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How Pikolinos Keeps Spanish Traditions Alive

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Pikolinos’ Spanish history molds together classic artisanship with modern designs for a shoe that is drenched in comfort and laid-back fashion. Pikolinos President Juan Perán started the comfort shoe brand in Spain in 1984, and today manufactures in both Asia and Spain, ensuring “Pikolinos quality” by carefully monitoring production. The brand’s tanneries also reside in Spain, where it does all of its water-based finishing for leather.

Perán considers Pikolinos to be a “Spanish brand made in the world” and accepts the responsibility to carry on the country’s tradition of shoemaking. “That’s why we want to produce at least half a million pairs in Spain. The leather we use in all shoes is the leather that we use from our tannery here in Spain,” he said.

A signature of the brand is its rich leather, updated in new seasonal colors and treatments each season. Vamp spoke to Perán about the Fall ’17 collection and how it aims to bring a touch of the Mediterranean to all of its footwear.

VAMP: What does it mean to you to be a ‘Made in Spain’ brand?
Perán: Everyone tells us that when they open a box of Pikolinos shoes it’s like they open the feeling of the Mediterranean Sea. We use water-based leather treatments, which makes a very natural finish. The technique creates a very natural brush on the leather. Also, the handwork on the shoes gives them the artisan feeling that we have here in the Mediterranean.
VAMP: What are some of the traditional shoemaking techniques you use in your manufacturing?
Perán: We use hand stitching for the leather, the insole, also hand stitching from the leather upper directly to the sole. The hand stitching of leather to leather makes a glove-like construction. We don’t overcoat the leather. So, what you see is the natural leather. When we combine that with the hand stitching, it makes the leather flexible. The leather takes the shape of the feet—that is something very unique to Pikolinos.

VAMP: Is there pressure to move toward more automated manufacturing for faster or cheaper product?
Perán: We want to have the highest productivity for the factory we have here in Spain. To do that we’re introducing new technology, investing in new machines, new ways we can do better or more in the same factory. To be faster and cheaper—we are not in that business. We invest a lot in the fit, in the shape. When we see that there is some brand or some trend more concerned with fast and cheap product, we are kind of happy because we know that their consumers have yet to move over to a comfortable and fashionable shoe. We know that sooner or later, they will be our consumers.

VAMP: What’s new for Fall ’17?
Perán: For Fall ’17, we are actually having quite a big evolution in our line because we saw the big changes in fashion last season. We used to have rounded, thin soles. Now, we are going into thicker soles, always with the flexibility and comfort of Pikolinos. Also the last is going into a bit more rounded square and pointed toe. Pointed toe is a challenge for us because we have to make a pointed toe comfortable. We also don’t want to lose our fit. We’re seeing some textures and textiles that are coming in, but that is something we have to combine because our main material is always leather.

This article originally appeared in the February issue of VAMP as part of a series “The New Traditionalist”. Check out the complete issue here.

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