Photography: Daniel Vázquez
Text: Nika Scheidemandel
Bob Dylan's famous song " Boots of Spanish Leather" composed in 1964 and twanged on a spanish acoustic guitar is really an homage to Andalusian boot making. The song describes a love affair and is an dialogue with his ex girlfriend Suze Rotolo who moved to Europe in the summer of 62 "Across the sea." When Bob realizes that she is not planning to come back to the US and that he cannot recover her love he asks her for a pair of spanish boots that she has sent to him by mail.
The boots are tailor-made especially for him in an Andalusian village and he falls in love with them instantly.
It shall become a lasting relationship.
In his song “Blackjack Davey”, composed 30 yeas later, these Andalusian Boots are the protagonists again. They have become of the same timeless style for him as his songs for his fans.
It is known that well made shoes and boots are best bought in Spain, but where do they really come from? And are they still handmade and artisan?
Kate Middleton, Cambridge is one of the many famous admirers of the boots that stem from Valverde de Camino, a small town close to Huelva and Portugal.
Her stylish hunting boots are handmade in Valverde since almost 10 years.
90 percent of the Valverde population lives from boot making and this has been the case for over 100 years.
Manuel C. is known to the best in the craft of traditional boot making and many international celebrities have travelled to his workshop to get their Valverde boots hand tailored and fitted to perfection by this savvy
His father Pepe designed many of the prototypes that have now become Valverde classics and have not changed their design since the 50’s.
May that be the rustic “Boto Campero” or the classical Valverde short boot that is now internationally known as the Chelsea boot.
The walls of this experienced shoemaker atelier are plastered with fading newspaper articles, showing Manuel with Bo Derek, Ursula Andress, Alain Proust and Jose Tomas, the famous torero among many others.
His former shoemaking assistant now works for the legendary, english shoemaker John Lobb (Hermes Paris is the owner of this traditional workshop since 1976) and personally took the measurements for Prince Charles riding boots.
Manuel C. uses traditional molds from the 60’s, adores natural and untreated organic leather types and has a sharp sense for tuning classical designs with contemporary elegance, always respecting the old school making and originality.
Manual is a dedicated and down to earth ARTESANO and has always lived in Valverde.
It is beautiful and inspiring to watch him work meticulously while listen to his insights about this fascinating craft mans ship told in a soothing Andalusian accent.
If you want more information of how to acquire handmade boots and how they are made