In our shoe selection for 2015/2016 we wrote the following review on the famous Italian brand Bontoni :
“When I think Bontoni, I think exuberance with daring patinas in hues rarely seen…I think delicate balancing work between elegant discretion and original twists. I can also smell the fragrant leather, and feast my mind’s eye on its delicate deep gold-brownish tint à la crème brûlée.
I can also safely say that I haven’t seen more than five pairs of Bontoni in my life.
As desirable as theses shoes might be, they are practically impossible to find in Europe – as Bontoni, much like Scarpe Di Bianco, is fully dedicated to the U.S. Market. You might find a pair here and there elsewhere in the world, by random chance or through a few specific stores, like the Shoes and Shirts e-Store in the Netherlands, but each model displayed on the website has a small label you must click in order to “request availability”, meaning that the shoes may not be in stock.
Bontoni is yet another Italian brand that seems to revel in its limited international availability. But who are they really ?
The brand was created in 2004 by Franco Gazziani, whose Grandfather was the head of Valentini, one of Italy’s major shoemakers during the 1950’s. Bontoni is in fact a tiny workshop located in Franco Gazziani’s very own cellar, on his personal property, somewhere in Montegranaro in the Marches region, staffed with seven artisans and Franco’s father.
As you may have guessed from my introductory lines, one of the main draws of Bontoni’s is their mastery of colors and patinas (among a few other things, like their perfect execution of Norwegian stitching).
Whereas many brands are content with simply adding a tinge to an already beige or brown leather, Bontoni goes way beyond the call of duty by creating their colors from scratch. Bontoni craftsmen use a red-hot iron to open the pores of white leather, then brush-paint the leather, applying numerous layers of colors using a mixture of wax and various creams. The process can take up to two weeks.
Having seen a few pairs, I can guarantee that Bontoni’s mastery of the fine art of the patina is neither folklore nor crap marketing – but rather a splendid piece of work by artisans that do things differently. The brand is very Italian in spirit and styling, but there’s also a little something unique about each pair, and we at PG simply love it.
++ : The Bontoni touch is real, the patinas are to die for.
— : Hard to find outside of the U.S.
A few days ago, we received a mail from a PG reader living in Belgium and thought it would be helpful to share his mail with you as a firsthand testimony on how to find Bontoni shoes in Europe.
A big thank you to Yannick for this highly useful information !
“Dear Parisan gentlemen and women,
I’m an avid reader of your website and I can be honest when I say that you were the main contributor to my sartorial development over the past two years! So, many thanks for that!
I was reading your 2015-2016 shoe review again and noted that Hugo said how hard it was to find Bontoni shoes in Europe. I’m sad to say that it is indeed true. However, Hugo also mentioned a particular shoe store in Holland that had a collection (the store name is “Shoes and Shirts“).
It so happens to be that this shop is located pretty close to my home and this Saturday I went there to check out some shoes. Maybe it would be of interest to you to know that Shoes and Shirts sells quite a number of Bontoni models at the moment and that they have a reasonable stock. Furthermore, they can order most any size needed.
So it might be the place for readers in Belgium and the Netherlands [and throughout Europe] to order a pair of these amazing shoes! The shop itself is great with a nice collection of shoes and very friendly and helpful staff.
I couldn’t resist myself and bought a nice pair of Italo boots.
I figured I would share this information with you since you all seemed to be big Bontoni enthusiasts (and I think many readers with you, as well).
Keep up the amazing work!
Best regards, Yannick”.
EDIT : We’ve just received a mail from the famous (and beautiful) store PAUW Mannen in Amsterdam to let us know Bontoni shoes are available at their store, and other models (mostly loafers) are available at their online shop. See the informations below.
— — —
Shoes and Shirts : Website
Havenstraat 23, MAASTRICHT – NETHERLANDS
Tél : +31 43 325 55 18
E-mail : firstname.lastname@example.org
Pauw Mannen : Website
Baerlestraat 88-90, AMSTERDAM – NETHERLANDS
Tél : +31 (0)20 671 09 67