boots are very well reviewed for their foot-friendly construction and warmth. The boots are waterproof and the all-terrain natural rubber sole makes them very safe.

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The anatomy of Panama JackIgloo” sheepskin boot in vintage napa (mustard yellow).

Personally, I am not a fan of the mustard yellow color, in shoes or otherwise, but lots of people don’t seem to mind. I am seeing a lot of mustard yellow hiking boots out there. Panama Jack started producing their shoes in 1989. I don’t know if the boots I’m noticing on the streets here are knock-offs or actual Panama Jacks. Of course, Panama Jacks make a whole lot of sense for North America, as we get a lot of snow, ice, sleet, and other pleasures of winter. We all can use a pair of sheepskin water-proof Panama Jacks.

Here is my personal favorite:

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Piola” low-heel sheep-fleece lined boot by Panama Jack. 169 Euros from Pablo Ochoa Shoes.

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This Panama Jack boot can be styled in two different ways. Available from Pablo Ochoa Shoes.

This cognac-colored sheepskin fur lined boot looks super toasty. A classic preppy style winter boot, it goes amazing with denim.

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Fold-over sheepskin-lined ankle boot by Panama Jack.

I also really like this style:

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Felia” sheepskin lined short boot by Panama Jack.

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This stylish grey nubuck boot by Panama Jack is also waterproof.

Where To Get Spanish Sheepskin Boots

Panama Jack does not seem to have direct online sales to North America, but many other online shoe retailers do. Places like  Shoes International and Spartoo have worldwide delivery. There is also Pablo Ochoa Shoes, a Spanish online retailer, which stocks a good selection of Panama Jack sheepskin boots, like the gorgeous “Piola” fold-over boot above, as well several other styles. North American customers can order by email.

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Ankle Boots – Embellished or Plain?

Ankle boots are the city dweller’s best friend in the colder months, easily switching from outside to inside, from sporty wear to fancy wear. Whether the ankle boot is embellished or plain does make a difference – the embellished ones are obviously more visually exciting, but the plain ones are easier to combine with different outfits. I picked out two sets of ankle boots, designed and made in Spain: one embellished, one plain, by four great, reputable Spanish brands. Let’s take a closer look!

Embellished Ankle Boots

RAS Shoes

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Stud-embellished mid-heel ankle boot by RAS Shoes FW16-17.

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RAS Shoes embellished ankle boots.

I simply couldn’t resist including this gold studded ankle boot by RAS. The brand really wrote the textbook on embellished shoes. I’ve raved about over-the-top fantasy designs by RAS many times on this blog.  This mid-heel ankle boot from the current collection is decked out in several rows of  round gold-colored metallic studs, both solid and hollow, varying in size. The variance in size and style is what makes this whole thing work: otherwise, it is very easy to overdo it with studs or to fall into a rocker boot cliché. The shiny studs also bring out the sheen in the high-quality large-grained leather.

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The Chelsea-boot version. From the RAS Shoes Fall-Winter 16-17

How to style them is another question, but all black seems to be the simplest solution. No other pattern, color or monochrome, could successfully compete with this boot’s flashy studdedness. A solid color top, red or another strong color, would work with black pants or skirt and a black jacket. These ankle boots are definitely a statement piece, suited for many settings except the office.

The boot is not currently available to purchase from the RAS online shop, unfortunately. RAS shoes are mainly available in Europe, Asia, and Australia. If you are in one of those parts of the world, you can use the Store Finder feature on the brand’s website to find a shop stocking this gold-studded wonder in your area. The price is likely to be in the high 200s (Euros).

NOTE: RAS Shoes are not suitable for normal to wide or wide feet.

Neon Boots

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Jagger Walker Chelsea-style ankle boot by Neon Boots. 199 Euros on the Neon Boots website.

This platform ankle boot by Neon Boots does not feature any extra detailing, but in my eyes, the use of textured leather does qualifies as an embellishment. The metallic python-effect leather in the back contrasts beautifully with the black suede in the front. The two halves are connected by the silver colored elastic. This Chelsea-style boot also gets some additional wow points for the crimson leather lining.

The platform gives it height, without sacrificing the comfort. After all, they are called “Walker” for something!

Now, how well do these ankle boots style? Well, they would go well with both black and light colored jeans, but they wouldn’t work as well with blue jeans. A denim skirt might work, on the other hand. The silver-colored reptile print and gleaming white rubber sole equal a pretty wide choice of tops and jackets, as long as they are not too formal. NOTE: A Chelsea-boot is NOT a formal boot (for a complete run-down on the Chelsea-boot by Franchomme of the popular Attire Club blog you can also go here).

Plain Ankle Boots

Martinelli

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Yua” suede ankle boot by Martinelli.

This ultra-feminine, ultra-elegant medium heel suede ankle boot by Martinelli is perfection itself. The company designers call this style the “Belle Époque” – a French term that nostalgically describes a peaceful and prosperous period in Western European history, from the 1870s to the beginning of the Great War of 1914. The enigmatically named “Yua” boot definitely represents a fine example of shoe making finesse. The elongated profile is absolutely lovely, the suede seamless, literally. The seams are all hidden and even the eyelets for the lacing are as understated as they go. The designers did their best to make this shoe appear as one beautiful piece, with the least distraction possible, a polar opposite of the RAS boot above.

Martinelli Laced Ankle Boot

Yua” suede lace up ankle boot by Martinelli.

Despite its Italian-sounding name, Martinelli is one of the most respected and loved Spanish dress shoe brands. In 2007 the brand ran into some financial troubles (as many other brands did, as well) and was bought by Pikolinos, a hugely successful Spanish casual shoes brand, with a distribution net all over the world. Martinelli became a gem in the Pikolinos crown. Under the Martinelli brand, Pikolinos continues to produce the same classic dress shoes for women and men that Martinelli was always admired for.

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The “Yua‘ boot by Martinelli would add sophistication and class to practically any urban look.

In terms of styling, the “Yua” boot screams for a skirt and some nice tights – it would be a pity to hide its pretty profile. Of course, it would work great with pants too. Basically, it would work with any urban attire – slacks, jeans, any length skirt, everything except the “lumberjack look“.

The Martinelli online shop, operated by Pikolinos, does not deliver outside of Europe. In North America Martinelli shoes can be found at Nordstrom, though not online, as I found out. They fall into a medium-high price range. A small selection is also available at YOOX at good discounts. I think that the North American romance with Martinelli shoes is only beginning.

Spiffy

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Taupe suede ankle boots by Spiffy. Made in Spain.

Taupe suede ankle boots are everywhere this season. I’m in downtown Toronto quite frequently and I see so many women out there sporting those soft looking, neutral color boots. Taupe is the ultimate neutral. The ones above are made by a Spanish company called Spiffy (a quirky English word meaning “cute” in a well-appointed kind of sense). Spiffy is part of the Valencian group of Spanish shoe manufacturers. The company produces its shoes in Elche, a major shoe manufacturing hub in Alicante (Alicante is part of Valencia).

Their taupe ankle boots look comfy. The company boasts its own in-house comfort technology called the AutoClave System. They are also pretty spiffy, living up to the brand name.

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Handmade in Spain by Spiffy. 110 Euros on the Spiffy website for residents of Spain and France.

So here you go, four different boots by four different brands, all Spanish made. The number of looks you could create with them is virtually unlimited.

NOTE: Spiffy found out about the Spanishoegallery Blog through a blog post that was written about us by a successful Spanish shoe blogger Patricia Jorge, of the El Blog de Patricia !Quiero Esos Zapatos! (Patricia’s Blog: I Want Those Shoes). They contacted me and expressed interest in appearing on the blog. It’s always nice when that happens. As I liked the shoes, I was happy to oblige. Hopefully, I have an update on whether the shoes are sold in North America soon. The company’s online shop delivers only within France and Spain.

Embellished or Plain?

Preferably both, of course:), as both are great. However, I’m seeing that most women do prefer the plain ones. It is easier, no doubt. Life is busy, winter is chilly, you just want to blend in. However, if you can afford the flashy boot type, by all means, go for it. You will be doing us all a favor.

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Perfect Holiday Pump by Hannibal Laguna

End-of-the-year parties call for a perfect holiday pump. I’ve been checking out a lot of holiday-worthy pumps lately and the suede bow-embellished creations by Hannibal Laguna, a prominent Spanish fashion designer, come closest to what I imagine a perfect holiday pump should be like. From jewel tones and velvety texture to the sensuous shape, pretty heel, and fine detailing, the “Calen” pump ticks off all the boxes.

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Calen” suede pump by Hannibal Laguna in black and burgundy. Heel height: 6 cm (2.4”). 120 Euros at De Sobrecueva boutique. Photo courtesy of Begoña Romero Sobrecueva.

perfect holiday pump

Calen” suede pump by Hannibal Laguna in “eggplant red” and dark navy. Heel height: 2.4”. 120 Euros at De Sobrecueva boutique, Valencia, Spain. Photo courtesy of Begoña Romero Sobrecueva.

With its gorgeously curved silhouette and velvet-quality suede,  the “Calen” pump is drop-dead elegant. It comes in two colors – black and “eggplant red“. The classic black is greatly enlivened by the vibrant burgundy of the inner edge. The deep-red version has purple undertones, which explain the eggplant reference. The “eggplant red” is beautifully attenuated by the dark navy trimming.

What I Like About It

The two-tone design has an effect of breaking up the solid jewel tone, setting a playful, holiday-like mood. The embellishments in the shape of a bow-tie are both cheeky and fancy. The bow-tie in the red version has a festive snow-flake pattern, while the one in the black version looks like patent leather. What I also really like about the “Calen” pump is its heel height. It is high enough to give the pump a sexy profile, but low enough for hours of merrymaking and enjoyment. With the “Calen” pump you should be able to last long at any holiday party, without your feet feeling the pain.

perfect holiday pump

An Hannibal Laguna dress from the Fall-Winter 15-16 collection. Photo: Vogue Spain.

perfect holiday pump

An Hannibal Laguna dress from the Fall-Winter 15-16 collection. Photo: Vogue Spain.

perfect holiday pump

An Hannibal Laguna dress from the Fall-Winter 16-17 collection. Photo: Vogue Spain.

perfect holiday pump

An Hannibal Laguna dress from the Fall-Winter 15-16 collection. Photo: Vogue Spain.

The Designer

Hannibal Laguna was born in Venezuela to Spanish parents, owners of a successful children’s fashion brand (children’s fashion is another prolific and highly acclaimed sector of the Spanish clothing and shoe industry). Mr. Laguna launched his own fashion label back in 1987, after studying fashion in Milan. The designer became known for highly glamorous, exquisitely embellished evening wear in jeweled and metallic tones. Hannibal Laguna‘s creations are sought after by theater and film productions and numerous Spanish celebrities.

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Famous Spanish actress Paz Vega (“Spanglish”), wearing a Hannibal Laguna dress, poses with the designer himself at the 2010 Telva Magazine Fashion Awards in Madrid. Image source: Diario Femenino.

The shoes and accessories line is a relatively recent development. Some items of the current collection can be purchased on the Hannibal Laguna website. The full collection can be seen in his flagship store in Madrid‘s Golden Mile and in other high-end shoe boutiques all across Spain. The charming De Sobrecueva boutique in Valencia, featured here, carries a very complete collection of Hannibal Laguna shoes, including the “Calen“, the perfect holiday pump.

 

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Custom Shoes by Custom & Chic

Custom shoes are becoming a necessity in this increasingly personalized world. If you customize your kitchen, your car, your Internet browser, your smartphone settings, and countless other things, then why not customize your shoes? Shoes express your personality a lot more clearly than all of the above. Shoemakers have long understood that. Of course, in the olden times, any shoes of quality were custom made. Nowadays, in the “everything is mass-produced” world, having your shoes “made to order” is far from the rule, but custom shoes still have their place.

Magrit, a Spanish luxury shoemaker with a long and illustrious pedigree, specializes in “made to order” shoes. The company has a studio in Madrid, called “Magrit Couture“. It is located at Principe de Vergara 56, 1º 8 in Madrid‘s Salamanca district, famed for its luxury fashion boutiques. Companies like Magrit that have been around for a while have collections of tried-and-true shoe lasts. The shoe lasts then become the basis on which you can build your custom shoe. There are various degrees of “custom made“, of course. At the very top are those that are created according to your own personal shoe last that you get personally measured for. This is a great luxury and luxury comes at a great cost (except if you are a winner of “The Woman with the Best Shoes” contest, then you get the royal treatment absolutely free).

Custom Shoes by Custom & Chic

More recently, all over the world, new companies have sprung up that took the whole custom shoes business online. Spanish shoemakers, so long specialists in custom shoe design, came up with a few of their own. One of them, called Custom & Chic, was created only three years ago by two women entrepreneurs – Isabel Silvela and Macarena González Carretero from Andalusia. They designed a digital platform that makes ordering intuitive and easy, and the shoes themselves are manufactured in Elda, a very important Spanish shoe manufacturing hub. A Custom & Chic creation that captured my attention just recently was this T-strap pump, designed in collaboration with Juan Duyos, a prominent Spanish fashion designer:

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This Duyos and Custom & Chic creation was spotted gracing the feet of Raquel Sánchez Silva, a gorgeous Spanish TV presenter, while she was hosting Premious Onda, a Spanish TV and Radio awards show.

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Custom & Chic on the runway of a Duyos fashion show.

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I love three things about this pair: the exuberant crystal embellishments that look like an unwieldy bouquet of fresh country flowers, the exquisite faint pink of the suede, and the presence of a T-bar. I am a total T-bar junkie. As far as color choice is concerned, it turns out that the designer, Juan Duyos, was inspired by different shades of fine wines. The shoe in the picture above obviously resembles a rosé. A lovely association, and not a surprising one, as the Spanish love and know their wines.

Though young, Custom & Chic has already collaborated with a number of fashion designers, for whom the platform is a godsend: they can create any shoes they want for each of their collections.

How It Works

You have to register to be able to design your shoes. It is very simple and straightforward. The design process is also hassle-free. If you want to get some ideas before you start designing away, you can click on the “inspiration” shoe in the corner of the screen. This will take you to the designs that have been already created and ordered.

One thing: the website is in Spanish. But that’s what Google Translate is for!

This pair is my personal favorite:

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Nappa leather and glitter ankle-strap “Graciela” pumps by Custom & Chic. 230 Euros through the Custom & Chic website.

These “Graciela” pumps definitely have the WOW factor, plus a distinct “Dorothy” vibe to them. If I didn’t have an occasion to wear them, I would create it.

Some other shoes by Custom & Chic:

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Audrey” suede ballerina by Custom & Chic. 185 Euros on the Custom & Chic website.

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I just can’t help myself with these T-bars -“Erica” glitter and patent leather pump with a 6.5 cm heel. 230 Euros on the Custom & Chic website.

Custom & Chic offers a number of basic models to choose from. There are three pump styles: rounded toe (typical Spanish pump), peep-toe, and pointed toe, two ballerina flats: a classic and a scrunch, and two shoe-booties: one regular, and one peep-toe.

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The basic customizable models by Custom & Chic. All shoes are handmade in Spain.

 

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I’m inside, starting to design a T-Bar pump, my current obsession.

The design process is separated into four stages. Once I chose the basic style, I had to figure out whether I wanted any straps. Initially, I reached for the T-bar, but then changed my mind. I decided to design my own version of the classic Spanish pump, which I talk about here.

After that I got to decide on the heel height and whether or not I wanted a platform. Next, I had a choice of embellishments (bows, roses, and such) – decided against them. On the same page, you got to decide whether you want your custom shoes to have a trim or a bare cut. I chose the trimmed option. Then came the fun part: you get to choose colors and textures for four different elements of the shoe: main upper, trim, heel tip, and front edge. Materials include napa leather, satin and glitter fabrics. All very tempting, but I finally came up with this:

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The Spanishoegallery Pump designed using Custom & Chic design interface. Heel: 6.5 cm (2.6”).

Now all I have to do is buy it. Do you like the Spanishoegallery pump? I really like the fact that because you are a registered client, you get to store your digital custom shoe designs on the Custom & Chic website.

All in all, I love the way Custom & Chic does this custom shoes thing. Did I mention that they deliver worldwide?

 

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