Scarpa North America Blog

A look at the different ways of building mountain footwear

Sep. 12th 2013

The different kinds of sports you can do in the mountains are as varied as the great mountain ranges of the world. Thus, it’s no surprise that there are different approaches to building the various kinds of mountain footwear for different sports.

Do you need a lot of support for carrying a big pack or a rigid midsole for climbing steep ice? Or do you need to feel the surface of the rock to gain maximum friction for climbing, or perhaps increase shock absorption on the trail for running?

In its 75 years in existence, the SCARPA brand has slowly, methodically grown beside people’s relationship with the mountains, crafting tools to reflect a growing experience in the hills. As the sports have evolved, so has the way SCARPA builds its footwear, to meet the changing needs of people in the mountains, and address the latest ways that people are approaching mountain activities.

Much of SCARPA’s success traces back to the Parisotto family, who’ve been the backbone of the company since its establishment 75 years ago. Three brothers, Francesco, Luigi and Antonio, had close ties to the mountains outside of their hometown of Asolo, Italy. Working with some of the most revered protagonists in Italian mountaineering, they designed and built shoes and boots — many done completely by hand — that are every bit as much a part of climbing’s heritage as they are a part of SCARPA. Today, their children run the business and their ties to SCARPA’s history are strong as ever.

This manufacturing short is not only a snapshot into the history of SCARPA, but also a window into the craftsmanship inherent in the SCARPA manufacturing process. Seeing how a shoe is made gives the user a unique perspective about why it is made a certain way.

In its shoes build for activities like climbing, hiking running and backpacking, SCARPA has three distinctive manufacturing processes: board lasted, slip or “stroebel” lasted, and direct attach, each having their unique virtues that strive to be the perfect shoe for the right applications. The video here breaks down the concept behind each of these construction methods.

SCARPA is one of many world-class manufacturers of shoes and boots in the Asolo region of Italy. What sets them apart is their commitment to their legacy. The Parisottos own their own factory in Italy, and — for lighter trail shoes — are partners in a production facility in Asia that’s dedicated solely to building SCARPA footwear with the same time-tested knowledge and processes developed over 75 years of heritage in Italy.

The Parisottos have passed the business down from one generation to the next. Through that process, they’ve managed to understand the nuances of mountain culture and stay focused on developing the newest technologies, which – when combined – might just be the secret to producing the best footwear in the world.

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