Why Italian Shoes Deserve a Special Place in Your Closet
They say that a pair of good shoes will take you to good places and there’s no better place to start looking for state of the art footwear than the boot-shaped country. Through the years, the three little words “made in Italy” have become synonymous for luxury, quality and sophistication.
Italy has the highest number of shoemakers per capita and rich, compelling history in the shoe craftsmanship. Continue reading to find out why Italian shoes deserve a special place in your closet.
How It All Started
In the beginning, Italian shoemakers were greatly influenced by French fashion trends, but by the end of the 20th century, Italy had recreated footwear fashion and set the highest standards in the industry of shoemaking.
The main reason for this upturn were the ravages of the Second World War which broke the Italian economy and caused many people to turn to the arts and crafts to renew the country’s strength. The fine, reimagined shoes quickly got the attention of rich foreigners and celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and Eva Peron.
Salvatore Ferragamo, one of the greatest Italian shoe designers rose to fame in the 1900s. Born to a poor family, 11th of 14 children, Salvatore made his first pair of shoes when he was only 9 years old and the rest was history.
Nowadays, the tradition of crafting fine Italian fashion shoes is carried on by brands such as Alberto Luti, Alexander Hotto, Moreschi, Fiori Francesi, Del Carlo, Mattia Cappezzani, just to name a few.
How Italian Shoes are Made?
Italian shoes are considered to be the benchmark in the global footwear market. And how can they not be when Italians spent hundreds of years perfecting the craftsmanship of leather. Today those traditional techniques are combined with the finest materials and sophisticated lasts to create the most delicate Italian fashion shoes of unmatched quality.
Italian handmade shoes are a true piece of art. Each step of the shoemaking process is treated with the utmost care and respect. It all starts with measurements and selection of styles followed by the creation of the last. The last is a mould carved from wood or plastic that resembles the shape of the foot. It’s the first step of the manufacturing process since it allows for the shoe to be modelled around it.
After the last-maker is finished with this step, the cutter designs a pattern chooses the finest Italian leather and cuts it before he turns it over to the closer who is responsible for assembling the pieces together. Then, the master craftsman shapes the insole and adds toe and heel stiffeners. Finally, the finisher adds the final touches such as polishing and removing small imperfections
What Makes Italian Shoes so Great?
Italian handmade shoes are sophisticated, bold and comfortable. The techniques used by the most reputable brands were passed down in families for generations. Most of Italian shoes are either Goodyear welt or Blake stitched which provides a clean silhouette with no visible stitching. This, combined with the fine full-grain leather allows for greater comfort.
The leathers used in Italian handcrafted shoes are pretty nice as well. No matter if its napa or calf leather, it will look lively and richly hued because Italians are very good tanners. Most of the shoes are hand burnished and they’ll develop a beautiful patina over the years.
The stylish finish of Italian shoes makes them perfect for numerous occasions and will definitely make you stand out in a crowd.
What to Look for in an Italian Shoe?
Like any other country, Italy has to offer both high-end and mediocre shoes, so here’s what you need to look for in high-quality Italian shoes.
The first thing is quite obvious; you need to inspect the leather to see whether it’s full-grain authentic or artificial leather. Real leather is soft and warm to the touch, has a characteristic smell and of course, a higher price whereas fake leather is usually cheaper, feels colder and smells like plastic.
The next thing you should pay special attention to is the stitching because this determines both the comfort and the longevity of the shoe. The Blake stitched shoes have a thinner sole and are more flexible while the Goodyear welt offers unmatched strength and durability but can sometimes be hard on the feet.
The final thing is the heel height. While it’s certainly easy to fall in love with the highest heels, they might be impractical for everyday wear. Same goes for the thin, elegant soles which can be a bit uncomfortable if your daily routine requires a lot of walking.
Fine Italian shoes should tick all the three boxes style, quality and comfort if you want to get the best value for money.
How to Style Italian Shoes?
The best thing about Italian shoes is that they don’t have a season and they’re suitable for any occasion. Every man should own at least one pair of fine Italian dress shoes. You can style a pair of oxfords by Conflict for Interest with your business suit to stand out amongst the crowd in the office, you can wear them with your small casual outfit, but they’re also perfect for special occasions.
A pair of stunning limited edition Del Carlo sandals is an absolute must-have for the ladies. The soft Nappa leather and the cushioned footbed will make you forget about your other high heels in the closet. You can style them with a gown dress, a trendy skirt or rock them with jeans for a more casual look.
If you’re not a big fan of dress shoes or high heels, you’ll be amazed by the wide array of Italian made flats. From elegant loafers to comfy trainers, there’s no doubt that you’ll be able to find fine Italian leather shoes that’ll make your feet happy.
No matter which style you choose, you’ll most certainly serve looks any time you hit the road.