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If you've been anywhere in my vicinity within the past six months, you've heard me scream that I'm going to Italy soon. (Even if you haven't, just clicking this article was all it took!) After three years of being more or less housebound, I finally planned A Big Trip, the two-week dose of adventure and aspirational living that my body instantly converts to serotonin.
And when it comes to pure, unadulterated vibes, no one delivers like the Italians. From the endless parade of pastas to the highly civilized 5 pm aperitivo hour, they just do it all right – and nowhere is their supremacy more indisputable than in shoemaking. The phrase "Italian shoes" alone connotes sheer excellence, and as someone in desperate need of new looks for my fortnight abroad, I decided to turn to the masters.
Within minutes of putting feelers out for Italian shoe brands, one answer kept coming back loud and clear: Del Toro. As a Miami-based brand that manufactures its shoes in Napoli, Del Toro brings tradition into the modern day, with shoes inspired by classic Italian silhouettes that still have a fun, playful, dare-we-say-Miamian edge.
If I wasn't already sold on the kicks themselves, I was officially swept away when I heard the story of the brand’s reinvention just a few years ago. It starts off with possibly the most satisfied customer of all time…
FROM CUSTOMER TO CEO
Usually, when you find the perfect pair of shoes, you fill in your friends and maybe tag the brand on social. In Andrew Robert's case, he bought the whole damn company. So smitten was Roberts with the blue chukka sneakers he laid eyes on in Del Toro’s Miami storefront that they became his go-to's. When Del Toro went up for sale in 2019, he threw his hat right in the ring.
What's so fantastic about this story is that it speaks to the exceptional quality of Del Toro's shoes. These chukkas didn't just look good in the window – they held up so well that they changed a man's entire destiny. Now, with a true fan at the helm who can let his passion guide the way, Del Toro has embraced styles outside of the traditional smoking shoe, filtering inspiration from streetwear through la moda italiana. Plus, the experience of a former customer can be felt in every step of the user experience, especially the exceptional in-house customer service.
Still, all of those improvements would be for naught if the styles themselves had gone downhill – but let me be clear: there is nothing to worry about on that front.
THE GREATEST HITS
With a range of classic loafers, sneakers, and chukkas all sculpted and hand-made in Italy, the Del Toro product line is chock-full of bangers. What initially captured my heart, though, was the slippers. Equally suitable for day or night, with the comfort of a slip-on but the refinement of a dress shoe, Del Toro's slipper is the pinnacle of the genre. And no version is more iconic than the Black Velvet ($425), a true inky dark showstopper.
Equally suitable for day or night, with the comfort of a slip-on but the refinement of a dress shoe, Del Toro's slipper is the pinnacle of the genre.
While you'd expect this shoe to be straightforward, simple in both color and silhouette, the thoughtful details abound. Leather lining offsets the velvet beautifully around the perimeter, just as the suede heel cup does in the back. The forefoot has rubber injected into it for both durability and traction – no slipping around in these bad boys, no matter how sleek they might be. But the real surprise is the bold stripe of red that runs up the heel, a brand statement that announces these shoes as modern spins on the classics.
Moving onto the loafers, as fantastic as the leather models are, it's hard to pass some gorgeous Italian suede. The new spring/summer colorways especially caught my eye, like this Sage Milano Loafer ($395) that just oozes laidback luxury. From the red stitching on the heel to the criss cross lacing on top, these loafers are as stylish as they are comfortable – and that's saying a lot.
If you're looking to put your stamp on things, Del Toro makes personalization easy. You can inscribe up to 15 characters on individual shoes or the full pair, with three fonts and several locations to choose from. As easy as that is to add on through the product page (for only $40 extra), Del Toro happily takes embroidery and/or logo requests through its customer service email, making you a full partner in the handmade process if that's what your heart desires.
Versatility is the name of the game here. It’s a brand that carries both your new favorite sneakers or the shoes you just might walk down the aisle in, courtesy of Del Toro’s very own Wedding collection. When shoes are made this well, and this stylishly, it’s hard to imagine looking anywhere else.
So when I hit the streets of Rome next month, I might not sound like a local, but I’ll be well on my way to looking like one at least. For that, I owe Del Toro a gigantic grazie per tutto.
5 MORE REASONS TO LOVE DEL TORO:
1. Del Toro is always expanding through brand aesthetic with collaborations, like our personal favorite from a few years back: the navy satin mules they designed with Vogue Magazine.
2. Due to its direct partnership with their Italian manufacturers, Del Toro has avoided the supply chain issues plaguing other brands right now — meaning you can count on getting those shoes right on time.
3. Del Toro’s womenswear is just as robust, with slippers, sneakers and loafers in all kinds of colorways.
4. DT is your one-stop shop for accessories too, putting all those gorgeous velvets and leathers to use in belts, bow ties, and suspenders alike.
5. Del Toros also highlights brands of a similar size and commitment to quality in the We Love section of its website, like TQE favorites Meriggi and Palermo House.
Use discount code TQE50 for $50 off a purchase of $200 or more at deltoroshoes.com!
Hero image credit: La Dichosa