For that reason, we use only the highest quality products in the process of crafting your future vintage shoes. In this poste, we share with you the story behind some of the products and processes we use in hopes of educating and informing our client partners on each moving piece that results in the characteristic high quality of each Peter Nappi product.
Vero Cuoio sole: Vero Cuoio, literally translated, means “real leather” in Italian. However, when seen on the bottom of a shoe, it signifies that the sole is constructed of the highest quality leather. Vero Cuoio leather comes from the Tuscan tanning district, an area out of which many trade associations were born to strengthen and promote Italian leather production through brand awareness, including the Consortium Vero Cuoio. The Consortium Vero Cuoio was formed in 1985 to educate consumers on distinguishing the quality of genuine Italian leather soles. At Peter Nappi, almost all of our shoes are created using this approved and high-quality Italian sole.
Kudu Leather: You may have noticed that many of our shoes (including our Men’s Julius Basso boot and Women’s Calvina boot) are made of “Kudu” Leather. Kudu is a species of antelope native to Southern Africa. The leather of this antelope is light and soft, and features unique scratching and wear as Kudu’s grazing habitat is populated with thorn trees. Although Kudu leather appears to be soft, it is a long-lasting, durable leather. Both sides of the hide can be used--you’ll see some shoes with ‘Reverse’ on the product (such as the Ellia in Gaucho Reverse), meaning the reverse side of the hide is facing outward on the shoe.
Hunting of Kudu is government-mandated in South Africa to manage overpopulation. While the leather is harvested, the meat of these antelope are used and sold as well which reduces waste and creates a closed-loop process, reducing the overall impact on the environment.
Cordovan Leather: Cordovan leather is made from fibrous flat muscle beneath the hide on the rump of the horse. This leather is named after the city of Cordoba, Spain, where it was first used by the Visigoths in the 600 AD. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Cordovan was often used for razor strops to sharpen razors in barber shops.
Cordovan leather is used in high quality shoes because of its unique appearance, exceptional durability, and characteristic lack of creasing. Products made of cordovan leather can last multiple lifetimes, and be passed down several times. The Peter Nappi Danilo shoe is a nod to the history and character of Cordovan leather using classic design and construction.
Veg-tanned: Vegetable tanning is the oldest method of treating animal leathers, having been practiced for hundreds of years. This method uses the naturally occurring tannins in barks from various trees (such as oak and chestnut) to stabilize and preserve untreated leathers. This complicated process requires an advanced skill set, giving leathers treated with vegetable tannins an incredibly high quality. Due to the natural tannins used, vegetable tanned products (such as Peter Nappi shoes) are all unique as they characteristically change over the course of their long lifetime of wear.
Not only is vegetable tanning the oldest tanning method, but it is also the most environmental-friendly. Any leather products that have been vegetable tanned can be recycled. Other, less meticulous processes of tanning (such as chrome tanning) take less time and skill, and are much more damaging to the environment.
Blake construction (welting): The ‘welt’ in shoe construction refers to the strip of leather that attaches the upper to the sole. Blake welting is a simplified, yet structurally sound, variation of a classic Goodyear welt. In Blake construction, the upper is wrapped around the insole and attached between it and the outsole with a single stitch on the inside of the sole. A blake-welted sole is light and makes very flexible shoe as it has fewer layers than a Goodyear welt.
Goodyear construction (welting): In the same way that Phillip Nappi was inspired by the legacy of his heritage, so was Charles Goodyear Jr. The son of Charles Goodyear, the inventor of vulcanized rubber and namesake of the Goodyear tire company, Charles Goodyear Jr. changed shoe production forever in 1869 when he developed a welting process that was more durable and easier than any of its predecessors. There are three steps to Charles Goodyear Jr’s process: First, the insole is prepped for stitching by creating a perpendicular “rib” that runs across the insole. Next, the shoe is ‘lasted’ by stretching the out sole over the last and attaching it, along with the insole, to the last. Finally, the shoe is welted by sewing together the welt, the upper, and the insole rib. The welt is attached to the out sole separately, making it incredibly easy to resole any shoe with a Goodyear welt.
The Julius Goodyear boots are 100% hand-crafted, using the techniques created by Charles Goodyear Jr. over 100 years ago as well as the highest quality products you have come to associate with Peter Nappi. As stories, welts, and inspiration are passed down through generations, so (we hope!) are your unique Peter Nappis.
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