A family business

From the very first wooden clogs through to leather sandals sparkling with sequins, this is primarily a story of expertise which remains truly unique in France. The Audouin family has been committed to this venture for five generations. It is also the story of a shoe which has constantly evolved in an elegant fusion of the traditional and modern.



In 1890, great-grandfather Emile would criss-cross the tracks around the Mauges region of France, carrying his bag on his back. He travelled from farm to farm. Armed with his cleaver, gimlets and carving gouges, he shaped, hollowed and polished until the contours of the indispensable clog emerged from the freshly fallen tree. This intricate work called for dexterity and patience. He would only return home once the entire family was fitted with clogs, two or three days later!

His son Joseph took over the manufacturing reins by settling down in Saint-Remy-en-Mauges. This heralded the end of home-produced clogs. With the mechanisation of the 1920s, the first lathes and borers made their way into workshops, making a clog-maker's work somewhat sedentary.


A few decades later, in 1959, his son of the same name began a new chapter in the family history by opening a workshop in Montigné-sur-Moine, on the edge of the vineyards around Nantes. Joseph began to diversify by producing wooden ornaments and furniture. More importantly, he updated the look of the clog by adding a leather upper to the traditional wooden sole, similar to Swedish clogs. These were his first steps into the world of fashion.

Continuing in this vein, his son Joël took over the company with his wife Françoise in 1988. He launched the Bosabo range of designer styles, alongside the more traditional Safty brand of workwear clogs which are particularly popular in the medical sector as well as for gardening.


In the early 1990s, the company began to exhibit at international trade fairs to expand the fashionable side of the range. With patent red leather, imitation leopard skin and high heels, their clogs featured a wide range of styles and materials in increasingly eclectic designs. Over 150 designs are manufactured in our Nantes workshops. This diversity combined with constant updating ensures this time-honoured shoe remains popular all over the world. From New York to Tokyo, not forgetting London, Paris and Milan, more than half are now exported to grace the most prestigious window displays.

Today BOSABO is proud to preserve and promote the age old craft of clog making that is all but lost elsewhere in France. And Joel and Francoise are keen to pass on their passion for the art of clog making and the importance of respecting the environment to their children – Alexis and Justine – both of whom are already working with their parents in order to preserve and promote the company’s heritage well into the future.