This is where the shoe magic happens

Terhi Pölkki Shoes are made locally in a small yet, modern family-owned factory in Sao Joao da Madeira, Portugal. Terhi tells about her last visit to the factory in May.

It’s May and once again time for a factory visit. Arriving to central Porto is like looking at a postcard, city rising from the riverbank – all pitched terracotta roofs with blue and white tiles on the walls. At the warm night the roofs glows like honeycomb. Porto is one of the oldest European centres, and UNESCO proclaimed its historical core a World Heritage Site in 1996.  

My shoes are made locally in a small yet a very modern family-owned factory in Sao Joao da Madeira, Portugal, close to Porto city, which is one of my favourite cities in Europe. I visit the factory always in the beginning of a production and a new collection. After arriving, it’s time to check AW18 collection with the factory owner Paulo.

AW18 collection in progress. Terhi is checking the quality of CORA waterproof suede booties.

SS19 collections' design meeting with Regina Silva.

The factory is located in the area where many luxury shoes are made in. Heading to upstairs, I organise my ideas on the big meeting room table and show my designs to Regina "the magician of pattern making" who translates all new designs to amazing three-dimensional objects. We are developing and going through every little details to the new SS19 collection with her. During my stay I am also checking the production of upcoming AW18 collection and plan the deliveries for autumn and make sure the quality meets the standards of Terhi Pölkki shoes

Sustainability is important matter for Terhi's shoes. Vegetable tanned leather is locally sourced from Portugal.

Sustainability is one of the core values of my brand and it is important to co-operate with a company that works in a sustainable manner when it comes to employees as well as raw materials. All components are locally sourced and the leather used in my shoes is premium vegetable tanned leather from Portugal. The artisans who have worked with shoes more than 15 years truly believe in what they do. They are not just making shoes but also committed to the high quality of craftsmanship.

Mr. Paulo Pinho (front) sanding the sole of Mila Flats before attaching the rubber outsole.

Sao Joao da Madeira is known in the shoe industry for its high quality leather shoes. Since starting my brand, I have produced my shoes here.

The experienced factory operates within the European Union and offers good work conditions for employees along with quality of craftsmanship.

Mr. Manuel Alfredo is mounting toe puff to Mila Flats


Apart from the visits to Portugal I call to the factory daily. I want to be in touch with the factory weekly therefore I am sure all works well and on time and to be honest I just miss the fast pace atmosphere and by now they have learned to expect my calls.

The Douro river, Porto. 

We have gone long way together and I am happy to work with them as they do understand and share my values. 

Terhi xx

Read the full story about Terhi's Spring favorites here.

In Finnish / Suomeksi

Terhi Pölkki –kengät valmistetaan käsityönä Portugalissa pienessä perheyrityksessä, joka sijaitsee Sao Joao da Madeiran kylässä, lähellä Portoa. Alue on tunnettu siitä, että moni luksuskenkäbrändi tuottaa kenkänsä siellä. Terhi vierailee tehtaalla kaksi kertaa vuodessa, keväällä ja syksyllä, ennen kuin uuden malliston valmistaminen alkaa. Terhi Pölkki –kengät on valmistettu alusta lähtien samassa, kenkätehtaassa. Ekologisuus on Terhille tärkeää ja tehdas toimii kestävän kehityksen periaatteiden mukaisesti. Kaikki Terhi Pölkki –kengät valmistetaan kasviparkitusta nahasta, joka tuotetaan Portugalissa. Terhille on tärkeää, että myös tehtaalla työskentelevillä käsityöläisillä on hyvät työolosuhteet.