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Italy and Spain Gets This DTC Footwear Brand’s Business

The DTC brand that recently launched its own 3D-printed and machine-washable sneaker, Oliver Cabell, is back to generating footwear industry buzz.

On Nov. 11, Oliver Cabell CEO Scott Gabrielson announced plans for the shoe brand to move 100 percent of its high-end sneaker production from Spain to Italy at a time when that country’s footwear production is on the decline. Oliver Cabell had already been sourcing about 70 percent of its sneakers from the region.

“We wanted to double down on the quality side of things, and decided to move all production to Italy as a result,” Gabrielson wrote in an email sent to Sourcing Journal. “Our sneakers are now using 100 percent Italian components: outsoles from the coveted Margom, a propriety calfskin leather upper we developed with an Italian tannery, and custom Italian laces and insoles.”

Oliver Cabell will be incorporating a screen printing technique for its footwear logos that is usually reserved for price points that exceed the $500 mark, Gabrielson said. The brand also made “minor adjustments” to its lasts and the finishing of the leather in its sneakers, he said, rebuilding silhouettes completely in some cases.

Oliver Cabell said that it would also be raising its sneaker prices by about $10 to adjust for the quality improvement.

Starting Nov. 19, Oliver Cabell began selling premium boots alongside its collection of sneakers and casual shoes.

Oliver Cabell releases boots after transferring the brand's production to Italy
Oliver Cabell will source its outsoles from Italian footwear supplier, Margom. Oliver Cabell

“We wanted to build our boots from the ground up, selecting heavily vetted suppliers for every component. Because of how intricate we were getting with every detail we soon realized we had to get as close as possible to building the boots ourselves, so we bought part of a factory,” Gabrielson explained.

“This also helped us get over our other biggest challenge: to offer premium quality boots at an attainable price,” he added. “We wanted to use the best materials around, but unlike many high-end boot brands (like Alden or Viberg) we didn’t want them to cost $600 to $700.”

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Oliver Cabell’s new Spanish boot factory gives the brand greater control over production and lower costs, with one boot style made for $30 percent less than it would be otherwise, Gabrielson said. Now, each of the three styles, the SB 1, the Mock and the Wilson, retail for between $238 to $248.

“To properly pay homage to the category, we felt we needed to focus on making the best old-world-quality boot possible,” Gabrielson said of the footwear that launched in natural leather, brown, black and suede colorways. “Like our sneakers, we strive to offer handcrafted boots using old school shoemaking and the finest materials. Ninety percent of our shoes are made with cobblers using simple tools.”

The Oliver Cabell team spent two years researching suppliers and factories in the area, eventually landing on a full-grain pull leather from a tannery in Spain. The brand also said it plans to release new styles weekly.