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San Antonio Shoes
I don't like having anything on my feet. Not socks and not shoes. However, there are times when we are definitely expected to be shod. That's when I turn to San Antonio Shoes. They're not pretty, and they do not make me look pretty, but they are very, very comfortable.
They're the kind of shoes you want to be wearing while doing the San Antonio Stroll!
The San Antonio Stroll
I've been wearing SAS shoes almost all my adult life. Most of my growing up and education took in place in Texas, where SAS shoe stores are easy to find. When I moved out of state and even out of the country, my mother kept buying me new pairs of my favorite shoes. She liked them, too.
San Antonio shoes, or SAS for short, are easy to put on, easy to walk in and easy to care for. A pair can last me for many years, even when I neglect to polish them.
The Founding of San Antonio Shoes
The year was 1976. It was the bicentennial of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. I was turning sixteen that summer. Tanya Tucker's "San Antonio Stroll", which had come out the previous year, was playing on the radio. Two men who worked in the shoe industry, fed up with the trends in automation, synthetic materials and outsourcing, quit their jobs and dedicated their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor to making quality shoes.
San Antonio Shoes is a family owned company founded in San Antonio, Texas. The founders were Terry Armstrong and Lew Hayden. They had been employed in the shoe industry, but about this time the manufacture of shoes was beginning to be moved into factories outside the United States. Armstrong and Hayden quit their jobs and started their own business, where all the shoes would be made by hand from real leather.
San Antonio Shoes specializes in hand-crafted comfort shoes. All their products are hand made in the United States. Their stock is not traded publicly, and they do not sell shoes over the internet. However, they have shoe stores throughout the United States, and their shoes are sometimes available on Amazon.com.
Standards of Quality and Business Ethic
San Antonio Shoes are made to exacting professional standards. Only the best leather is used for the uppers, and they acquire their cow hides locally. Every step of the shoe-making process is carefully calibrated. If you want to see how it's done, watch the SAS video here.
The high standards also extend to how the business is run. When somebody opens a new SAS store, there is no franchise fee. I like their business philosophy: "It goes back to a time when ambition was clearing fields and craftmanship
was building farms...when eggs came from the chicken house and milk
from the family cow. This was a time when, if you made something poorly,
word of mouth would put you out of business before you ever got
started. We think the same should be true today." (From the SAS website.)
Bow Tries on My Shoes
The Siesta Valley Ranch Walk
The SAS company sponsors an annual walk on the family ranch near Medina, Texas. They do not advertise this activity, but rely on word of mouth alone. It is called the Siesta Valley Ranch walk and has been held annually ever since 1989.
Shoe Fitting Philosophy
I like the SAS philosophy about shoes. Unlike many shoe manufacturers, they don't try to tell us that people were supposed to be wearing shoes all along or that it's unhealthy to be barefoot. Instead, you will find the following statement on their website:
"Nature intended us to be barefoot. However, since we paved most of our
surfaces and cluttered up our environment, we need shoes to protect our feet. The next best thing to barefoot is a good comfort shoe. Be sure new shoes are comfortable before you buy them. The ball of your foot should rest on the widest part of the shoe. The heel should fit snug and not slip. Your toes shouldn’t push against the top of the shoe. The space between your longest toe and the inside of your shoe can be up to one-half inch. Try on both shoes. Stand up and walk around. If your feet vary slightly in size, always choose the most comfortable size for the larger foot."
That's exactly what I do when selecting a shoe. I give myself plenty of space.
The Shoe Fits
San Antonio Shoes are comfortable enough for seniors, people with lower back impairments and those with weak ankles. But you don't have to have any of these problems to enjoy the shoes. They are a pleasure to wear, and they don't slow you down. In fact, they are the perfect shoe to wear if you are carrying a chimpanzee on your back! They're the kind of shoes that will have everyone, young and old, doing the San Antonio stroll.
(c) 2010 Aya Katz
SAS shoes for men
SAS shoes for women
The SAS Factory Tour and Terry Armstrong Obituary
- San Antonio Shoes - Our Factory
Take a tour of the SAS Shoes Factory.
- Silver Creek 78250: Must See Place Report: San Antonio Shoe Factory and General Store
- Obituary: SAS Shoes was the perfect fit for Armstrong
San Antonio business news including AT&T, USAA, Tesoro, Rackspace, Valero, Clear Channel, H-E-B, Southwest Research Institute, Toyota: mySA.com
- Buying SAS Shoes - LoveToKnow Shoes