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In 1933, the construction of the first Portuguese sneaker brand began in São João da Madeira, at the Companhia Industrial de Chapelaria. In honor of the city that gave birth to it, it receives the name of Sanjo, being established in 1936. That is where our history begins, in the center of Portuguese industry. Manufactured entirely in Portugal, in the late 40s and 50s they were already a phenomenon and were found on the feet of all Portuguese people.
It was only in 1944 that the Sanjo factory was finally built, becoming autonomous and allowing for more serious and dedicated footwear production. We are in the era of the Estado Novo - with laws that prevented imports, folklore and popular art became the basis of the advertising program, celebrating the uniqueness of Portugal's artistic and cultural expression, which extended to visual identity and design . We live in the golden age of Sanjo, they become the official footwear of a country - a brand that has shaped Portuguese identity and design.
In the 50s, 60s and 70s, Sanjo became indispensable in the world of sport - we managed to find sneakers throughout the history of sports photography in Portugal. Despite their special bond with the team of their hometown, the Sanjoanense soccer team, they were present in many other sports teams. With all the inspiration and exponential growth of their industry in Portugal, they continued to grow and adapt, becoming the main sports footwear brand in Portugal.
With the end of the regime in 1974, Portuguese markets were opened and import barriers began to be lifted. The effects of the competition are beginning to be visible - despite trying to change its design and adapting, looking for fields other than sport, Sanjo cannot compete with the rise of international sports brands. Companhia Industrial de Chapelaria closed its doors in 1996, together with Sanjo and the sad loss of the shoe mold.
In 1997, the brand is purchased and, under new management, its second life begins. A lot of research work has been done, investigating archives, collecting old shoes and old images and photographs to get the material needed to reproduce the lost mold of the Sanjo. In 2010 Sanjo returns to the market with the two most familiar models of the Portuguese, K100 and K200. The impossibility of producing vulcanized soles in Portugal meant that the brand started towards China - it was a necessary step to keep the sneakers as similar as possible to what they were before, in its golden age, with the vulcanized sole and the upper part. canvas. Held by a very Portuguese revival, the brand begins to appear again in the memory of the Portuguese.
In 2019, Sanjo is acquired by a business group from Braga. With a young and dynamic team, the focus was on bringing Sanjo back home. The process of having a fully Portuguese production begins and, working with a factory in Felgueiras, Sanjo becomes again made in Portugal. The vulcanized sole was lost by introducing a glued sole with greater environmental awareness, keeping the typical Sanjo rubber and canvas still so striking that they have followed generations. It is this work of generation that we intend to continue building more than just a sneaker - building a legacy. Sanjo didn't just return - he returned and returned with the desire to grow, evolve and continue to write a story at the feet of the Portuguese.