Many of you might have not ever heard of Bettanin & Venturi and it comes as no surprise as they are only a 22 year old company (the history is much older though) that for the most part of their existence solely specialized in Norvegese construction and things that were on the heavier and chunky side of the shoe spectrum. But that has all changed now as I believe that they realized that specializing in only one thing can only take you so far and it’s never far enough. The world of shoes is forever changing and in order to stay alive in it, one must keep up with the time. Just look at all of the classic British companies now doing patina on their shoes, making them in green, blue, grey and the likes. Thirty years ago they probably wouldn’t have dreamed of making blue dress shoes for men to wear with work attire. But if they didn’t change that mentality they would have quickly been left behind only to be surviving on their older clientele and their son’s.
While having known about B&V for many years I never had the opportunity to see nor gain much knowledge about the brand, until I met them at Pitti, Jan. 2016. All I had is what I had seen in pictures and that was still not much. So as I usually do during Pitti, I take my daily strolls around the complex to see what is new, interesting and worth of showing to all of you on the blog. I came across their new stand of which I had never seen before and was intrigued by what I saw, especially as the first thing that caught my eye was a button boot and we all know how I feel about those. So I went up to inquire and see what was new and different about them. It was clear that the reason for being at Pitti was simply for the sake of growing the brand on a larger scale and venturing more into traditional classic welted shoes. �In doing so they can appeal to more shops to buy their shoes and ultimately more clients to wear them as like I said, the Norvegese look is only going to appeal to so many.
I now had something to write about but needed to know what the shoes were like first hand before really recommending them. So I asked them for a pair in exchange for a write up in order to review their shoes and the potential of the brand. Needless to say, I went for a button boot, especially as I was intrigued with this new patina like leather that they had started using, which although quite strong for many people, I found to be quite interesting. They agreed to this and then it became a wait for the boots. I ended getting them in June, but this was a bit too close to Summer to start writing about button boots so I decided to take the pictures for them but hold off on the post until it started getting a bit colder. The problem with that though, was that in the 4 months of waiting I somehow lost the original images of the shoes so had to re-shoot them after already wearing them so please do forgive the creases on the leather and marks on the sole. They came brand new.
Okay now for the shoes. First and foremost, they are handwelted. But the soles are stitched by machine. As you can see the do a closed channel sole, but this is standard for a shoe of this calibre. They feel like a very solid shoe, one that would last you 50 years. But then again, most handwelted shoes do. That is their perk. They feel sturdy as if you could never wear them down. For some that is a good thing, for others not so much as they like flexible and soft shoes. These are not that. They are proper shoes. As far as the feel goes, they were top notch, like I said, like they would last you forever which in my mind is good value for money. Boots like this start at around €850 (but not quire sure if that comes with all the perks that I received i.e. lasted shoe trees and shoe horn etc). So as far as quality of making goes, there was nothing to complain about. The upper stitching was flawless and so was the finishing of the soles and I loved the nail details on the heel. Good attention to detail there.
The issues arose in the finishing as you can see in some of the pictures. For a boot of that price, one does not expect to see large scratches and scuffs on the surface of the shoe. I could also see that the finishing of the heel and waist looked done hastily i.e. not with precision and finesse. For some these things don’t matter, but for many they do and while I can always understand the nature of a factory after having dealt with one for so long now, one always must put themselves in the eye of the customer too. It’s a fine balance between what you should get at which pricepoint. Perfection cannot always be expected but there are degrees to the exceptions of perfection as well. A scuff and cut of this nature should not be there, at least not for paying client. I don’t mind personally but I know that someone paying upwards of €900 would.
My only other gripe was the pattern of the button area. Now, I have shallow feet and skinny ankles/calves and while the UK6.5 felt slightly roomy in the forefoot the thing that threw me off was the narrowness of the shaft. I could barely close the last button and having it done up was not very comfortable. Never before had I felt that as I have skinny legs. You can see the issue with the closure on the picture with the white arrows, The ripples means that it was too tight and you can see that there were many. It makes me fear for someone who has muscular calves or a high instep. But that is the difficulty of the button boot. The pattern is hard to get right. So hopefully B&V can read this as helpful feedback as I want them to succeed.
But if we go back to my original statement of them being solid, well made shoes, that still stands. I am sure that their oxfords are great. The button boot is a hard one to get right. And the presentation of the package itself was very nice. All of the details were there and that is important. And what’s nice to know is that should you want monogramming, that it can be done.
For any questions that you may have on the brand, please do not hesitate to email: � [email protected]