It’s almost impossible to walk through Zagreb’s Ban Jelačić Square and not recognize colorful, cotton shoes or notice Borovo’s signature storefront. I myself am faulty of owning multiple Borovo shoes, some of which only differ by a few splashes of color.

Borovo has one of the oldest shoe making traditions in Croatia. Founded in 1931, it started off producing rubber work equipment and shoes, and soon became one of the biggest manufacturers of all things rubber in the region, self-producing all the “ingredients”. It has helped develop Vukovar, the city it was founded in, and played a big role in Croatia’s economy. After WW2, Borovo was nationalized and continued operating until 1991. During the war, the factories closed down and a lot of the infrastructure was destroyed. However, in 1998 Borovo returns to Vukovar and again helps revitalize the city ater the war.

Borosana has been around since 1968, when it was developed together with dr. Branko Strinović, an orthopedic expert. It was made for working women, especially those who stand or walk a lot, and to cater to their anatomic needs. It is often said it has the perfect 5 centimeter heel, and as my mom calls it, that’s the “zdrava peta”, or “healthy heel”.

Iva Čurković started working for Borovo right after graduating from the University of Zagreb, and right after that she developed a new shoe model – the now iconic Boromina. She added an additional layer of microfoam rubber to the bottom of a Borosana – and so the Boromina was born.

And the Startas? They’ve been the comfiest shoe on the market (in my biased opinion) since their inception in 1976. They were originally designed for playing table tennis, but have soon hit the streets in less sporty settings. Each one is hand made using natural materials (100% cotton and natural caoutchouc rubber).

What makes Borovo’s shoes so special is the love and care that goes into each new pair. They are all hand crafted and made from natural materials, and the collections are usually inspired by Croatian traditions. They’re easy, colorful, and comfortable.