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Scarpa - Products of Tomorrow

Scarpa from Today to the Future.

When the pillars of success are nature, fun and imagination you will be wearing the products of tomorrow because these are the foundations of Scarpa®. Taking memories, traditions, and experiences from today to the future.

To become a Master in ancient times took great skill, learning, focus and time. Nothing was rushed and everything was studied. Plato said “Excellence is not a gift, but a skill that takes practice. We do not act ‘rightly’ because we are excellent’, in fact we achieve ‘excellence’ by acting ‘rightly’.” The Parisotto family have built there brand on excellence, they had the ambition to transform their products using all the skill of the old masters of Italy but not compromising on patience.

Luigi Parisotto’s story begins amongst the olive groves and vineyards of an enchanting town called Asolo in Italy. In this most luscious of countryside which as seen the likes of Eleonora Duse, Pietro Bembo, Giosué Carducci, Igor Stravinsky, Ada Negri, Gian Francesco Malipiero, Ernest Hemingway, Carlo Scarpa, Freya Stark, Wilma Neruda and many others visit to take in the Italian landscape at it’s best, Luigi began his apprenticeship with the best footwear artisans in the area.

In 1938 Lord Rupert Edward Cecil Guinness, second Earl of Iveagh, a wealthy Anglo-Irish businessman who had built his reputation on being an able politician, a charitable nobleman and an enthusiastic supporter of science as well as the chairman of the Guinness family brewing business, felt the desire to give work and a better future to craftsmen skilled in leather making in Asolo where he was a prolific landowner. He created the Calzaturieri Asolani Riuniti Pedemontana Anonima (Association of Footwear Manufacturers from the mountain area of Asolo) S.C.A.R.P.A, this was to become offered to the locals as an opportunity to become one single business entity. In 1942 Luigi Parisotto was hired.

 Boot makers in Italy

Village life was hard in 1940 Italy and villagers tended not to wander to far from home, living and breathing traditional family life. Asolo was known as The City of a Hundred Horizons but tourism was far in the future and jobs were not abundant. Most family members tended to follow the industry bloodline of their ancestors.

 

 Asolo Italian Boot village

 

For fourteen years Luigi mastered his craftsmanship until 1956 when alongside his two brothers Francesco and Antonio he eventually took over SCARPA. A huge responsibility and great challenge lay before them but with the community of Asolo and seventeen master shoemakers behind them they produced their first brand the San Giorgio and the brothers began to realise their dream.

In 1965 an American from Boston visited Asolo, he discovered the quality and workmanship of the footwear being produced and seized the opportunity to distribute the products into the world. In 1960 SCARPA entered not only the US market but also the Canadian, German, Australian and UK markets. Production increased from 10,000 to 120,000, whilst staff rose from 17 to 50.

Incorporating the Norwegian welt (also known as a "storm welt" or "waterproof welt"), into their shoemaking expertise, which is notable as it prevents water from entering the shoe at the seam between the shoes' upper and the welt. ... The shoe's upper and interior components sit atop a full leather midsole, stacked leather heel and an Italian-made Cortina lug sole, made it possible for Luigi and his brothers to make not only the mountain and high-altitude footwear but also ski boots and leather Telemark boots.

With the tenacity of the three brothers at the forefront of progress and the ancient art of the old masters in their hearts the business literally found its feet amongst some reputable brands and even more reputable customers. The Italian Forest guards, the alpine rescue, the Italian, American, French, Spanish and Indian Armies. SCARPA is still the official supplier of the Cortina d'Ampezzo, San Martino di Castrozza and Courmayeur Alpine guides and of many other sports associations today.

In the 1970’s under heavy economic recession whilst most companies are trying to stay afloat SCARPA is still soaring. Mountaineering, especially in the Himalays was becoming big business and SCARPA was becoming a recognised brand with a 60% market share in export production. Scarpa seized onto the mountaineering take off and began to produce their first sports climbing shoes. They also began to research how to produce a high-altitude boot of premium quality which would be much lighter and have a removable inner made from the very precious German wool felt.

By the end of the decade, they had found a solution in Pebax® (a block copolymer used in the 1970s to make strings for tennis rackets), this allowed the first ever production of high-altitude plastic footwear – the Grinta – the evolution of which is now the current and mythical Vega.

By the 1980’s the next generation had grown enough to join the business. SCARPA had become a global brand with Iceland, Poland, Slovenia, and Hong Kong added to the list of distributable countries. The collections grow with the company and family members joining the business. New entrepreneurial ideas broaden the spectrum of the products. New models are created and always improving, quality craftmanship is never compromised.

Through the 90’s the consolidation of the business under the new generation carried renewed optimism, innovative ideas and fresh targets to reach. In 1992 Luigi had one of his great creative revelations. While observing the rubber covering of the shock absorbers of cross motorbikes, he believed he could create a sort of Telemark bending stress- resistant bellow. The result of the fruitful cooperation between SCARPA®, Paul Parker and the great Pietro Aimonetto resulted in one of the most revolutionary concepts in the technical ski footwear sector: the first Telemark system plastic hull produced worldwide.  This innovation will place SCARPA® at the helm of the Telemark and agonistics ski mountaineering sector, where the same manufacturing technology is applied.

In 1996 Scarpa moved into a purpose unit and immediately increased the square footage from 2500 sq mtrs to 6000 sq mtrs.

Scarpa Factory

Since the 1940’s to the present day SCARPA has gone through years of complexity, international competition, continuous change in purchasing behaviours, globalization and environmental decision making but they have never lost their Italian passion.

SCARPA is a company that knows how to innovate with courage and determination, through its staff, directors, and products. A brand with a community behind it is a brand you can trust to take you from today into the future.