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The Art of Craftsmanship: Discovering Handmade Italian Men Shoes

Italy is known around the world for its exceptional craftsmanship, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the art of handmade shoes. From the cobblestone streets of Florence to...

Italy is known around the world for its exceptional craftsmanship, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the art of handmade shoes. From the cobblestone streets of Florence to the bustling markets of Naples, Italian shoemakers have been perfecting their craft for centuries. Each pair of shoes is a testament to the dedication, skill, and passion of the artisans who create them.  

What makes Italian handmade shoes so special? 

It's not just the quality of the materials or the attention to detail, although those are certainly important factors. It's the intangible sense of beauty and elegance that comes from knowing that your shoes were crafted by hand with care and precision. In this article, we'll explore the world of Italian shoemaking, from the traditional techniques passed down through generations to the modern innovations that are pushing the art form forward. So slip into your favorite pair of Italian shoes and let's discover the art of craftsmanship together.

Check Ace Marks Handmade Italian Shoes 

Direct to you, no middleman, fair prices.


italian oxford dress shoe

Italian Black Oxford Shoe


italian monkstrap dress shoe

Italian Brandy Antique Monkstrap



History and origins of handmade shoes in Italy

history of italian shoemaking

The history of shoemaking in Italy dates back to the Middle Ages, when craftsmen began producing shoes using traditional methods. Italian shoemakers quickly gained a reputation for their exceptional quality, and by the 16th century, they were exporting their shoes to other countries. During the Renaissance, Italian shoemakers began experimenting with new styles and techniques, incorporating decorative elements like embroidery and beading. By the 18th century, Italian shoemaking had become an art form, with craftsmen using luxurious materials like silk and velvet to create shoes for the elite.

Today, Italian shoemakers continue to build on this rich history, combining traditional techniques with modern innovations. Many of the top Italian shoe brands still use handmade methods, ensuring that each pair of shoes is crafted with the same care and attention to detail as they were centuries ago.

The process of making handmade shoes

The art of making handmade shoes involves a meticulous process that requires time, skill, and attention to detail. From creating the pattern to adding the final touches, each step plays a crucial role in crafting a high-quality and long-lasting pair of shoes.

1. Creating the pattern

The shoemaker begins by designing a pattern that will determine the size and shape of the shoe. The pattern is drawn on paper, taking into account the customer's foot measurements and any special requests. This pattern is then cut out and used as a guide for cutting the leather.

2. Cutting the leather

The shoemaker selects a piece of high-quality leather and lays the pattern on top. The leather is then carefully cut to match the pattern, ensuring that the pieces are precise and fit together perfectly. The leather is then ready for stitching and assembly.

3. Hand-stitching the leather

The shoemaker uses a needle and waxed thread to sew the various pieces of leather together. Each stitch is carefully placed and pulled taut to ensure the seams are strong and durable. Hand-stitching is a time-consuming process but creates a high-quality, long-lasting shoe.

4. Shaping the shoe over a wooden last

The shoemaker selects a wooden last that matches the size and shape of the shoe. The leather is then carefully stretched and shaped over the last, creating the desired form. The last is then placed in an oven to heat and set the leather in place.

5. Allowing the shoe to dry and set 

The shoe is left to dry and set on the last for several days, allowing the leather to mold to the desired shape. The last is then removed, and any excess leather is trimmed away. The shoe is then ready for sanding and polishing.

6. Sanding and polishing the shoe

The shoemaker uses a variety of tools to sand and polish the leather, creating a smooth, even surface. The edges of the shoe are carefully trimmed and polished, giving the shoe a clean, finished look. The shoemaker may use a variety of waxes and oils to condition and protect the leather.

7. Inspecting the shoe for quality and adding final touches

The shoemaker carefully inspects the shoe for any imperfections or flaws. Any necessary repairs or adjustments are made, and the shoe is given a final polish. The shoe is then ready to be boxed and shipped to the customer, ready to be enjoyed for years to come.

The process of making handmade shoes involves a high level of craftsmanship and attention to detail. Each step is carefully executed by skilled artisans, resulting in shoes that are unique and of exceptional quality. The use of premium materials, such as full-grain leather, also contributes to the longevity and durability of handmade shoes.

Materials commonly used in handmade shoes

One of the hallmarks of Italian shoemaking is the use of high-quality materials. Italian shoemakers are known for using the finest leathers, including calf, goatskin, and patent leather. These leathers are carefully selected for their durability, softness, and beauty.

Material Description
Full-grain leather High-quality leather that is durable and ages well. 
Suede Leather with a soft, fuzzy texture; often used for casual shoes
Calfskin Soft, supple leather often used for dress shoes
Patent Leather A type of leather with a shiny, glossy finish, achieved by applying a special coating. Commonly used for formal shoes.
Cork A natural material used in the footbed for cushioning and support
Oak-tanned leather A traditional material used for leather soles; known for its durability and flexibility
Rubber A durable, non-slip material often used for shoe soles
Thread (e.g. linen, nylon) Used for hand-stitching the leather together
Dyes and finishes Used to color and protect the leather surface


Note: This table is not exhaustive and there may be other materials used in handmade shoes depending on the specific style and manufacturer.

The difference between handmade shoes and mass-produced shoes

cobbler shoemaking history

The main difference between handmade shoes and mass-produced shoes is the level of craftsmanship involved. While mass-produced shoes are made using

machines, handmade shoes are crafted by skilled artisans using traditional techniques. This means that each pair of handmade shoes is unique, with its own character and personality. 

Handmade shoes are also typically of higher quality than mass-produced shoes. Because they are made by hand, each pair is carefully crafted with attention to detail and precision. The materials used in handmade shoes are also of a higher quality, ensuring that they will last for years to come.

Benefits of wearing handmade shoes

There are many benefits to wearing handmade shoes. First and foremost, handmade shoes are incredibly comfortable. Because they are crafted using traditional techniques, they are designed to fit the foot perfectly, providing support and cushioning where it's needed most. Handmade shoes are also more durable than mass-produced shoes, meaning that they will last longer and require fewer replacements.

In addition to their practical benefits, handmade shoes are also incredibly stylish. The attention to detail and craftsmanship that goes into each pair of shoes results in a unique and beautiful product that is sure to turn heads. Whether you're dressing up for a special occasion or just running errands around town, a pair of handmade shoes is the perfect way to add a touch of elegance to any outfit.

Finding the perfect handmade shoes for you

When it comes to finding the perfect pair of handmade shoes, there are a few things to keep in mind. First and foremost, it's important to find a brand that you trust. Look for brands that have a reputation for quality and craftsmanship, and that use the finest materials. 

It's also important to consider the style and design of the shoe. Handmade shoes come in a variety of styles, from casual loafers to dress shoes, so be sure to choose a style that fits your needs and preferences. Consider the color and material of the shoe as well, and choose a pair that will complement your wardrobe and personal style.

At Ace Marks, we have developed a "shoe finder" so you can find the perfect shoe according to your style and needs.

Top Italian handmade shoe brands to know

There are many Italian handmade shoe brands to choose from, but some stand out above the rest. Here are a few of the top Italian handmade shoe brands to know:

  1.  Ace Marks: Is a company that specializes in high-quality men's dress shoes. They offer a range of styles, from classic oxfords to more modern designs, all made with top-quality materials and expert craftsmanship. The company is known for its commitment to comfort and durability, with many of their shoes featuring soft leather linings and sturdy soles that can be resoled when necessary. Price: $320 - $450
  2. Paul Evans: Is a premium men's footwear brand known for its exquisite Italian craftsmanship and sophisticated designs. Their shoes offer a perfect blend of timeless elegance and modern aesthetics.
  3. Santoni: Known for their elegant and sophisticated designs, Santoni shoes are crafted using traditional techniques and the finest materials. Price: $650 - $750
  4. Fratelli Rossetti: With a history dating back to 1953, Fratelli Rossetti is one of the most renowned shoemakers in Italy. Their shoes are known for their unique designs and use of high-quality materials. Price: $720 - $850

Read more abour top 5 Italian Shoemakers in 2023.

Caring for your handmade shoes

To ensure that your handmade shoes last for years to come, it's important to take proper care of them. Here are a few tips for caring for your handmade shoes:

  1. Use a shoe horn to help slide your foot into the shoe without damaging the heel.
  2. Store your shoes in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight.
  3. Use a high-quality leather conditioner to keep the leather soft and supple.
  4. Clean your shoes regularly with a soft cloth and a mild soap solution.


Italian handmade shoes are a true luxury, crafted with care and precision by skilled artisans. From the selection of high-quality materials to the traditional techniques used in crafting each pair, Italian shoemakers are masters of their craft. Whether you're looking for a casual loafer or a stylish dress shoe, there's a pair of Italian handmade shoes that's perfect for you. So slip into a pair today and discover the art of craftsmanship for yourself.


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