Walking All Over The World With La Sportiva

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The La Sportiva brand that we know so well today as a giant in climbing, mountaineering and skiing footwear has very down to earth origins. In some ways, those humble beginnings are still at the core of what the company does now, and that is why it is such an enduring, and even beloved name in the world of outdoor pursuits.

In 1928, Narciso Delladio started making boots and clogs for farmers and lumberjacks in his native Italy. The comfort and durability of his footwear caught the attention of the nation’s military and during the Second World War, he was asked to custom-make mountaineering boots for Italian soldiers. After the war, when the world had more leisurely pursuits in mind, he began to make ski boots and first introduced a brand name that has stuck: La Sportiva. Today, it’s a name associated with high-quality footwear for more strenuous outdoor activities including mountaineering, skiing and climbing. It’s in demand all over the world, particularly where alpine sports are popular e.g. North America, Europe and New Zealand, where outdoor retailers stock a large range that reflects the country’s affinity with its mountainous landscape.

The company’s modest beginnings are reflected today in its main factory in the Italian mountain village of Ziano di Fiemme. Main might make it sound a little grand; it’s a small 250-person operation at the foot of the Dolomites range in north-east Italy. La Sportiva supports 140 families in this unique and beautiful alpine environment, and the people working in the factory continue the company’s proud heritage. It’s still very much a family-run operation with eight decades of experience and skill handed down through the generations. That’s not to say the company isn’t scared to work with new technologies and ideas, but there’s still a quaint and almost nostalgic feel about this family-owned company supporting local workers in a regional area. This has generated a lot of goodwill towards La Sportiva from customers who see it as not a corporation – although it is – but as more of a family concern with the welfare of the local community at heart. It goes a long way to explaining the worldwide loyalty to the brand.

In today’s ultra-competitive footwear industry, where pricing pressures force many companies to outsource to off-shore factories in third world nations, there is something refreshing about La Sportiva. It is a global name in the world of footwear but it retains a certain small town appeal that has been very good for business.

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