"Norman Vilalta is one of my favourite bespoke artisans. Enthusiastic, talented and down-to-earth. His creations can often be fantastical, but he also does a nice line in conservative shoes with little touches of personality."
At the age of 31, Norman Vilalta realized that his career as a corporate lawyer in Argentina lacked the artistic aspects of life that were important to him. He yearned for an opportunity that would enable him to create and contribute to the world. He had an appreciation for well made shoes and an interest in shoe making but there was no clear career path.
In 2004 Norman made the bold decision to move halfway across the world to Florence, Italy. It was in Florence where he studied as an apprentice for a number of master shoemakers, including renown shoemaker Stefano Bemer. It was in Florence where he learned the art of handmade shoes.
For the first 10 years of Norman´s career as a shoemaker, he worked exclusively on bespoke shoes for clients from around the globe out of his atelier in Barcelona, Spain.
Bespoke gave him the opportunity to work with feet of all sizes, shapes, and forms, and helped him develop a deep understanding of every aspect of shoe making.
From working with different types of leathers, to hand and Goodyear welting, to developing his own patinas and color combinations, Norman perfected every process and mastered the craft.
In 2014, Norman decided that it was time to reach a broader audience. Norman took a year off from working with clients to apply his bespoke shoe making experience to engineer a ready-to-wear last. His goal was to develop a last that could bring the fit of a bespoke shoe to a much wider audience.
Since then, Norman has launched an extensive line of ready-to-wear shoes and boots that have the fit and hand finishing of a bespoke shoe and include Norman´s signature hand made patinas.
Importantly, Norman also started to grow a small team. The team is now five people who wear multiple hats -- managing everything from making shoes to hand finishing, to managing the website and Barcelona retail store, to product development, customer service, organizing trunk shows, and wholesale with a handful of strategic retailers.
Norman Vilalta's ready-to-wear shoes have been featured in publications such as Esquire, GQ, T Magazine, and Monocle and they are worn by men from around the world who have a deep appreciation of the art and craft of shoemaking.
To better understand what makes Norman Vilalta's ready-to-wear shoes special, please read the editorial The Art of Hand Finishing, Part 1.
To read about what the shoe world is saying about us, visit our In the Press Page.
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