American Duchess Shoes Made in Portugal

This season marks the first collection of American Duchess shoes made in Portugal! We’re pretty excited about this and want to share a bit of behind the scenes.

In February, in The BeforeTimes, Nicole, Chris, Matt, and I traveled to Portugal to meet with several footwear factories and hopefully find a good fit (lol). Portugal has a long shoemaking tradition and is well-known for excellent quality, particularly with leather goods.

We met with three shoe factories and learned a lot. It’s always fascinating to see into a working production facility and observe the many steps it takes to create just one pair of shoes. Factories can differ quite a lot, too – some have a lot of specialized machinery while others still do much of the work by hand.

These are leather cutting stamps for larger production runs.

Of course, it’s no secret that Europe has been shut down for most of 2020. In our little world this has caused delays with sampling and getting ready for our first order, but we have teamed up with a fantastic factory, and we’re so happy to present to you the first European-made American Duchess shoes:

Bernadette – Eyecatching Edwardian/1920s oxfords designed in collaboration with Bernadette Banner. These two-toned beauties have 2 inch French heels and come in five colorways, something for everyone!

Gibson – Our classic Edwardian/1920s teardrop tie design with 2 inch French heels. Now in four colors including oxblood red and green.

Tango – One of our vault styles, back by popular demand – the sexy lace-up Edwardian/1920s Tango boots with 3 inch French heels, available in black, red, green, and ocean blue.

Tango Boots in four gorgeous colors
The already infamous Bernadette Oxfords in five colors
Classic Gibsons – black, cognac, oxblood, and green available.

I’ve gotten quite a few questions from our European customers asking if shipping/customs will be easier when buying the new shoes made in Portugal. Currently we still have to import them to the United States and warehouse them here, but we are working towards a much better European fulfillment solution as fast as we can. We’re hoping to make this big improvement sometime next year, pending world events.

Thank you for coming on this journey with us through all of these years. It’s been quite a road, but we’re pretty stoked about this next move. We can offer more colors and sizes than ever before. We hope you like these changes as well!

Partial Shoe Team doing Shoe Things in Shoe Places
A wall of heels at our heel manufacturer – of course none of these are ours! We have to make all our heels custom because oldey-timey-curvy shapes aren’t en vogue.


  • Gillian Stapleton

    August 27, 2020 at 6:17 PM

    Lovely to have a peep behind the scenes. The best pair of boots I ever owned were made in Portugal – I'm sure the American Duchess shoes will be just as good!

    • Lauren Stowell

      August 28, 2020 at 6:49 PM

      Peeps shall come as soon as possible! When we were there in February we toured the factory but they were working on a different brand's shoe, of course, so I can't show most of the photos of videos. But we'll go back, when it's safe, and get some lovely footage 🙂

  • MrsC (Maryanne)

    August 30, 2020 at 10:02 AM

    So wonderful that you are in production and people are pre-ordering. I have beautiful Portuguese shoes that have lasted really well. Also love your heel! They were all the rage in the 90s and I was so sad when they fell out of favour.

  • Holly

    September 3, 2020 at 11:32 AM

    I just purchased a pair of Pompadours and LOVE them! I'm so excited to learn about your shoe journey- it makes me feel like I am part of something so special and unique in a small way.

  • Anonymous

    September 23, 2020 at 11:47 AM

    This is wonderful news! I'm so excited about American Duchess maybe also shipping from Europe at some point AND having larger sizes available! I've lusted after AD shoes for the past decade and never dared to order any because my feet are huge and have slightly uneven size between right and left, so I was too nervous about having to send them back and racking up enormous shipping and customs costs. Maybe the moment is drawing near now. <3
    Can't wait!!

    • Lauren Stowell

      November 23, 2020 at 9:43 PM

      We're well on the way! We're in the middle of the first phase of changing our shipping, and the intent is to have something working for Europe by the middle of 2021 🙂

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