The Shoe Snob Blog

June 27, 2017

Written by , Posted in Italian, News, RTW Makers

Francesco Benigno – Another Italian Gem

There are a lot of shoemakers in Italy. And a lot that many of us have never heard of, including myself. And many of them are extremely good with high level finishing that is on par with the best English makers. But you don’t know about them. Because many of them simply make for other brands and thus do not do so much marketing of their own name. Such is the case with Francesco Benigno who makes for a plethora of Japanese brands and also makes shoes to a very high standard. Before companies like Skoaktiebolaget brought to life some of them, such as Enzo Bonafe and Paolo Scafora, many of them remained relatively unknown in the Western World (traditionally doing most of their business in Japan). But as time goes on, it seems that despite a quiet life for many years, these Italian shoemakers are becoming more and more known to the online world and the amount of competition small shops have in selling the same brand that 100 other shops do too. So the new trend is: discovering new, great makers that no other shop sells and taking all of the sales yourself, while at the same time promoting makers that deserve to be known. That’s a good trend!

Therefore see here a beautiful pair of some very unique semi brogues, courtesy of Francesco Benigno

  • Chris

    I discovered Francesco Benigno a couple of years ago, there’s a small shoe shop a couple of minutes walk from the Duomo in Florence that stocks Benigno alongside quite a lot of cheap, tourist trap stuff. First trip there I picked up a gorgeous pair of buckled chelsea boots in a tan/orange/red patina, and then 2 years ago a similar pair of wholecuts with a lovely chisel toe.

    Retailing at around €300 per pair they’re good, solid Italian competition to the ‘entry-level’ Goodyear-welted UK brands.

    Good to see you coming across and featuring them, as you say, they’re essentially impossible to find/buy outside of Italy, believe me I’ve tried!

  • Mark Mahan

    Nice to see this attention to smaller Italian shoe makers. One guys comes instantly to mind, Federico Badia who makes stunningly beautiful shoes in the equally stunning city of Orvieto. He’s a one man show, assisted in the retail shop by his American wife who is knowledgable and charming. Justin, check this guy out, he could well be the next diamond in the rough. His shoes are beautiful.

    • Chris

      Hi Mark,

      Orvieto is such a gorgeous town, was lucky enough to stumble across it when we drove from UK to Italy last year.

      Would you mind giving me a ballpark price for this guy? Might be worth a return trip!

      • Mark Mahan

        Hi Chris, yes, Oriveto is indeed wonderful, I know it well. When I visited Federico’s shop last October (2016) he told me that his bespoke shoes cost €1200 start to finish. Which, given their quality, seems like a very competitive price. If you go to his web site: http://www.federicobadiashoes.com you can see his various styles.

        • Chris

          Thanks for the info, certainly looks like he’s doing good work, I may have to find an excuse to head over again!!

          • Mark Mahan

            Any reason to visit Orvieto is a good one. Especially Federico’s shoes!