Believe it or not, one of the things I like most about having a menswear site is the ability to meet people in the trade. Recently, I had the pleasure of meeting Sergio, who is working on a new footwear company with his brother and two of their compatriots in Milan. The company is called Barbanera, which means black beard in Italian, and their initial offering focuses on a variety of designs, including the two-toned oxfords in canvas and leather you see below.
Though they’re located in Italy, Barbanera seems to me on the slightly more English side of the Continental spectrum. Their lasts aren’t as pointy as some Italian and French shoes tend to be, but rather look a bit more British in taste. They’re also Goodyear welted rather than Blake stitched. As many know, the first is what you typically find in Britain while the second is more common in Italy.
They are 100% made in Italy, however. Construction takes place in the Tuscan countryside, and the leathers are all sourced from Italian tanneries. I can’t tell you which ones without being rude to Sergio, but suffice to say they’re the same places that many of the highest-end makers in the world get their materials from.
Prices currently start at 300 euros with expectations to raise them to 350 in September. You can also opt for a made-to-order service where you can specify the colors and materials, but those will of course cost a bit more. Sergio tells me that in they have a few other designs on the horizon as well, including lightweight slippers, desert boots, and the “iGent” favorite – the button-boot.
It’s nice to see good people starting new ventures.