Women’s leather shoes by Jose Saenz Shoes from Arnedo in La Rioja, Spain, have a very distinct style and attitude. Working in a shoe making town, side by side with well-respected shoe brands like Gaimo Espadrilles, Callaghan, and others, you have to stand out. Otherwise, why do it?
The family-run Jose Saenz Shoes was founded only ten years ago by Jose Saenz, an experienced and ambitious footwear industry professional. His design style is very clean and unadorned, the colors pure.
The “Gloria” sandal above features sleek, glossy red leather, metallic zipper, and a natural rubber sole. The silvery grey stripes on the heel look like layers of solidified metallic dust. A very cool embellishment, without the slightest hint of “cutesiness”.
Jose Saenz Shoes style is about confidence, independent fashion sense, and physical well-being. In order to make movement as comfortable as possible, the designers choose materials that are both strong and light. Some materials have been around for a long time, some are of recent development. The brand owns several technological patents. Only genuine high-quality leather is used.
Jose Saenz has a balanced portfolio of both summer and winter collections.
This past winter I decided that I needed to look for new winter boots that would a) be warm b) not be bulky c) be water proof d) look nice. That’s how I came across the “Paula” boot on the Jose Saenz Shoes website (see post here).
I now have a good-looking leather winter boot that is also water proof! How awesome is that? The brand owns the patent for the water proof technology:
The lining of the boot is made from really soft and fluffy textile fibers. I love the feel of it.
I look forward to a stylish winter, and to walking without feeling that I have pounds and pounds of weight attached to my feet.
Back to the current, Spring-Summer 2016, collection:
The surface of the sandal is as smooth as a mirror. It is not typical patent leather though – its glossiness has a transparent quality to it, like the glaze in the oil paintings by the famous Dutch masters.
The “Clara” sandal comes in many variations. I chose this pinkish beige one. It has beautiful golden colored metallic detailing, like the one-piece double side buckle. The most interesting part is the front leather piece, because of its unusual, eye-catching texture. I’ve noticed that leather surface textures are somewhat of a Jose Saenz specialty. I love the fact that some textures are pure “fantasy” – they don’t exactly reproduce the look of animal or reptile skin.
The upper of the “Pilar” wedge mule is made of eye-pleasing bronze-colored metallic full-grained leather. The wedge looks like a rope espadrille type dyed white. In reality, the wedge is made out of light-weight rubber, with strips of synthetic rope glued on for a slightly rustic effect. Jose Saenz does not use actual jute rope wedges for their women’s leather shoes. The designers consider them too heavy.
The spotty pattern of the leather on this wedge is absolutely lovely and also very original. Women’s leather shoes with polka dot patterns are a dime a dozen, but this one is different. The leather itself has a beautifully textured surface as well. There are several other models that have this pattern (a mule, sandals, and a ballerina flat). No wonder! It is a real hit. Like in the previous model, the wedge is high-quality rubber with stylized synthetic rope-like strips on the outside.
I love the colors on these pumps. And the leather, of course.
This picturesque sandal with the visible brush strokes on the leather reminds me of a modern art painting. Very cool to look at.
There are many more models like this available from the Jose Saenz online shop and the Montreal-based Chaussures Leclerc online shop. Jose Saenz recently started to ship their women’s leather shoes to North America, for a flat fee of 40 Euros. It takes only a couple of days. The price point of women’s leather shoes by Jose Saenz is moderately high, with summer models costing around 100 Euros and winter models up to 150 Euros. The brand website has regular sales and promotions, so keep an eye out for those.
Through my conversations with Fran Saenz, one of the owners, I’ve come to understand the brand mentality better. One of the questions I had for Fran was: “Why the Little Red Riding Hood and the Wolf?”. The answer surprised me. Turns out the wolf represents the brand and the Little Red Riding Hood the competitors.
Fran explained the meaning behind this: like the wolf, Jose Saenz Shoes is hungry, hungry for success. This makes total sense. You’ve got to be, if you believe in yourself and your product. This is entrepreneurial spirit at its best!
Despite it being relatively young, the brand has already achieved a lot. Women’s leather shoes by Jose Saenz are popular within Spain, with many bloggers writing about them, and the company is exporting the shoes to several European countries. It is only the matter of time until more women in North America get their hands on Jose Saenz Shoes.