Fratelli Borgioli, a technical hub of shoe design

For several years, Fratelli Borgioli has been hosting numerous trainees who recognize the value of training and want to learn how to make shoes “in a traditional way”.

The training institutes themselves know how crucial the practical experience in a shoe factor is for tecnical education, where numerous processing steps are carried out to create the finished product.

In fact, Fratelli Borgioli artisans hold an invaluable heritage of information and practical knowledge to be handed down to the new generations with the aim to maintain the high quality level of an artisan shoe produced in Tuscany.

The training of trainees and students represents an opportunity for Fratelli Borgioli: on one hand, the shoe factory can continue to pass on its experience and artisan tradition to the new generations, thus preserving the cultural and technical heritage of shoe production in Tuscany. On the other hand, the company can benefit from the energy and creativity of trainees, who bring new ideas and perspectives to the working environment.

The trainees are welcomed into the shoe factory and are guided step by step through the shoe production process. They may closely observe each stage or specialize themselves in some specific processes. Through this practical experience, the students acquire valuable skills and in-depth knowledge of craft techniques.

It is our pleasure to share some experiences of our students who are also our precious helpers.

In May we have hosted Gianluca who attends the Arturo Checchi Institute of Higher Education in Fucecchio with a technological focus in Footwear Fashion System.

He chose this field of study since “he was literally born in the middle of the shoes”. His mother and grandfather carried out some work on behalf of suppliers for various shoe factories in the area and took care of glueing the sole and coloring the heels.

After having visited our laboratory with his classmates, he asked to carry out the internship with us as a part of the “Alternating School and Work” project.

As soon as he started his internship, Gianluca discovered his new passion: quality leather. He is fascinated by the manual cutting of leather, he likes to touch the leather and see how it lends itself to various types of processing. Furthermore, he loves to observe the assembly process, when the leather upper is assembled on the last that gives the shape to the shoe.

He collaborated with Fabiola, our pattern maker, observing the pattern creation process and helping to digitize the paper pattern to obtain its digital version.

Furthermore, he observed the work of the artisans who cut the leather to understand the process that starts from the cutting and ends up with the assembly of the upper on the last. This process is important to understand how to put the attention from the beginning to the end, in a shoe production process.

Wies is Dutch and attends the Hout-en Meubileringscollege in Amsterdam, a technical high school specialized in footwear. Initially Wies didn’t know which direction to choose but considered her inclination to manual work she finally chose shoe segment.

Wies was playing with the idea to do the internship abroad when one day she saw online a shoe that really impressed her. It was Fratelli Borgioli shoe, so she asked to be able to spend some months in our company.

Wies stayed with us for two months: initially she didn’t speak a word in Italian but slowly she learned some technical terms that allowed her to make herself understood with the craftsmen.

Wies likes product development, but she enjoys the whole process that accompanies the creation of the shoe, from the design to its execution. Wies’ goal is to see all the production phases and relate with professionals in the footwear sector, to understand what technical qualities and above all what soft skills she should develop to work in this area.

Wies has great dexterity that allows her to be successful in the manual coloring and finishing of the product.

During her internship Wies worked closely with Felice, one of our artisans specialized in the manual coloring of shoes, with our model maker Fabiola who taught her the digitization of models and with Soriano Borgioli who taught her how to carry out the quality control of the upper, a very important stage to ensure that the product passes all the production steps without defects.

Apart internship, the company also boasts two apprendices : Marco graduated from the pattern making course at the Shoe Modeling School in Monsummano and now works for us in the technical and development office; Bianca finished her studies at the MITA Academy in Florence with a technical focus on footwear and leather goods. Bianca did the internship during her studies and was then hired by us again in the same R&D office.

The collaboration with trainees is a consolidated practice in Fratelli Borgioli over the years, thanks to which the company has had the opportunity to share its experience with young enthusiasts in the footwear sector. These young people, in their turn, had the opportunity to learn from true master craftsmen, who know all the secrets and techniques needed to create high quality shoes.

The commitment of Fratelli Borgioli in the training of apprendices and students reflects its dedication to the enhancement of artisan traditions and the promotion of quality in the footwear sector.

Thanks to this continuous collaboration with young people, the company ensures that the know-how and craftsmanship excellence of Fratelli Borgioli are handed down to future generations, guaranteeing the continuity of the production of high quality handmade in Tuscany shoes.

For more information CONTACT US

Whom you can entrust to create a footwear collection?

The fashion sector has become increasingly competitive. In order to “face the competition” you need to be well recognizable on the market. This rule is well known by many brands that work daily to position themselves.

In the recent years, many fashion companies have decided to combine their clothing collection with a shoe line aiming to expand their reference market and confirm their role in the eyes of their customers.

But how to create an entire shoe collection from scratch?

How to choose the right materials and, above all, the right suppliers?

Who takes care of the design of the models?

Many choose to rely on an external partner who, however, should have certain characteristics to be able to create a shoe line. Let’s see them together.

Controlled network of suppliers

There are different types of leather. In order to create a quality product you need to know how to select the suitable raw material. The choice is much easier if you rely on a manufacturer with its own network of suppliers, which is already tested and subjected to periodic quality checks. Moreover, if the suppliers are all Made in Italy, even better!

Internal pattern development

It may seem obvious, but if you want to create your own shoe line and start from scratch you need someone who is able to offer you a catalog of models to choose from or to design shoes based on your suggestions.

But the sketch is not enough. The pattern making department will create the first prototype so that you can make evaluations and changes before getting to the production phase.

The right skills

When we talk about handmade shoes, the small details do make the difference: the raw materials, the stitching, the colour, the finishes, etc.

It is precisely in this phase that technical skills come into play: the manufacturer you select must have long experience and master the construction techniques of the shoe.

Production capacity

You have the right raw material, the models you wanted, a supplier able to produce  and you also have customers willing to spend money to buy your new shoe collection.

Then, you need to make sure that your shoe manufacturer is able to produce all the models you will need. Reaching the “sold out” is also good to create some expectation but your product can’t always be “sold out”.

For this reason, before starting the collaboration it is essential to make sure that the partner you have selected has the production capacity to guarantee the production of the shoes you will need.

Timing and logistics

Obviously this whole process must be completed within certain timing. Before signing a contract, make sure that the supplier you have selected is able to meet deadlines and already has a logistics network in place. In fact, the importance of logistics and the time necessary for shipments should never be underestimated. Therefore, if your partner is already prepared under this aspect, you will not have to deal with it.

Fratelli Borgioli, the historic Tuscan artisan brand of men’s footwear, also offers its customers the Private Label service. With the advice of the company’s product development team, it is in fact possible to create a collection of own-brand footwear with all the characteristics that have made Fratelli Borgioli a brand appreciated by international fashion houses and by all lovers of beauty.

Furthermore, Fratelli Borgioli has become the reference point for the most important high fashion brands looking for a shoe manufacturer in Tuscany capable to guarantee perfection, organization, know-how and punctuality.

CONTACT US to find out what services we can offer to your brand.

From the idea to the product: necessary steps to create your own shoe line

Creating a line of shoes is not a simple job, not suitable for everyone. Especially if we talk about high quality handmade shoes, where the production process is complex.

In fact, behind each shoe there are many processing stages, from the creation of the model to hand finishing, which are all necessary to obtain a high quality final product. Each processing stage requires a certain amount of experience from the producer.

For this reason, when a brand decides to outsource the creation of its line of shoes, it is important to carefully select the manufacturer, making sure that the factory is able to carry out each processing stage and obviously uses high-quality raw materials.

But exactly what are these processing steps? Let’s see them together.

Shoe design

The creation of a handcrafted shoe starts with creative research, followed by analysis of current fashion trends, to create an original shoe design in line with market trends.

After having studied the market, the designers will create the models to be handled to the pattern makers, who will transform the idea into reality.

In detail, a paper pattern (or its digital CAD model) is created as the basis for the production of the shoe. The prototype will help the craftsmen to verify that there is no technical error, and if there is, the pattern will be modified until a perfect prototype is obtained.

Leather cutting

Once the model has been created, the leather cutting is the next and one of the most important steps in the creation of a handmade shoe. This phase requires skill, precision and attention to detail, because the quality and aesthetics of the shoe largely depend on the precision of the cutting of the materials.

In order to guarantee high durability to the final product, the leather used should be chosen with care, with an eye on quality, colour, texture and thickness.

The cutting of the leather should be done very carefully, following the pattern paper and taking into account any details or decorations that must be preserved. It is also important to optimize the cuts to reduce waste.

Checks are then carried out to ensure that there are no defects or imperfections.


The hemming of handcrafted shoes is a crucial phase, which should be executed with care, using special machinery and traditional techniques. The edges of the vamp, i.e. the upper part of the shoe, are precisely cut and then folded inwards. Subsequently, we proceed with the sewing of all the pieces, which together with the lining, will make up the upper part of the shoe.

This process requires great manual dexterity and particular attention to detail, as the hemming should be flawless to ensure a high quality finish and a durable shoe over time.

Assembly of the upper

Subsequently, we proceed with the actual assembly of the shoe.

In this phase, the leather upper is heated in a steam oven, then passed through a press that shapes the toe to facilitate its assembly on the last. While on the plastic last, on which the upper will then be mounted, an assembly insole is spread.

To artfully assemble a shoe it is necessary to stretch the leather in the correct way: it takes years of experience to “feel” if the material is stretched at its best. If the leather is too tight, the shoe risks breaking during assembly, if instead it is loose, the shoe will not have the shape.

At the end, the upper is closed on the last.

Scratching the sole

In this phase the excess leather is removed to prepare the shoe for the process of attaching the sole. It is very important to follow the outlines of the sole to remove only the skin that obstructs the perfect attachment of the sole.

If the craftsman scratches the shoe outside the outline, he ends up damaging the upper. In this case the shoe does not pass quality control and should be produced anew.

Application of the sole

There are many techniques used for this complex process. The department is in fact divided into two production lines, based on the difficulty of the construction of the sole.

On the “simple” line, shoes are processed with glued soles, or sewn with the Blake technique with groove.
On the other “classic” line, the shoes with Blake stitching with hidden seams, Blake rapid and Goodyear soles are processed.


The final phase in the creation of a handmade shoe is the finishing phase when the shoes are checked one by one to guarantee their quality and aesthetics.

During the finishing process, the shoes are cleaned, polished and varnished to enhance their beauty and protect them from wear. Depending on the type of leather and the desired effect, the shoe is brushed with different types of brushes.

Leather coloring

During manual coloring, the shoes are entrusted to the hands of expert craftsmen in various leather coloring techniques, a long and delicate process that requires experience and dexterity.

An artisan spends an average of three days coloring the leather, applying the dye and wax by hand through circular movements of the fingers, in order to allow the leather to dry after each application and to obtain an excellent result.

Fratelli Borgioli, historic Tuscan artisan brand of men’s footwear, also offers its customers the Private Label service. With the advice of the company’s product development team, it is in fact possible to create a collection of own-brand footwear with all the characteristics that have made Fratelli Borgioli a brand appreciated by international fashion houses and by all lovers of beauty.

In the recent years, Fratelli Borgioli has become the reference point for the most important high fashion brands which are looking for a shoe manufacturer in Tuscany capable of guaranteeing perfection, organisation, know-how and punctuality.

Fratelli Borgioli shoes are the result of a family tradition that began more than seventy years ago in an artisan workshop in the heart of the Florentine countryside, in La Stella di Vinci.

Each shoe designed by Fratelli Borgioli is a true artisan masterpiece. The tradition of Tuscan craftsmanship and technological innovation blend together to give life to a shoe that accompanies the wearer for a lifetime.

To find out which services we can offer to your brand CONTACT US.