Discover the story of Mario Bertulli shoes: Interview with Chiara and Alexandra Bertulli

Mario Bertulli - from Brescia in Italy - invented the idea of creating shoes for men seeking both height and comfort with ‘shoe elevation’. By creating the Mario Bertulli brand of height increasing shoes, 48 years ago, he chose to put all his passion into Italian handcrafted men's footwear. To find out more, we spoke to his daughters Chiara, and Alexandra.

What was the origin of the concept of the Mario Bertulli shoe brand? How did you father develop it?

Alexandra: My dad read a lot, took notes, thought, attended conferences and more ... I don't remember the origin of the brand, but it certainly came from his studying and from the desire to do something that was useful to others.

Chiara: It occured to my father to develop elevator shoes during a trip to the USA.

What do you think makes the Mario Bertulli brand and Mario Bertulli shoes special, and different from other shoe brands?

Chiara: First of all height increasing shoes must be invisible to others - the concept of shoe elevation has become a great success thanks to its discretion. But the brand is special thanks to the better design compared to some of its commercial rivals, its creativity and thanks to the use of the best quality materials: both in terms of quality and comfort.

Alexandra: He studied every original model, designed every line, chose every color, and put the details together with experts in the industry. Each model was a "creation". My father always focused on quality materials, on suppliers of excellent components. I think those who have copied him have not made the same choices. Quality is expensive.

How important was your father’s research into medieval production techniques in the development of his shoes?

Alexandra: It was part of his way of dealing with life to take things seriously, to look deeply, to read, and to the study of history - medieval history in this particular case.

As the son of a master shoemaker, was your father always going to be a shoemaker?


Chiara:
I have few memories of my father. But what I remember most is a story he told which made me smile. When he was a child, just primary school age, a man had taken him under his wing... This man saw something special in this little boy and took him to sell cakes with him. My father told me that this man wanted to adopt him, but my grandfather didn't want that, so that's how my father’s potential career as a baker ended. After that he became passionate about shoes because his father was a very clever master shoemaker. He had made the last pair of boots for the «Duce» when his soldiers came and led him to his residence in Gargnano, without saying a word. It was fate… my father has this vocation in his blood.

Alexandra: I remember that when I was a child he also sold other items by mail, but these memories are distant. Throughout my life the shoes designed and sold by my father have been my daily life.

What do you remember of your father’s work when you were a child? Did you watch him work?


Alexandra:
I remember many things about my father, but above all I remember the great ability to transmit courage and to encourage me to choose my path. Yes, I got to see him work, when I studied during the summer I often went around with him at work and it was very nice.

What was your father like as a person? How was he regarded across the world of shoemaker?

Alexandra:
My father was an incredible man, a gentleman from another era. He always smiled, he always had a kind word for everyone. He worked tirelessly, dedicating body and soul to his passions and his family. He had many friends, many in the industry, he was esteemed by all for his originality. Even his way of dressing spoke volumes about him... he always wore something colorful with accessories like a hat or scarf. He had psoriasis with arthritis that accompanied him throughout his life and which represented a great source of pain for him. My father was always in pain, yet he never complained. The pains in his hands were sometimes so severe that he could not tie his shirt ... I remember when he asked me for help sometimes.

Chiara:
He was a simple person, enjoying life and beautiful but simple things, enjoying company, eating and drinking well. He listened to people, liked human contact, and was always looking for new but simple things. It's his passion for his work which made him famous: a shoemaker always willing to fulfil the needs of a person and make someone's life better - just through a pair of shoes