Portuguese Shoes Find Their Way to 173 Countries

Photo: Carmo Amorim
Shoes: Calçado Penha

The Portuguese footwear industry currently exports more than 90% of its production. As a result, 76 million pairs of shoes are sold in more than 170 countries on five continents.

European markets such as Germany, France, and the Netherlands are at the forefront; Spain and the UK also stand out in this geographical space. But Portuguese footwear also reaches countless other countries, including Anguilla, Madagascar, Liberia and Zimbabwe, the last four stamps in the passport of Portuguese companies.

The sector has made considerable efforts to diversify the markets to which it exports its products. While Europe accounted for 93% of total exports in 2012, exports to non-EU countries represented 18% of the sector’s total exports in 2022.

In this context, the US is the market where Portuguese footwear has grown the most.

Portuguese footwear is highly regarded in foreign markets for several reasons, according to Luís Onofre. Right from the start, “Portugal is home to one of the most renowned footwear clusters in the world. Thanks to its responsiveness, quality and excellent service, Portugal exports 80 million pairs of shoes a year to all parts of the world”, emphasizes the President of APICCAPS. The head of the association also points out that “the country is one of the 20 safest countries in the world in which to do business”. In addition, “the Portuguese industry is constantly evolving and wants to be an international benchmark in the development of sustainable solutions”. The sector is currently investing 140 million euros in automation, digitalisation and sustainability.

What’s more, “Portugal benefits from a unique geographical location that makes it easy to reach Central Europe by land, while its long Atlantic coast favours long-haul trade operations”. Finally, hospitality. “Portugal isn’t just a business partner. It’s a country that stands out for its hospitality, its unique gastronomy and its extraordinary landscape”, says Luís Onofre.

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