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Innovation and tradition share equally deep roots at SCARPA, which to this day remains a family owned company with its headquarters and performance footwear manufacturing facilities in the same regions of northern Italy where it got its start in 1938.
Founded in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains, in the Asolo / Montebelluna region, an area long known for its quality, handcrafted footwear, SCARPA’s initial mission was to bring together all the best shoemakers in the Asolo area toward the goal of producing the best footwear anywhere. SCARPA stands for Società Calzaturiera Asolana Riunita Pedemontana Anonima, which means Associated Shoe Manufacturing Company of the Asolo Mountain Area.
It was immersed in this tradition of craftsmanship and heritage that Luigi Parisotto, who would eventually purchase the company with his brothers and grow it into a family enterprise, first began learning the art of making fine footwear. Parisotto began learning his craft at age 11 in 1940 and went to work for SCARPA in 1942. From the beginning, Parisotto loved the process of building handcrafted footwear, and in the early 1950s ran his own shoe-manufacturing business, S. Giorgio, with his brothers, turning out between four and 15 pairs of handmade shoes a day. These were sold to local farmers who sought out shoes that were both comfortable and indestructible.
In 1956, Parisotto and three of his brothers, with the assistance of their family, pulled together enough money to make an offer on SCARPA. It was accepted and the business quickly grew under their leadership to encompass 17 expert shoemakers , and expanded during these early years to produce 50 to 60 pairs a day. In the late 1950s, word about SCARPA’s quality began to spread more widely outside the Montebelluna region and they attracted clientele from many other parts of northern Italy.
The company was among the first to recognize the needs of northern Italy’s rapidly developing mountaineering and climbing culture, and to develop footwear with features dedicated to those pursuits. Those features, along with the brand’s legendary durability and fit, led to many of Italy’s early mountaineers using SCARPA shoes. In 1965, an Italian-American living in Boston began importing SCARPA footwear, making it the first manufacturer from the Asolo region to export to the U.S.
SCARPA continued to innovate in the 1970s, developing the popular Rally boot for alpine skiing and pioneering an early high-altitude plastic boot for mountaineering, first called the Grinta and later the Inverno (as it’s known in North America, internationally referred to as the Vega.) That boot has been used by many top climbers and explorers throughout the Himalayas and Antarctic, and was also adopted by the Italian, U.S., French, Spanish and other militaries for use by troops in extreme conditions.
That pioneering spirit has continued at SCARPA. The company has many firsts to its name, including being the first to build a Gore-Tex boot and the first to develop a plastic telemark skiing boot, and introduced in 2007, the first telemark and alpine touring compatible boot.
Now, the next generation of the Parisotto family is continuing the pursuit of innovative mountain footwear. Sandro, Piero, Davide and Cristina Parisotto continue to lead the company to produce the finest footwear for mountaineering, trekking, hiking, alpine running, climbing and skiing.
In 2005, SCARPA opened its North American headquarters, headed by veterans of the outdoor industry in North America. This followed many decades of the SCARPA brand being handled by distributors in the U.S. and Canada. Working with the Parisottos, the Boulder, CO office now assists with product development for the U.S. and Canada and oversees sales and marketing in North America.
We are passionate about our sports; we are passionate about boot making; we are passionate about performance.
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