The label Ballūta from Portugal makes vegan shoes that are both: Sustainable and beautiful. Perfect for women for whom a green lifestyle is just as important as their personal style.

Catarina Pedroso grew up with bullfighting in her hometown of Lisbon. The brutal tradition influenced her so much even as a child that she became a vegetarian. For 20 years she repeatedly had the problem of not finding shoes that were visually appealing and for which no animal had to suffer. Ballūta was eventually created by the question of her husband and partner, Ricardo Duarte: "What if we created our own shoe brand? Although the couple knew absolutely nothing about shoes at the time, it felt right.

Catarina Pedroso, the founder of Ballūta

In the Footwear Design course at the Lisbon School of Design, she learnt all about technical concepts, limits and possibilities while working on the brand's identity. Ballūta is the archaic origin of the Portuguese word for oak nut - Bolota. The name stands for the company's respect for nature and the attempt to create luxurious shoes in a beautiful and sustainable way.

When cork and natural tones meet playful designs

The result is sophisticated statement pieces that are inspired by art and nature. There are lots of cork and earth tones, but also bright colours and playful details. Perfect for young creative people for whom a sustainable lifestyle is just as important as their personal style.

Pictures from the Spring/Summer 2018 cmapgain

Sustainability is in the DNA of the brand, already through the abandonment of animal materials and the research for sustainable alternatives. This is how the label discovered vegan leather made from recycled polyester and polyurethane. Most of the materials used are certified and produced in the EU, which helps to reduce the CO2 footprint. In addition, the brand can guarantee that all suppliers meet sustainability and labour standards and produce minimal waste. For Pedroso, it was obvious that the production of the shoes must take place in Portugal. The country offers a lot of know-how and there are several vegan footwear workshops. The label decided to work closely with a family-run factory in São João da Madeira. There, the employees are respected, are paid fair wages and produce the shoes under safe and worthy conditions.

Inside the Ballūta factory in Portugal: Everything is handmade.

“We’re just getting started,” Pedroso says. “The market is there and we’re excited to keep innovating, introducing better alternatives, without compromising on quality.”


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