As you probably know, babú are designed and handmade in Italy. Italy boasts the largest shoe production in Europe, but most importantly, Italian made shoes are recognized all over the world for their outstanding quality. There are several shoe making districts in Italy, the most famous ones being located in the Lombardia, Campania and Marche regions. Babú are made in Lombardia, in a town called Vigevano, nearby Milan. Vigevano has a long tradition of shoe making and it is renowned for its high-end women segment. Brands such as Manolo Blahnik, Hermés and Chanel outsource their shoe production to local artisans. Since the 1950s Vigevano bears the nickname of ‘world capital of shoemaking’, a sort of Silicon Valley for high quality shoes!
The beatiful central square of Vigevano, the ‘capital of shoemaking’
At babú, our slip-on loafers are developed and produced in small laboratories whose core values are build quality and attention to detail. Our shoes are made in limited batches that take up to a month to be completed, allowing enough time to ensure that each pair of slippers is comfortable, durable and free of imperfections. We have always believed in quality over quantity and prefer our way of doing things over achieving quicker scale and lower costs through a more industrialized approach. In the following paragraph we will deep dive in the production process of our babú.
Hand stitching of the uppers and linings
Firstly, we start with an idea, which must be brought to life by a shoe designer or ‘modellista’. This experienced professional will create the technical drawings necessary to build the shoe last as well as the sole. Once these are ready, the preparations of the uppers and linings can begin. For the production of our slip-on loafers, we utilize a variety of premium materials, from nappa leather to velvet, suede, jacquard and linen, you can find here some of our favorites! The selected material will be laser-cut to minimize waste and then handstitched to create the uppers and the linings. In the meantime, a specialized laboratory will have produced our natural buffalo leather soles, ready to be attached to the upper. But first, the shoe must be molded around the last to give it its iconic shape! The molding process is arguably the most striking to watch as it requires a perfect balance of strength and precision. This step is a testament to the passion and skill of Vigevano’s artisans.
Molding the shoe on its last is incredible to watch!
Time to attach the soles! Traditionally, there are three main methods to attach a sole to its upper: Goodyear Welt, Blake Stitch and Cementing. Babú are made with a particular cementing method which utilizes a cork filling to ensure a long-lasting attachment and a softer feel on the foot for comfort. The handmade loafers are then set to rest for a couple of days before going through a round of final touches to ensure that each pair is perfect in every detail, just like this one!