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About Norman Vilalta Bespoke Shoemakers

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 to create and contribute to the world in a more meaningful way. Importantly, he wanted to work with his hands.

Norman had an appreciation for well made shoes and an interest in shoe making but there was no clear career path.

"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."

- Simon Crompton of Permanent Style

In 2002 Norman made the bold decision to move halfway across the world to Florence, Italy where hand craft was valued and there were opportunities to learn.

It was in Florence where he worked as an apprentice for a number of master shoemakers, including renown shoemaker Stefano Bemer and Saskia Wittmer.

It was in Florence where Norman learned the art of bespoke shoes.

Heeding to Stefano Bemer's advice to remove himself from the confines of the traditional shoe industry of Florence, in 2004 Norman "left the walls of the city" to start his own workshop in Barcelona, Spain.

For the first 10 years of Norman´s career as a shoemaker, he worked exclusively on bespoke shoes for clients from around the world.

Bespoke gave Norman the opportunity to work with feet of all sizes, shapes, and forms, and helped him to develop a deep understanding of every detailed process of shoe making.

From working with different types of leathers, to hand-lasting and hand-welting, to developing his own patinas and color combinations, Norman perfected every process and mastered the craft.

This experience also allowed him to experiment with design which resulted in his unique design lines and the creation of his signature Asymmetric Pattern-making method.

In 2014, Norman realized that the world of bespoke was limited to a very small and exclusive niche. He wanted the ability to bring the beauty of bespoke to a broader audience without comprimising on quality or skilled handwork.

To achieve this, Norman took a year off from working with clients to apply his bespoke shoe making experience to engineer his own ready-to-wear lasts. His goal was to develop lasts that could bring the fit of a bespoke shoe to a much wider audience.

Importantly, Norman decided that his ready-to-wear shoes would all be hand-finished, a process that takes 4 to 6 hours per pair and can only be done by a skilled artisan.

Since the introduction of the Condal Collection, Norman has created an extensive line of ready-to-wear shoes and boots that have the fit of a bespoke shoe and are all beautifully hand-finished before delivery.

Over the last few years, Norman also started to grow a small team. The team is now five people who wear multiple hats -- from bespoke shoemaking, to managing the website and Barcelona retail store, to product development, customer service, organizing trunk shows, and wholesale.

Norman Vilalta's Artisanal readymade shoes have been featured in publications such as EsquireGQT Magazine of the New York Times, and Monocle and they are worn by men from around the world who have a deep appreciation of the art and craft of shoemaking.

Making friends along the way

Over the last 20 years of working in men's footwear, Norman Vilalta has been blessed to meet and collaborate with leading menswear professionals, fellow designers, and shoe aficionados.

Read on for more information about our journey into the world of artisanal shoes.

Discover making friends along the way