Rupert Edward Cecil Lee Guinness, 2nd Earl of Iveagh, was the English nobleman who established Scarpa.
With a history spanning nearly 75 years, Scarpa have a background of rich tradition, which all began with Lord Iveagh starting a business in a northern Italian village simply to bring its native leather skills to a wider audience.
A young employee by the name of Luigi Parisotto, who learned his trade from the age of just 11 from local master craftsmen – later helped forge the reputation of the Societ Calzaturiera Asolana Riunita Pedemontana Anomina.
Known Throughout the World
Translated into English as The Associated Shoe Manufacturing Company of the Asolo Mountains, Scarpa are now known throughout the world for the highest-quality rock shoes, mountain boots and hiking and walking footwear.
The family Parisotto had the foresight to transform the basic, farmworkers’ boot on which the business was founded into a range of specialist footwear sought after by outdoor enthusiasts across the globe.
From slowly-acquired skills and techniques honed in humble surroundings in a village barn, Parisotto was joined by brothers Francesco and Antonio to develop his ideas into not only a family firm, but one which encompassed the entire area and provided employment for the local population.
It took a great deal of debt, tenacity, and 17 master shoemakers to realise their ambitions, but together they began to see their dreams come true, and in 1965 their horizons broadened as they entered the North American market for the first time.
During the ‘60s, annual production began to rise, and hit 120,000 pairs a year by the end of the decade, hand-crafted by a team of 50 employees.
Technical footwear had started to propel the company onto the international stage, leading to production lines which now include trademark trekking boots used by the Italian, French, Spanish and Indian armies, and mountain boots favoured by Alpine guides and rescue teams.
From Oceania to the Orient
In the 1970s, exports reached a market share of 60% of output, from Europe to the Americas, Oceania to the Orient, confirming Scarpa as the brand of quality.
New markets were conquered in New Zealand and Japan, and their very first sports climbing shoes appeared, along with high altitude boots which revolutionised the industry.
The Grinta – later to evolve into the current Vega – was born, and Alpine ski boots were added to the Scarpa stable.
Within another decade, Hong Kong, Iceland, Poland and Slovenia became part of Scarpa’s global trading ground, and research and development continued to introduce new hi-tech, hi-spec innovations which have continued to this day.
Walking enthusiast and Scarpa fan Nicki Williams writes for Gear-Zone, specialists in outdoor footwear, camping equipment and sportswear
Photo source: Gear-Zone/Scarpa