Did you know that made in Italy footwear from the Marches area was mentioned in Boccaccio’s Decameron? Indeed it was: we are in the fifth short story of the 8th day, when the famous writer says that Italian shoes, made by the artisans of Montegranaro and Sant’Elpidio a Mare, were so beautiful and of such high quality that they were exported not only to Tuscany, but also to as far afield as the Balkans.
It is not by chance that handmade shoes continue to be the unrivalled excellence of the Marches. The Region has a manufacturing zone among the largest in Italy that, alone, is responsible for over 80% of national shoe production. So, from the famous ‘chiochiere’ (flat, slip-ons in cloth or leather, without a heel, with a lightweight, pony skin sole) through to the styles of today, that unite the special features of handmade in Italy with more advanced designs, the Marches Region is the homeland of made in Italy shoes, and recognised throughout the world as such.
And not only. Thanks to the different production areas it can produce shoes for nearly all the sectors within the footwear universe, namely:
– in Monte Urano you can find the best children’s shoes;
– Montegranaro, Monte San Giusto and Sant’Elpidio a Mare are the homeland of men’s shoes with styles ranging from the classic derby to the smart lace-up, from the casual style of sneakers to sophisticated slippers and desert boots;
– In Fermo, Porto Sant’Elpidio and Civitanova Marche there are specialist manufacturers of women’s shoes.
Made in Italy footwear: a few figures
Let’s say straight away: handmade shoes manufacturers have shown their ability to respond to a difficult economic downturn. According to the content of the Shoe Report 2015, the yearly report on the Italian footwear sector, indeed, companies have set in place several particularly significant moves that have allowed them to regroup and react effectively. Of these, the following merit particular mention:
1) the export drive that has led to an overall increase in exports of 20.3%, with an good increase in sales of 17.5%;
2) a broadening of the internationalisation process, a strength that made in Italy footwear companies are becoming more aware of. It is not by chance that average overseas sales fluctuate from between 10% and 50% of the total, with several instances of 90%.
Precisely because of their knowledge of how to position themselves within the most promising markets, trade fairs are especially important. In particular theMicam where, again this year, Italy’s handmade shoes sector has ranked up significant international recognition.
Made in Italy footwear in general, and that of the Marches Region in particular, is an important part of our national heritage, both financial, social and cultural. This is why, as also stated by Cleto Sagripanti, ex-chair of Assocalzaturifici during the presentation of the 2015 Shoe Report in Rome, we need “to identify effective strategies for the footwear sector and for the whole of Made in Italy, in a system mentality that will be the trump card in relaunching manufacturing, and a real point of strategic strength in our Country System”.