Chiruca, Spain’s top supplier of outdoor boots, achieved revenues of €20.5 million in 2021, 41 percent more than the €14.56 million of 2020 and 13.9 percent more than the €18 million of what until now was the company’s record year, 2010. Speaking to CMDsport, the brand’s sales director, Fernando Castiella, attributes Chiruca’s success to Filomena, a storm that tore through Spain in January 2021 and stoked sales of waterproof boots, to a good spring/summer campaign and to domestic production. The brand did not suffer like brands that farm out their manufacturing to Southeast Asia.

However, the current year promises to be more uncertain, with snarled supply chains tying up raw materials and costs rising. Castiella is urging retailers to bet on hiking boots, which Chiruca manufactures domestically – at a freshly expanded factory of its own in Arnedo, in the province of La Rioja. Moreover, “we’re still heading for the mountains and doing things in the open air, because hiking and light trekking are certainties in the context of the pandemic we’re enduring, and they’re healthy and even economically affordable,” he said. “The number of practitioners is higher right now than it was in January 2020 and much higher than it was in January 2019.”

Chiruca’s main market by far is Spain, which accounts for 83 percent of sales. There has been no appreciable change in the balance since 2020. The rest is split between 35 foreign markets. The top ones are France, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Sweden and Chile in order of size.

At 0.5 percent of the total, online sales are all but negligible, although they rose by 3 percent from 2020. Chiruca, Castiella says, sees e-tail as a form of customer service, a tool for those seeking hard-to-find models or colors.

Orders for the autumn/winter 2022/23 are up year-on-year, with hiking boots in the lead. Castiella believes that fluctuating energy costs and delays in the delivery of leathers, laces, soles and cardboard will be the year’s biggest problems.

Chiruca has made a “significant investment” in a radio station to advertise the brand, notably in connection with Xacobeo 2021-2022 – a series of concerts, exhibitions, conventions and talks along the old pilgrimage route to Santiago de Compostela, which has seen a decline in pilgrims and hikers during the pandemic. Chiruca is an official sponsor.

Meanwhile, expansion of the factory/warehouse in Arnedo will come in handy for another of the company’s brands, Fal Calzados de Seguridad, a specialist in work boots.

Whatever the difficulties ahead – generating revenues like those of 2021 would be a “great feat,” Castiella says – Chiruca is hoping to achieve double-digit growth this year. Spring/summer orders are about 60 percent full.