Why and how to choose Italian-made golf shoes.
You do a lot of walking on the golf course, considering that on average an 18-hole course is between 6 and 7 kilometres long. A distance that the champions we will shortly be admiring at the 74th Italian Open (12-15 October), held at the Golf Club Milano in Monza park, are going to have to walk every day. Defending the title he won last year, Francesco Molinari will have to contend for it (together with prize money amounting to around 7 million dollars) against some of the top 100 players in the world, including Sergio Garcia and Jon Rahm from Spain.
Over the four days of the tournament, the players will have to cover a distance of around 28 kilometres and consequently their shoes, as well as their equipment, play an important role. On all the fairways and greens in the world, the shoes of the great international players feature prominently and, as in football, are often customised for the player. And yet there are Italian golf shoe manufacturers where the construction and ongoing search for forms and materials make all the difference. A luxury that is only for serious golfers.
For example, the Runic shoe-making company, to celebrate 70 years of activity, presents a collection of luxury golf shoes made of highly prized materials, exotic reptiles and skins, and entirely hand-crafted in Italy. The Vittorio Spernanzoni company, set up in 1965 (you can read more about its history in our heritage section), created the Il Gergo brand in 1995 and, in 2013, launched a line of golf shoes featuring natural full-grain materials for maximum comfort and breathability. The “Goodyear watertight (“stagno”) construction ensures a degree of water-repellence of over 95 per cent. The company focuses on devising new and more suitable shapes for sports shoes, and on finding materials (leather, linings, fabrics) offering a high degree of softness, toughness, suppleness and eco-compatibility.
Then there are firms, such as shoe-makers Roberto Botticelli, who have created a golf capsule collection for both men and women, on sale only through their e-commerce site. “Our golfing line was first created in 1986 – Roberto Botticelli explains– when the game was considered an élite pastime rather than an actual sporting discipline. We pay great attention to design, shape and volumes, in line with the fashion trends of the moment also as far as colour is concerned. Equally important for us is the search for the best materials, both as regards the skins and the rubber for the soles. We are proud of producing entirely in Italy and of bringing made-in-Italy products to the world’s golf courses”.
Then there are those that specialise in golf shoes, such as La Raimondi, established in 1957 and present in this niche market for the last twenty years. Last year, it received an award at Montecitorio as one of the Hundred examples of Italian Excellence. “200 different handcrafting stages go into the creation of a pair of our shoes, which are completely waterproof – says Raimondo Finocchi -. We use full-grain leathers and ultra-lightweight soles. Our testimonials are the Australian golfer Scott Hend and the Italian Edoardo Raffaele Lipparelli who plays on the Challenge Tour and so – unfortunately – we won’t be seeing at the Italian Open”.
From Fratelli Borgioli’s long tradition of making golf shoes comes an almost totally made-to-order production line, with models hand-crafted in Tuscany using calfskins waterproofed using the drum tanning technique. As for the bottom of the shoe, the sole is made of waterproof leather with removable softspikes, the insole is made of rubber to prevent moisture passing through, with a further leather insole to provide extra water-proofing: the three soles are stitched together using the Rapid construction method. Laces are covered by a tassel to prevent them getting damp; the upper is decorated with Brogue-like stitching and perforations.