Made In El Salvador

Come behind the scenes and explore our family factory in El Salvador


Generation after generation–this is our shoemaking DNA.

Our co-founder, Cristina Palomo Nelson, was born into the world of shoemaking. She grew up in the factories with her father and grandfather taking paper and highlighters to sketch shoe ideas as she followed along. Her dream was to have her own collection of shoes.

The founding idea of FRĒDA was to combine Cristina’s shoemaking lineage and love for design and Megan’s background in styling to create a collection that struck the perfect balance between design and function. Classics reimagined in the details. Our family relationship with our El Salvador factory is one of the things that inspires us to build community from the ground up.Our roots are in El Salvador. Our first collection was made by hand in El Salvador. Our family is in El Salvador. This is what makes us, us.

We’re so proud to share this history with you and hope it makes your FRĒDAs feel all the more special. 

A Timeline of Family Heritage + FRĒDA 

In 1953, Cristina's grandfather set the grounds of the footwear industry in El Salvador, giving life to the dream of “fitting Salvadorans with shoes." He opened a shoemaking factory with the vision of providing protective and quality footwear to the local field workers as labor was the country's largest resource.

 In 1970, Cristina's father started a new factory focused on beautiful moccasins handsewn onto the shoe form (called a last), a construction rarely used today.
In 2012, Cristina and Megan (FRĒDA co-founders) made our first collection of shoes at the factory in El Salvador. Originally, we were supposed to produce in Brazil, but our factory shut down for the holidays and never reopened. Cristina's family factory opened its doors for us last minute and produced the most beautiful collection of shoes. We are forever grateful.

In 2013, we moved our production to a family friend's factory in Spain as their knowledge and craft were better suited our constructions. Over the years, our family and production in Spain have grown, but we always dreamed of launching a category that would allow us to bring some production back home. • In 2020, we started working in El Salvador again to produce our first handsewn slipper, the JAMES (named after Cris's dad). That summer, we proudly launched a collection of handsewn moccasins. It included two styles, the JUANA and TASH--which you may recognize in our collections today. It was a very special moment for us, we couldn't have been happier about working with our family in El Salvador in a bigger way.

• Today, we’re proud to say we still work closely with our El Salvador family to create our collection of loafers–including the ELBA, TASH, JUANA, PETRA and our slipper the JAMES. The work we do there is the beating heart of FRĒDA and we love that their artisanal touch find their way into your lives.

Image of Cris + Family


We believe that the quality of products made by hand is unparalleled. We only support artisans who believe in keeping the art and integrity of shoemaking alive and have skills and techniques used for generations. Although moccasins have evolved from soft leather bottoms to more durable constructions, our family factory in El Salvador still practices the art of hand-fitting the leather to a shoe form. Moccasin construction means the upper, quarters and insole are handstitched together on the last with one top vamp piece. Our shoemakers carefully tack the leather in place, then handstitch the leather with needles and waxed thread to create the moccasin upper. This process takes time and skill but ultimately, produces a highly comfortable and flexible shoe. We are truly lucky to work with artisans who have been practicing this for generations.


So enjoyed reading this and as someone who enjoys Freda shoes, love that you are able to go back to the roots and share the craft with the world. Growing up in India, most of my shoes were custom made and know first hand, the fit of a hand sewn shoe.

Dilpreet Kaur November 29, 2021

I love reading about the history of any brand, but especially Freda! It’s great to feel a connection from the shoes to the roots of the brand. Thank you for sharing this part of Fredas story!

Conni Jespersen November 29, 2021

I love hearing the background on how Freda Salvador was created. It makes me happy to know that I have purchased (3 times so far) quality shoes from a quality company. Family businesses are the best !

Marline Mlot November 29, 2021

A beautiful story, inspiring from the start. There is so much value in the learning of what happens behind the scenes. Many thanks.

Kelly March 06, 2021

As a Salvadoran I am truly honored by Cristina’s dedication and contributions to a proud national shoe legacy. Our country is home to skilled and capable artisans and Freda Salvador is taking their valuable work globally.

Mayu Ávila March 06, 2021

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