Joan Fontfreda, who founded the Chiruca brand of hiking and hunting boots together with his brother Lluís in the aftermath of the Spanish Civil War, has passed away at the age of 92. Working out of the company left by their mother, who died early, they decided to make mountain boots in canvas with rubber soles for the local farmers, and then also for hikers. It was not an easy task because of import restrictions at the time for the necessary manufacturing equipment. The shoe was originally called Mercè (diminutive for Mercedes) after their mother. It was changed to Chiruca in 1987. The business was purchased in the 1990s by Calzados Fal, a shoe manufacturing company at Arnedo, in the region of La Rioja. While his brother continued with Chiruca, Joan Fontfreda stopped his involvement and remained in Tortellà, his home town in Catalunya.