Now that I am a Marikina resident, I’ve been looking to try some shoes from the Shoe Capital of the Philippines. I recently had my chance when I discovered a local shoe exhibit happening at the Marikina City Hall.
Stalls from numerous homegrown shoe brands greeted me as I approached the (outdoor) exhibit area. Admittedly, I am not familiar with many of these brands as I don’t usually see them in department stores and malls. I did recognize some names, though, particularly Rusty Lopez and Mondi, which are mainstays of the Shoe Center in Cubao and Greenhills.
I asked some of the representatives if their brands had physical stores, and to my surprise they did! Most of their shops are located at Riverbanks Center, which is equally known for big-brand (e.g. Nike, Adidas) outlet stores. Sadly, some of them had to pull out their exhibits at Riverbanks since they were not turning a profit due to the pandemic. As a small business owner, I can definitely relate to this struggle since the pandemic caused us to lose funds as well.
Here are some of the brands that caught my eye:
I saw these pretty leather mules at Fontelle Shoes‘ exhibit. They specialize in ladies’ shoes and sandals, and according to their website and Instagram profile, they also make bags. I was particularly drawn to their selection of mules, which feature bright colors and loud metallic accents and come in both high-heeled and flat variants.
When I asked the shopkeeper what material they were made of, she told me they were genuine sheepskin leather. No wonder they were so soft!
They also carry more conservative designs in muted, earthy tones (like this pair of simple gray mules I happened to try on), as well as doll shoes.
Fontelle Shoes is located at #4 E. Santos st. corner Oval st. Sto. Nino, Marikina City, Metro manila, Philippines. 1800. Their contact details are listed as follows:
Tatay Oly Shoes
Tatay Oly is best known for making shoes for Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte. When I visited his stall, I saw a framed picture of him presenting shoes to the President sitting on the top shelf of his shoe display. His shoes are made of sturdy genuine leather and “airplane-tire” soles. I liked these tan loafers which reminded me of Japanese schoolgirl shoes. (Incidentally, I have a lot of Japanese schoolgirl outfits.) I also thought they’d make a great pair of driving shoes!
His 8,000 followers on Facebook are quite a testament to his popularity. Around these parts, he truly is a living legend!
Tatay Oly Shoes is located at #14 Agricultores St., Brgy. Sto Niño, Marikina City 1800. Their contact details are listed as follows:
Telephone: 0956 519 8866
Tatay Oly Shoes also has an online store on Shopee.
Antonio Manila is the fashion line of Gibson’s Shoe Factory, the leading supplier of safety shoes in the Philippines and one of the major suppliers of combat and dress shoes to the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP). A company with a rich, long history, it was founded in 1945, and has since grown to have 6 production facilities in Concepcion Uno, Marikina.
Their products are among the pricier items in the exhibit — but are still priced well below their imported, brand-name counterparts. I was especially impressed by this pair of cream genuine leather mules. They’re cut so well and are so comfortable to wear! Its design reminded me of Givenchy leather mules — but to be completely honest, I prefer Antonio’s design. Knowing that these shoes are Marikina-made, I’m confident that they will last.
Antonio Manila’s showroom is located at Gibson’s Showroom, 133 Katipunan St, Brgy. Concepcion 1, Marikina City, 1807 Philippines. Their contact details are listed as follows:
Telephone: (02) 477-88-79 / (02) 654-79-32
Move over, imported shoes!
I’ve believed in the quality of Marikina shoes since I got to try and test a pair of Renegade Folk sandals. I purchased them in 2017 and they continue to survive to this day, despite being worn and beat up.
I was happy to discover that Renegade Folk’s sandals reflect a traditional Marikeño shoemaking style that other less-known brands also follow.
The Marikina shoe exhibit at Marikina City Hall is currently ongoing up to May 4, 2022.