Building upon their half-decade of shared history, Tokyo-based brand nonnative and Italian bootmaker Guidi's collaborated on two pairs of custom hiking boots in two colors, Gray and Sand. Made from horse leather, they hardly look new, but they certainly are — and well-made, too.
You see, Guidi was founded in 1896 by Guido Guidi as a tannery first and foremost. Guidi, as it's now called, calls fashion houses like Prada and Maison Margiela as clients, but transitioned into making its own footwear in 2004 — albeit not as its own factory anymore — when the founder's direct descendant Ruggero Guidi came into the fold. In the nearly two decades since, he's turned his family's legacy supplying fine leathers to others into a bonafide luxury brand.
However, they've nearly entered the avant-garde. You see, while the new ones look a bit used, that's part of their appeal. Guidi is known for using softer leathers, like horse hide, that show signs of wear more quickly, even as early as the actual act of putting them together. The imperfections vary from boot to boot, making each one unique. This makes covetable, albeit even collectible, but folks wear them, even though they're expensive. (These boots, for example, are 194,000 JPY. That's ~$1,350.)
But that's because of how they're made and the steps they take to make them look different: They start with ultra-fine leathers from the family business and then break them in — that means distressing, object-dyeing (which means dyeing the boots as a finished products, not in parts) and tumbling them, too. Some pairs sit in the dye for days on end, earning unique, and consistent, colors. Others are tossed around in a dry tin, which is how many pairs earn their patinas.
"I liked the shoes..." Righi Amante, the designer who helped Ruggero with his early designs, told Highsnobiety. He was the one that turned Ruggero on to distressing and hard dyeing. "...but they looked too new, like something people would wear to church on Sunday."
Their work has gained them plenty of fans, from the "it" crowds in New York and L.A. to celebrities all across Asia. Hence why folks are so excited for the pairs made with nonnative founder, Japanese American designer Satoshi Saffen. His muted palette and penchant for the outdoors (especially its gear) pairs well with Guidi, which has done hiker styles in the past but not since 2019. Both pairs are limited productions and only come in a few sizes (Italian 41, 42, 43 and 44). They're officially out on September 23rd via Coverchord.