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5

History and Heritage

The Story of San Antonio Shoemakers

The story of the San Antonio Shoemakers™(SAS) family begins with its founders, Terry Armstrong and Lew Hayden. The two first met in Pittsfield, Maine, but their passion for making quality footwear led them to San Antonio, Texas. After working for a local shoe company, Terry and Lew struck out on their own.

Terry and Lew had a vision of how genuine leather shoes should be made. With determination, and the support of their families, the two pooled their resources to start their first factory in a corner of an unused aircraft hangar on the South Side of San Antonio. In 1976, San Antonio Shoemakers was born.

Growth on the Horizon

They started small, with just 13 shoemakers and no marketing beyond word of mouth. The SAS reputation grew and became a name people could trust for comfortable, quality footwear. In 1985, SAS opened a factory in Del Rio, Texas, keeping their business in Texas while allowing for expansion. 

Now, SAS’s line features everything from walking and athletic shoes to pumps, flats, sandals, and even a new boot for women. The men’s line has expanded to include walking and athletic wear to dress shoes like the Ambassador and Diplomat to a new casual shoe, the Move On, featuring S Motion Technology™.

Carried in 200+ SAS stores and in retailers in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, Korea, Kuwait, UAE, Saudi Arabia, Panama, Chile, Israel and England —the San Antonio Shoemakers brand is a humble American success story, and continues to be a family-owned enterprise driven by an obsession with fit and quality.

Dedication to Quality

Today, we continue to handcraft our shoes from only the softest, highest quality leather. Just one pair of shoes may go through up to 100 different steps. There are 14 primary operations that take place in our factories like leather selection, die-making, cutting, lasting and more. Within those operations, approximately 80 different skilled pairs of hands are carefully constructing and inspecting each shoe to make sure the SAS shoes you choose are the best made pair of footwear in your closet.

At SAS, our priorities have always been the comfort and quality of our shoes. As our company has grown over the years, so have the tastes of our customers. When we decided to create our first pump, we found a small multi-generational family-owned company with a heritage and love of crafting fine leather shoes similar to SAS. Working hand in hand, we believe we developed a unique approach that embraces the best of Italian design and SAS comfort. Within our line of dress shoes, any particular style or color may be manufactured in the U.S., or Italy, or both locations.

Keeping the Dream Alive

SAS remains a family-owned company, and that family extends itself to every SAS employee. From our skilled shoemakers to our CEO, every employee of SAS works together to create the most comfortable shoes in the world. At SAS, we hold our product to only the highest standards and respect the workers who make that product possible. San Antonio Shoemakers has built the company around appreciating and respecting our workers.

The strength of that relationship is what allows us to hold our product to such high standards. Every employee at SAS takes personal pride in creating the most comfortable shoes in the world. This is why many of our team have been with SAS for upwards of 10, 20, even 30 years. In fact, 42% of SAS’s workforce has been on the job for over fifteen years. It’s this dedication that allows us to have such a high standard of service for our customers. Our customer’s comfort comes first, and together we make that comfort possible.