The little guide
to genuine hand-made products
A strictly hand-made pair of shoes requires skills and expertise.
To create a product using tools such as leather knife, tongs and nails for mounting, awl, needle and thread to seam the welt, one needs skills - and above all, a lot of time. The whole point of a Vittorio Spernanzoni item – the element giving it a value hard to estimate using the standard consumer economy parameters – is indeed time.
The time required to create a product manually. But even more specifically, the time required to turn a pair of shoes into objects that convey perfection: little masterpieces resulting from the skilled and dedicated hand of craftsmen.
A truly genuine hand-made product stands out for the details: these are to be analysed, studied and observed with great attention to detect those sophisticated elements that make that product unique – and able to provide stunning performances.
This is the reason why we have defined some essential rules for genuine hand-made with our craftsmen; a ‘guide’ for real experts, a tool to identify the distinctive features of a genuine hand-made product.
CREATING SHOES ON THE LAST
Each hand-made shoe has to be shaped onto the last.
While assembling it manually – starting by the lining and the upper to then apply the counter, all totally adhere to the last. Thanks to an expertise and the manual awareness gained over time, craftsmen only can eliminate excess material and perfectly centre the upper on the last. Using slow-action, natural glue, the craftsman can adapt the shoe using tongs and hammer and ensure full adherence.
Any hand-made product shall be created using high-quality materials and above all, the leathers for the upper.
Fine leather grain has to be a small-pored and imperfection-free. Master cobblers shall not only be able to select the best leathers but also to cut it right in the most suitable way for the item it is used for.
This procedure allows the leather to be soft, resistant and keep its shine year after year.
The Vittorio Spernanzoni collection features plenty of coarse grain calfskin – i.e. not tannery-refined. This is a crucial factor that makes hand-made products stand out when compared to other crafted products. Each hand-made pair is customised and tanned only using dyes and polishes, so that shades will be so unique they could never be achieved in serial production.
Sometimes a hand-made stitched pair of shoes cannot be told from a machine-sewn one. The stitch linking welt, upper and insole can be seen externally, while the only element is the stitch between welt and sole.
Eyes cannot see but feet can tell. Indeed, when the craftsmen insert this stitch, the cord is pulled and adjusted at each knot, in a much more sensitive way than machines can. This confers the shoes the ability to adapt quickly and naturally to the feet, for added comfort and long-lasting resistance.
The Goodyear Welted is the stitch linking the welt to the insole and the upper. It’s the main stitch of the shoes, ensuring resistance and full comfort, and can be done manually or using machines. When it’s hand-made, shoes are not only more resistant but also more flexible and softer.
The craftsman shall use just 4 tools to achieve this: the awl to pierce the 3 surfaces, 2 needles crossing in the pierced holes to make sure the cord creates a knot for each stitch and finally the hammer, to flatten and even out the welt.