MenStyleFashion visited the Fratelli Borgioli (Borgiloli brothers) shoe factory in Italy, one of the few luxury shoemakers still around in this country. You can read about our factory tour here. On the factory tour we noticed that this factory besides making its own brand of shoes is also a contract manufacturer for some of Italy’s biggest fashion brands. Today I am reviewing two pairs of the Fratelli Borgioli shoes, the waxy suede hiking boot and the new Oxford brogue from the SEISHOU collection.
Waxy Suede Hiking Boot
The image below is the first-ever shoes made by René and Valerio Borgioli, just after the second world war in 1946. Ironically they were hiking boots.
I was excited to try the hiking boots as the Tuscan estate that I am staying at during the Covid-19 lockdown period has plenty of hiking possibilities. With winter here most of the paths have turned very muddy, so waterproof hiking boots are a must. The humble hiking boot is totally acceptable in Tuscany Italy and is emphasized by its acceptance of leading fashion houses.
The waxy suede hiking boot from Fratelli Borgioli is built just as strongly as any 4 wheels drive. It has a butch exterior and a multi-layer padded collar in Nappa leather which gives it maximum comfort to the ankles and prevents them from getting blisters. The boots fit like a glove and feel surprisingly lightweight, and also they do not look bulky at all. It surprises me that every time I put them on how non-bulky they look. Combine this with the red leather laces, which give it a cool edge, making these boots totally acceptable for everyday use.
These hiking boots are made in robust black waxy suede, with darker finish for a gritty look. This type of finishing is obtained by using special high-speed brushes and natural waxes. So much care and thought have gone into these hiking boots I can see and feel that.
So how do they feel after two weeks of use? It has been raining almost nonstop here in Tuscany, so in the few dry moments, I had the chance to test the grip and how waterproof these boots are. They did not disappoint. The sole is from the famous Italian brand called Vibram. The rubber is hand-stitched to the upper using Goodyear Norwegian construction. This type of construction makes the sole completely waterproof because the stitching isolates the feet from the outer sole.
Unlike other hiking boots I did not have to break them in, they felt subtle and soft right from the start.
Now all I had to do is borrow the estate owner’s Land Rover Defender and his lovely dog Boccer and I can completely pull off the Tuscan farmer look.
The Oxford Brogue from the SEISHOU Hybrid Collection
The next pair of shoes I am reviewing is a pair of Oxford Brogues from the SEISHOU collection. For 2021 Fratelli Borgioli has decided to team up with Japanese shoe designers Ikeda & Matsuzaki. The new line combines Italian craftsmanship with Japanese style. The name of the collection, SEISHOU (or “unison” in English) originates from the blend of Italian craftsmanship and Japanese taste.
Shoe designer Yuko Matsuzaki, Shoe Designer at Ikeda & Matsuzaki says,
“ Japanese concept and design are expressed with the craftsmanship of Italian shoes.The design incorporates the concept of authentic Italian footwear and the taste that reflects the modern Japanese lifestyle.”
Brogue With Grip Soles
These shoes look almost like a classic pair of Oxford brogues, but they come with very grippy soles. The soles used here come from Italian brand WEARLIGHT, and they are famous for making lightweight soles. The expanded rubber soles absorb shocks during walking and give a sensation of lightness to the feet and good grip as well.
So what we have here is a redesigned classic leather Oxford Brogue that is lightweight and comfortable. I tried this shoe out and a day trip to Pietrasanta, and after a full day of walking through city streets my feet never felt tired and the shoes were extremely comfortable.
After trying both pairs I now have hiking boots that are comfortable in everyday life and I have a pair of classic Oxford brogues that are comfortable on long walks. On the Tuscan estate that I stay at, I can go for the farmer look with the hiking boots or the more upmarket look with the brogues, it all depends on the weather and the mood that I am in. On both occasions, I have a pair of quality well-made shoes on my feet with a classical timeless design.