07 Dec The History of Grisport
Leather walking boots are known for their high quality but not many people know how it all started, until now.
In 1977 the Italian Grigolato Brothers, Graziano & Mario made their first pair of handmade Italian walking shoes in the tiny front room of their home in Castelcucco at the foot of the Dolomite Mountains. Having been born in the area, walking and the Great Outdoors was in their blood and being Italian, shoemaking was also in their blood. Every day on their way to school the boys passed Italian factories in the Montebelluna region of Italy making all types of shoes from ladies stilettos to safety work boots with a steel toe.
The brothers decided that they would concentrate on putting comfort at the forefront of everything they would ever make and settled upon the idea of making a hand-stitched Moccasin style walking shoe as their first project. This original design can still be seen in the range today as the Grisport handstitched models ‘Modena’ and ‘Kielder’ are still made using the same principles and design ideas as the very first pair the brothers ever made. They never knew at this early stage that they would end up making hundreds of thousands of pairs of this design that they sketched by hand in 1977.
Initially all the small production that was made at home was sold locally to wholesalers who sold the shoes across the North of Italy. Demand grew so quickly that the Brothers soon realised that they needed more capacity and bought a home and ‘workshop’ on a larger plot of land in the town. Still living and working at the factory, this was a true family business in every sense of the word. Demand continued to grow and grow over the next decade, as did the factory and the family as the two boys married and had children – all still living in the factory grounds.
Throughout this early period the Company continued to invest all of the profit it made in the selling of the shoes into state of the art technology and research into the movement of the foot while walking. This early vision made Grisport shoes more and more comfortable and more and more desirable. Developments and patents followed with the Company patenting its famous ‘Support System’ and combining with leading companies such as Vibram & Sympatex in the development of high technology materials.
By the turn of the Millennium, Grisport had developed into one of the finest examples of an Italian shoe Company, employing over 2,000 employees and producing shoes in a fully robotic, state of the art shoe factory, covering over 40,000m2 – right in the heart of Castelcucco – that small town at the foot of the Dolomites where the very first pair was made and making sure their leather walking boots are the highest quality they can be.
Today, Grisport make over 5,000 different models of shoes and boots from walking & trekking, through to safety and comfort, all made in Europe. When other well -known brands have closed their Italian factories and shipped their production to China, Grisport have not taken this path. Grisport steadfastly refuse to cut corners and compromise quality and continue investing more and more money in their Italian factories, technology, training colleges and their unique research into walking comfort.
In 2008 the biggest commitment to manufacturing in Italy was confirmed when the Company invested almost £6 million pounds in a ground-breaking plan to power the whole factory using nothing more than the energy from the sun. The photovoltaic panels that cover 15,000m2 of the factory now ensure that Grisport make the greenest shoes on the planet and are all part and parcel of this ethical Company that has always been at the forefront of technology & design. Now found in every corner of the globe, Grisport and the founder brothers have come a long way since that first pair of hand stitched moccasins in 1977.
To see Grisport’s latest collection of leather walking boots, click here.