After spending a couple of days visiting family in the Latina region of Italy, I caught the thirty-minute train ride back to Rome Termini, where the Tod’s Porsche Panamera awaited my arrival.
A comfortable three-hour drive through the Italian mountains and villages, we finally arrived at Casa de Campo in Montegranaro. A forty-five minute drive from Ancona and a ten-minute drive away from the Tod’s manufacturer, the hotel created a name for itself within the region due to the organic and natural image it maintained.
Montegranaro is one of the most recognized regions in Italy when it comes to handmade leather goods, and especially footwear. Generations of artisans have devoted their lives to maintaining the highest quality in Italian handmade leather products. So it was only fitting that Diego Della Valle, the Managing Director of Tod’s, situated his footwear manufacturer in the heart of Montegranaro.
I had the pleasure of visiting the Tod’s factory earlier this year to document the precision and detail behind the creation of my favourite Tod’s shoe, the Gommino. I purchased my first pair of Gommino driving shoes five years ago after visiting Italy for the first time. Since then, I have become a fanatic lover of the brand and my collection doubles two-fold year on end.
Many people seem to forget that every single component of the Gommino shoe is made and assembled by hand. Over a dozen steps are followed through to create the gommino, insuring it remains the impeccable shoe that it is. Designers first sketch a number of designs, which are then transformed into 3D models using hand-filled wooden bases. Once the shape and design of the shoe is finalized, the quality, colour, thickness and texture of the leather are thoroughly assessed.
Now that the piece of leather has been determined, the Tod’s artisan hand cuts the different components of the Gommino shoe using plastic tracing blocks as a guide. The famous Gommino holes are then perforated at the sole of the shoe, before the Tod’s logo is hot stamped in the center.
The thinning of the leather is then conducted at the stitch line of the shoe to aid the artisans in the assembly process. Once the basic external components of the shoe are stitched together by hand, the Gommino rubber sole is inserted inside the shoe with each rubber point pushed into its respective hole.
Here, the real sewing and stitching begins. Every single edge, corner and excess material is either hand sown or stitched by the artisans using coloured leather string. Knots are then made at pressure points to eliminate any chances of tears or future damage.
Once the entire shoe has been assembled, the leather is ironed, hammered and trimmed at the edges to complete the final touches.
Tod’s are very well known for their packaging, which many of their competitors have adopted.
The final product. On the left you have my very first pair of Gommino shoe that I purchased over four years ago, still in tact and wearable. While on the right, you have a gorgeous fresh pair.