Why people buy (and will continue to buy) the handmade shoes in the shops?


The new reality for people who want to buy is to search online for what they need and have it conveniently shipped to their home. According to the Netcomm Retail 2023 study, over 33 million Italians made purchases online this year, 39% more than in 2019.

Certainly the pandemic and the impossibility of going out have led many people to get into the habit of turning to e-commerce, but physical stores are by no means destined to disappear. As long as you know how to offer the customers exactly what they want and to motivate them to leave their house and to come to your store for shopping.

The footwear sector is no exception, especially when it comes to the premium segment, which includes handcrafted shoes and high fashion brands.

What are the customers looking for when they go to a shoe shop? Let’s look together at some recent data.

Luxury shoes and experience

According to the ninth Altagamma Consumer and Retail Insight panel, conducted by the committee of Italian luxury brands, in 2024 customers who are part of the high-spending segment plan to make a lot of purchases.

In fact, the research shows that 40% of high-end consumers expect to increase their shopping volume next year.

These people have very high spending power and spend at least 5000 euros a year on luxury goods. Why do they choose to go to retail? Because what they are looking for is not a simple product but an experience: only in the physical store can they find the assistance and welcome treatment they are used to, and receive the best piece of advice.

While it is true that many consumers go to the store to see the products up closer and then choose to buy online at a lower price, this principle is less valid for those who have no (or almost no) spending limit. Moreover the data says that very often the reverse path also occurs: according to Netretail 2023, in 40% of cases consumers find out about the product online and then choose to buy it in store.

How come? Again according to Netcomm, it is a question of customization: although online technologies offer an increasingly customized experience based on the data provided by the user, it is still difficult for computers to guarantee the same level of personalization of choices, communication and experience that can be obtained in the store.

What technology do customers expect to find in shoe stores?

Buying the shoes, it is impossible for an e-commerce site to offer the experience you feel when wearing them. In case of handcrafted footwear, this experience is particularly gratifying: the customer in the shop feels the perfection of the stitching and every detail under his fingers, is able to fully appreciate the nuances of color and the softness of the leather, smells the characteristic scent of the quality materials.

Although artificial intelligence is also becoming increasingly popular in the world of e-commerce (with solutions that even allow you to virtually try on products), the tactile and emotional component still plays an essential role in the purchase of high-end products.

However, even those who choose artisanal products are increasingly tech savvy, and therefore use technology regularly in their day. The recent KPMG Retail Report says that 55% of consumers are more likely to purchase from retailers that offer, for example, varied and advanced payment solutions.

Not only flagship store

The Digital Innovation in Retail Observatory of the Polytechnic University of Milan has confirmed the rediscovery of the point of sale by Italians, also reporting that large stores have shrunk by 12% over the course of a year.

On the other hand, shops with smaller sizes and a more widespread presence in the area are growing in number, in which the staff is able to take care of the individual customer with the utmost attention and offer a customer experience characterized by listening and consultancy.

If you are a high-end footwear retailer, to conquer your audience in 2024 you should:

  • Offer a superior shopping experience
  • Guarantee the adequate technological contribution to simplify purchasing and payment process
  • Offer your clients products that are able to excite when touched and worn, such as handcrafted footwear.

There are several handcrafted shoe manufacturers in Italy, but not all of them are able to guarantee the excellence that can truly surprise your customers.

Fratelli Borgioli, a historic Tuscan artisan brand of men’s footwear, produces Made in Tuscany shoes appreciated all over the world for generations. Their creations have made Fratelli Borgioli a brand appreciated by international fashion houses (with which they have long-standing collaborations for the creation of exclusive lines of footwear) and by all lovers of beauty. They will surely win over even your most demanding customers.

Furthermore, thanks to the Premium Reseller program we support our retail partners with exclusive services.

To find out what services we can offer you, CONTACT US.

The differences between artisanal and industrial footwear mostly appreciated by the market

Calzatura artigianale

An artisanal shoe, produced by hand, is very different from an industrially made product. Consequently the shop that sells a high-level Made in Italy shoe cannot really be compared to many other shoe retailers.

The consumers are well aware of this.

Which are the expectations of a customer who enters your store?

What shoes does he expect to find? With what characteristics?

The consumers are very well informed, having access to the web, in order to deeply study the retailer they can rely on, the product they intend to buy, the composition materials and all the details that make it unique.

Therefore, before choosing a supplier to collaborate with, you need to study it thoroughly and understand if its products corresponds to the expectations of your customers.

The shoes and brands you choose to resell deeply distinguish your store, so when choosing products, you should be very careful. At this stage you are to keep in mind which items your customers are looking for and which peculiarities of handcrafted footwear really make the difference.

Let’s have a look at the aspects of handcrafted shoes, according to the ancient techniques, are mostly appreciated by the market.

The selection of materials

Per la produzione delle proprie calzature una realtà artigianale presta la massima cura nella ricerca di materiali e tessuti, utilizzando solo prodotti di alta qualità.

The artisan shoe factory pays the utmost care for the production of its footwear, for the research of materials and fabrics, using only high quality products.

The raw material is the starting point, as far as it should be processed in the best way, it must be excellent; the origin of the materials is equally important too. The leathers should be produced by masters who have a thorough knowledge of this ancient art.

The local leather is the best option making the shoe production process more sustainable.

We shouldn’t neglect the materials used for the production of the sole of the shoes: the usage of leather, instead of rubber sole, will facilitate the walking process making it more natural.

Compared to shoes produced industrially on a large scale, handcrafted footwear may have some small imperfections that distinguish the essence of the material. The imperfections that make shoes unique and special are certainly appreciated (like the grain of the wood) but they should be limited in number, size and visibility.

The same issue concerns the coloring: handcrafted shoes are colored by hand according to long processes made up of many steps, therefore it is possible that the coloring is not completely homogeneous and can present some small inequalities. In this case the inhomogeneities should be almost imperceptible and justified by the fact that the shoe has been colored by hand.

The stitching

The quality of the seams is a fundamental aspect for the success of a shoe and must be perfect.

The construction of to the bottom, in fact, distinguishes the handcrafted shoes from those of industrial production which are simply glued. The stitchings make the shoe robust, resistant to rain and durable in time.

The most famous stitchings are Blake Rapid and Goodyear. The stitchings should be straight, with no overlapping, at a glance they should be neat, linear and visibly solid, as the seams bear continuous pressure and twisting throughout their life.

The symmetry

When it comes to the craftsmanship, the human factor should be taken into account. The shoe is produced by an expert craftsman who works the materials for several days before obtaining the finished product.

Taking this detail into account, the two pairs of shoes should be symmetrical.

The finishing of the shoes

The finished product of an excellent quality is seen by the smallest details which should be cured in the best possible way.

The operations of the finishing, brushing and polishing of the bottom of a shoe, the attachment of the heel are aspects that make the difference and distinguish the product.

The careful cleaning of the upper perfectly reflects the masterfulness of craftsmanship, bringing the shoe to another level.

The weight

The selection of the materials, and subsequently of other elements added during different manufacturing steps, is aimed to give strength to the shoe without making it too heavy.

Furthermore, the shoe should be resistant yet not too rigid. In this regard, expert consumers are well aware that an artisan shoe may initially create discomfort but once the shoe is adapted to the wearer’s feet, it becomes more and more comfortable.

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 Fratelli Borgioli shoe is a real artisan masterpiece, flawless and comfortable. The tradition of Tuscan craftsmanship and technological innovation merge together to give life to a shoe that will accompany the wearer for the whole life.

The style and formal perfection of Fratelli Borgioli products keep the passion for Italian taste alive in the world, thanks to a network of selected retailers who believe in beauty and quality.

To sell Fratelli Borgioli means being sure to offer your customers a product that has all the features we mentioned above and that expresses the high quality of Tuscan craftsmanship.

Should you be interested to become our reseller, please CONTACT US.

Fratelli Borgioli presents its Spring Summer 2023 collection

During Pitti Immagine Uomo, on the 15th of June 2022 Fratelli Borgioli organized an exclusive event to present the SS 2023 collection to the specialty store owners.

The event took place in Vinci, at the historic headquarters of Borgioli shoe factory, where the visitors had the opportunity to visit the museum Casa Borgioli, the place where the testimonies of the birth and the history of the shoe factory are cherished, as well as old machinery used to produce the shoes.

Spring Summer 2023 collection

The artisans of Fratelli Borgioli have been working on this collection for months with the aim to transfer the “souls” of the shoe factory: craftsmanship, elegance, exclusivity and excellence.

As we always do, the skins were selected from the local producers of excellent quality, as well as the styles were developed with artisan manual details, the result of handmade heritage work handled down for generations.

The research of the colors reflects the seasonal trend that will guide the men fashon of the next year.

Let’s have a closer look to the collection presented during the event.

Light classic

The moccasins in French calfskin are hand antiqued with Leonardo patina which involves the discoloration of the leather and then the manual coloring using creams and waxes which give the shoe a “vintage” effect.

The models are unlined for maximum lightness and comfort during the hot season.

Summer loafer

Lovers of this comfortable and elegant shoes will be satisfied with the wide choice: from classic models to drive moccasins in suede and soft calfskin, with tassels or fringes.

New style offers are not few, such as suede loafers with flaps in marine style fabric. The models of this product line have a fold-on heel so that they can be easily transformed in sabot.

Woven styles

The line of slippers with manual threading is expanded and enriched with new proposals of models, materials and types of weaves; each product expresses attention to the design, details and shape of the shoes.


The Event line has been completely renewed in this collection.

Oxford and derby shoes are made on pointed lasts with the usage of rich materials such as brocades, velvets and patent leather.

The elegant loafers are made on comfortable last without sacrificing the beauty. The materials, the colors and the accessories speak about luxury, opulence and comfort. The quilted inner sole and burgundy hand colored outer sole are the “must have” for all the styles of Rinascimento line.

The rebranding of Fratelli Borgioli

On this occasion, the rebranding project was also presented, which in recent months helped to create a new image of the Fratelli Borgioli brand.

The new coordinated image, in its many concepts, expresses the cornerstones of Fratelli Borgioli:

  • the connection with the history and with the territory, Tuscany countryside, the place that has always been famous for knowledge and creativity;
  • the exclusivity of the shoe meant as a masterpiece, the result of know how handled from generation to generation;
  • the uniqueness of a shoe handcrafted in Italy according to ancient Tuscan artisan techniques;
  • the value of Made in Italy product, made with the best raw materials.

Tuscan Genius is the claim associated to the brand to sum up its essence in two words. The new website, the social network and all the communication materials fully reflect the new concept.

To obtain more informations regarding the new SS 2023 collection and our products, please contact us.

The processes that make artisanal shoes unique

Lavorazione Blake rapida

The artistry of Italian craftsmanship is famous worldwide: there are so many sectors in which Italy excels and stands out from other countries.

Production techniques and work methods are handed down from father to son, generation after generation, giving life to unique products.

In the footwear industry, this wealth of knowledge sustained by generations of craftsmen provides the means to design products which are sold all over the world and are much appreciated for their unique qualities.

A boutique aiming to stand out amid the multitude of shops and looking to draw customers who would otherwise buy online necessarily has to highlight the fruits of Italy’s artisanal legacy and explain what makes Italian craftsmanship truly unique.

What distinguishes a handmade shoe? What makes it unique? How to explain these characteristics to customers and reveal the intrinsic value of your wares?

Let’s find out.

Craftsmanship in a shoe

We start with the selection of the raw material: leather. Every artisanal shoemaker has their own trusted producers and suppliers, who are often based locally. The raw material is where it all starts, and you need to know it inside out.

Choosing the leather and checking its quality goes hand in hand with a process of constant creative research and trend analysis, so that the shoes you make are always original and reflect the market trends.

Then comes the cutting of the leather. This calls for an expert craftsman who knows how to handle the leather without spoiling it, and enhance its properties to the full.

There are also many other steps such as edging, lining, assembling the various parts and then finishing: this last step may involve several different processes that will vary depending on the type of shoe.

An artisanal shoe is the result of many processes (sometimes more than 100) performed by specialised craftsmen with specific know-how. Each step of the manufacturing process undergoes quality control to ensure the success of the finished product.

Understanding the technical skills and various phases of creating a handmade shoe can explain the intrinsic value of the product, and its price, which to the uninitiated might seem rather high.

A few of the processes

Although every artisanal shoemaker’s workshop has its own story, its own peculiarities and of course its own trade secrets that make the product unique and often inimitable, there are certain processes which are frequently used by shoemakers.


This robust, laborious technique owes its name to its inventor Charles Goodyear, who patented the method in 1832. It involves two seams: the first binds the insole to the upper and the welt, while the second binds the welt to the sole. The welt is simply the soft leather running around the perimeter of the shoe.

This particular process is performed entirely by hand, with no external stitching. The result is a strong, extremely high quality shoe that will last.

Goodyear welting is a slow process that requires great skill and specialist expertise.

This type of stitching offers a number of advantages, as it makes the shoe extremely comfortable, yet resistant. Goodyear shoes can be resoled when the sole wears out.


Three rows of stitching are needed to complete this complex process: the first row binds the upper to the insole, the second row, after being turned out, binds the upper to the midsole. Finally, the sole is stitched on, creating a single body.

This makes the shoe strong and most importantly waterproof.


This work method owes its name to Lyman Reed Blake, the American inventor who in 1858 designed a sewing machine to stitch shoe soles together. The outer sole is stitched directly onto the insole, which gives the shoe greater flexibility and reduces weight.

This technique requires a number of additional steps, but also offers several advantages: the finished shoe is resistant, flexible and comfortable.

Blake Rapid

A variant of the traditional Blake, this method produces a shoe that is practically indestructible. Thanks to its robust, waterproof finish, this method is particularly well-suited to winter footwear. The midsole is stitched to the upper using the classic Blake method, and the outer sole is then joined to the midsole using the Blake Rapid construction technique.

Despite its sturdiness, the shoe is comfortable. This is one of the oldest and most prestigious shoemaking techniques, as it creates an extremely hardwearing shoe that can be resoled.

These are just some of the work methods that distinguish a handmade shoe and make this type of footwear so unique and valuable. Any retailer of artisanal footwear is well aware of its value, and knows they are selling a durable shoe that will last, precisely because of how it was made.

Fratelli Borgioli shoes are the result of a family tradition that started more than 70 years ago in a shoemaker’s workshop in La Stella (Vinci), in the heart of the Florentine countryside.

Each shoe made by Fratelli Borgioli is flawless and comfortable: a true artisanal masterpiece. Traditional Tuscan craftsmanship meets technological innovation to create a shoe that will last the wearer a lifetime.

The styling and formal perfection of our footwear helps to keep alive the world’s passion for a taste of Italy, thanks to a network of selected retailers who share our belief in beauty and quality.

If you would like to become one of our retailers, please contact us or fill out the form.