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In 1933, the construction of the first Portuguese sneaker brand began in São João da Madeira, at Companhia Industrial de Chapelaria. In honor of the city that gave it birth, it receives the name of Sanjo, being established in 1936. Our history begins there, in the center of the Portuguese industry. Made entirely in Portugal, in the late 40's and 50's they were already a phenomenon and were found on the feet of all Portuguese people.
It was not until 1944 that the Sanjo factory was finally built, becoming autonomous and allowing a more serious and dedicated production of footwear. We are in the Estado Novo era - with laws preventing importation, 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 became the official footwear of a country - a brand that shaped Portuguese identity and design.
In the 50s, 60s and 70s, Sanjo became indispensable in the world of sports - we were able to find the sneakers throughout the entire history of sports photography in Portugal. Despite their special bond with their hometown team, the Sanjoanense football team, they were a brand 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 leading 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 competition are starting to be visible - despite trying to change its design and adapt, 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, along with Sanjo and the sad loss of the shoe mould.
In 1997, the brand is purchased and, under new management, begins its second life. A lot of research work was done, delving into archives, collecting old shoes and old pictures and photographs to get material needed to reproduce the lost Sanjo mold. 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 made the brand start heading to China - it was a necessary step to keep the sneakers as similar as possible to what they were before, in their golden age, with the vulcanized sole and upper. canvas. Insured by a very Portuguese revival, the brand begins to emerge again in the memory of the Portuguese.
In 2019, Sanjo is acquired by a business group from Braga. With a young and dynamic new team, the focus became on bringing Sanjo back home. The process of having an entirely Portuguese production begins and, working with a factory in Felgueiras, Sanjo becomes once again made in Portugal. The vulcanized sole was lost, introducing a glued sole with greater environmental awareness, while maintaining the typical rubber and canvas so striking of Sanjo, which followed generations. It is to this generational work that we intend to continue building more than a simple sneaker - building a legacy. Sanjo didn't just come back - it came back and came back with the desire to grow, evolve and continue to write a story at the feet of the Portuguese.