The Shoemaking Capital

Often referred to as the “shoemaking capital of the world”, León’s footwear industry dates back to at least 1645. Nearby cattle ranches provided the city's inhabitants with ample leather to design and create finished goods. Many artisans from Spain, Argentina, and Italy migrated to León over the centuries, bringing the best shoemaking practices with them. León has flourished as result. Today, the city holds 3,394 shoe manufacturers, 388 leather goods manufacturers, 300 suppliers and 696 tanneries. Shoes are to León what motors are to Detroit.

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The Guy for the Job

Our close friend Nick relocated from New York to México eight years ago. Since heading south, Nick’s amassed an expansive collection of custom shoes. After a few beers on most recent US visit, Nick spilled the beans and finally revealed the source of all the handsome wears: Hugo Fonce.

Hugo Fonce is an industrial designer and shoe maker in León, México. He’s spent the last few decades building one of the finest factories in the region. A few months ago, we got Hugo on the phone to discuss a shoe & boot partnership. The conversation touched on everything from goodyear welts to fair trade labor. We left that call convinced that Hugo was our man.

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