In an exciting evening, Abicalçados hands out Prêmio Direções and seats new leaders

The evening of April 25 will go down in the history of the Brazilian Footwear Industries Association (Abicalçados). On that day the winners of the 7th edition of Prêmio Direções Direction Awards] were revealed, and the new members of the Supervisory Board and Finance Committee of the organization were inaugurated. Besides, the transition in the executive presidency was announced.  The event also marked the 36th anniversary of Abicalçados. It took place at Espaço TAO, in the city of Novo Hamburgo, in the state of Rio Grande do Sul, gathering members of the organization, authorities, and representatives of the leather-footwear industry.


Abicalçados' Project manager, Cristian Schlindwein, highlighted that there was a record number of submissions for Prêmio Direções, with robust cases that indicate that the industry is on the right path in the search for competitiveness.  The then president of the organization's Board, Rosnei Alfredo da Silva, who handed over the position to Caetano Bianco Neto, stressed that the initiative is already established on the schedule of the Brazilian footwear industry, valuing good practices and establishing positive benchmarks.  "We are here to value good news, which do not always receive adequate attention amidst so many bad news," he said. The winners (below) will be promoted in Abicalçados' media channels, in addition to getting the trophy of Prêmio Direções. The award was sponsored by Sicoob Ecocredi, Couromoda, and Francal Feiras.



In his farewell speech, Silva thanked the board members and Abicalçados' staff for the support during his three years ahead of the organization. "Abicalçados does an important job for the industry, which often times is invisible," he stressed, highlighting that in many cases some government measures do not even reach the companies due to the preventive work the organization carries out with the Government.  "In the 1980s, the industry represented 20% of the Brazilian GDP. Nowadays, this figure decreased to less than 10%. Thus, something is wrong, and Abicalçados has the role of taking this situation to the governments as a representative of such an important industry. We will continue conducting this mission," he said.


Announcing the transition process in the executive presidency of the organization, Heitor Klein took advantage of the opportunity to briefly recall his nearly 30 years working at Abicalçados. He also gave an optimistic analysis of the current scenario for the footwear industry, especially in the foreign market. According to him, recently an entrepreneur mentioned his optimistic analyses, which could be regarded as a way to inject energy into the industry.  "I told him that that was not the case, that it is realist, it is what I think. I am aware of the entire potential of our industry, with installed capacity, a complete, integrated chain, and tendency to export," he said.


According to the executive, even the proposed decrease in import taxes for shoes from 35% to 15% on average may be healthy if followed by the promised decrease in production costs to the same extent. "If this promise is fulfilled, our costs would decrease by 20%, which would change nothing in relation to our competitors in the domestic market but would provide greater competitiveness in exports," he said. For the leader, Abicalçados and the other organizations in the industry must now demand that the government fulfills the promise.  "The organization is ready for this role and will always be attentive to the interests of the industry," he concluded.



Taking over the executive presidency of the organization, Haroldo Ferreira emphasized the challenge of being at the helm of the organization. "Taking over an organization that was established over 35 years ago, an organization respected by all agents of the Brazilian society, which represents such an important sector for the Brazilian economy brings great pride and also great responsibility," he said. He also noted Klein's legacy, saying he leaves an "organized Abicalçados, with a multidisciplinary team in total harmony and strong, dedicated members that demonstrate that, in practice, unity is strength." 


According to Ferreira, the organization plays the role of assisting and guiding companies towards adapting to new times. "We are going through an era of transformations. They are transformations in business models, much more digital nowadays, in the profile of consumers, increasingly aware of their role in society, in international trade, much more integrated today.  Within this context, it is essential for Abicalçados, an organization that represents the footwear industry, to be in tune with the changes and to help entrepreneurs adapt to this new moment," he stated.


Taking over the presidency of Abicalçados' Supervisory Board, Caetano Bianco Neto highlighted that he will give back the trust that was placed in him to take on such an important commitment during the next three years. Regarding the challenges, he stressed that he is optimistic about the evolution of the sector, but that it is necessary to further increase the culture of cooperation. "The situation in the industry is difficult, but surely if it is bad with Abicalçados, it would be horrible without the organization," he said, adding that the association has a lot of development project and that its doors will be open to companies, both those who are already members and those who desire to join in the efforts to develop the activity.



The most moving moment of the night was a tribute to Heitor Klein. A video was shown. Visibly moved after the projection of a video with statements made by long-term partners that were part of the leader's trajectory at Abicalçados, Klein went up to the stage with his family and summed up the feeling of the evening in which his departure from the organization begins: "here are the most important people in my life, my family and Abicalçados' staff."

Check out the winners:


Medium-/large-sized enterprises: Vulcabras/azaleia

Innovative project for the area of Industrial Management, focusing on productivity. The company developed a culture among employees, who were engaged in the project to produce more and better, through the proper management of the use of raw materials and water and electricity saving, among others.


Micro-/Small-sized enterprises

No winner (cases did not reach the minimum amount of criteria for evaluation)



Medium-/Large-sized enterprises: Savelli

The winning company in the category Sustainability for medium-/large-sized enterprises covered the three pillars of the concept: environment, economics, and society. It invested in internal policies for recycling, reuse, and proper disposal of materials and in the rational use of natural resources; instigated the personal and professional development of its employees; and worked in partnership with aid agencies.


Micro-/small-sized enterprises: Levine (IPADMA)

IPADMA, a brand of Levine, received the award with its sustainable development project. The company got an important share of the market with its products manufactured with recycled and reused materials, especially leather. In addition, it invested in water-based adhesives. Within the slow fashion movement, the industry has products with bold, modern design.




Medium-/large-sized enterprises: Pimpolho

The traditional children's shoes manufacturer Pimpolho has developed a product that combines technology and playfulness. The company has created shoes with lullabies for the little ones from 0 to 7 months old. The shoe, which works through a smartphone app, has drawn attention of the market and attracted children, moms, and dads.


Micro-/small-sized enterprises: Elef Shoes

Elef Shoes has bet on a line of vegan products co-created with yoga master and digital influencer Carlo Guaragna. With a young, contemporary DNA, the company has developed sustainable shoes manufactured with recycled materials, especially canvas, and has stood out in the national media.

Category: DESIGN

Medium-/large-sized enterprises: ÖUS

Established in 2008 aiming to bring street and skate culture to shoes, ÖUS has created a line in partnership with hamburger restaurant Whatafuck. The project consists of a product with soles built from malt bagasse, residue of brewery production. Under the slogan "Real beer even in the sole of the foot," the novelty was launched on July 26, 2017 at Whatafuck, which really entered into the partnership: upon purchasing the product, customers got vouchers for the value of the sneakers to purchase hamburgers and beer at the store.

Micro-/small-sized enterprises: Bléque

The young company Bléque was born with a purpose and puts it into practice every day. The winning project features a shoe with timeless design and an environmentally-correct purpose, using sustainable materials and helping small manufacturers.  In a partnership with atelier Natália Rios, Bléque has manufactured products with chrome-free pirarucu and tilapia leathers and attracted the attention of the market.


Medium-/large-sized enterprises

The brand of comfortable shoes Usaflex received the award due to a structured project for international expansion through licensed stores in the markets of Bolivia, El Salvador, Costa Rica, and Israel.

Micro-/small-sized enterprises

No winner (cases did not reach the minimum amount of criteria for evaluation)


The winning article of Prêmio Direções 2019 was written by journalists Mary Silva and Nelson Zimmer, with the title "Onde está o futuro?" [Where is the future?]. Addressing changes in the profile of contemporary consumers, less worried about ostentation and more environmentally and socially conscious, the article presented the impact of this transformation on the aesthetics of products.

Supervisory Board


Analdo S. Moraes

Astor R. Ranft

Caetano Bianco Neto

Caio Borges

Carlos A. Mestriner

Claudio Chies

Darcio Klaus (Cisso)

Jorge Bischoff

Junior César Silva

Marco L. Meller

Paulo Konrath

Renato Klein

Ricardo José Wirth

Rosnei A. Silva

Samir Nakad

Sérgio Gracia


Finance Committee


Danilo Cristófoli

Eduardo Jacob

José Paulo Boelter

Maurício de Vargas

Paulo Vicente Bender

João Altair dos Santos