The treasure of buried shoes
The seasoning of the shoes in the pits is an amazing aging process of the lather which gain nuances and shades so peculiar and unique that cannot be reproduced.
In 2005, this unique idea of burying 50 pairs of shoes in pits was inspired by an ancient Roman habit which is still surprisingly carried on in some parts of Italy.
The method of the “infossamento” (burying in the pits) was used since ancient Rome in order to preserve grains, cheese and food during the winter. When aging food, especially cheese, acquires a unique flavor with a rich peculiar fragrance.
The process of ageing in “fossa”
The “fosse”, flasks shaped, are about 3 meters deep by 2 meters wide. Inside the pits the temperature is 10° C. with an ambient humidity of around 40%. At first the shoes were put on a carpet of straw and peat which protect them from rain.
The shoes can stay in pits for years, that won’t ruin the shoe- upper, as shown by the pairs taken out in 2008, 4 years after being buried. They were perfectly intact no matter the infiltration of water and mud. An unpredictable result without the usage of first choice leather.
The subsequent treatment
After the extraction from the “fosse” (pits), it began the necessary procedure to make the shoes wearable and give value to the colors achieved. The upper is cleaned, moisturized, and reassembled on a wooden last, where it will remain to dry naturally for at least 2 weeks. At the end of this period, we continue with the application of a new sole, and the final maintenance of the upper.
The last process enhances the variations in colors and stains, different shades of green, yellow and red. We do not do anything but clean the upper completely from the residues and polish it: the antique finish has been wisely provided by Mother Nature.
Every model and every type of animal skin can be aged deep in a pit, including alligator and ostrich. The time for aging depends on variable and unpredictable factors (sun, rain, infiltrations than can go into the pit, earth minerals and plug flows). Therefore the shoes are taken out periodically (usually every 3-4 months) in order to be shown to the clients who ordered them, they will decide to continue with the aging period or not.
In this moment, about 40 pairs of shoes continue to “rest” in the 2 fosse (pits) that were not opened in 2008. The result of the infossamento, the nuances that the upper takes with earth contact and weather is still unknown.
Maybe this is part of this beauty, the certainty to have on your feet a unique piece throughout the world.