Comfort, style and colour define my choice of shoes. And above all, these can easily be washed at home with your regular detergent. Name your preference
My last experience with this brand was the #LiteRide collection. A universal, comfy black pair lasted me through thick and thin weather all for three years. Then also, the fabric was torn as my feet got stuck in a thorny place, else the shoe was alive. The base is strong and long lasting, even the cushioning comfortable. INR 3495-5995
I am in love with this brand. Priced at INR 5,000, this blue pair of slip-ons has lasted me for 6 years. It has been through rain, ponds, lakes, puddles, mud, newly tarred roads, jungles and even to Sharjah and Jordan. Now, I must bid them adieu and get myself another one.
These Uberknit #Sneakers are biomechanically engineered #footwear. Not just the looks, their style is a statement. I have worn them with jeans and pants and even the desi salwar-kameez. Lightweight, they can be worn on any terrain. Yes, even on the rocky, thorny mountain paths. INR 7,000
These light slip-ons were comfortable and apt for short walks and trips. The soles with grooves helped in getting a grip on tough terrain, but they have a short life. However, the colour is smart and catchy. INR 2,000
For Men Only: Alberto Torresi Stress-Free Shoes Made in Agra
Black, brown, blue, tan, sandals, slippers, moccasins, formals, long boots—Alberto Torresi has something for every man who likes to wear stylish, yet walk comfortably. Launched in 2010 by the 40-year-old Virola Shoes, their shoes are made of 100 per cent leather. And person pushing the growth is Ishaan Sachdeva, the second generation entrepreneur.
What’s interesting to know is how this Italian brand landed in Agra? It was born at a dinner table in Italy, explains Sachdeva, who is also a director in the company. His father, who started the unit, was trying to find the name for a shoe brand that they wanted to launch in India and sitting with agents in Italy, Alberto Torresi was born.
Talking about the shoes and their USP, Sachdeva showed that the company had developed and patented a stress-free technology. Giving know-how on the making of shoes, Sachdeva cited that it’s important to make shoes in a manner that they do not harm the knees and the heels. Why shoes for men and not women when that market is larger? Answering that, Sachdeva said that the company has been manufacturing women’s shoes since its inception, but now wanted to do something different. Also, it’s more about capturing the market for the metro man, as there are less domestic players in this stream.
Inside the unit
Popularly known as India’s largest shoe manufacturing hub, Agra is where the Mughals lived and are buried. And you find this historical touch in the décor of Virola too. From the world of the local shoe cobbler to a professional shoe maker, the unit was an eye opener in many ways.
It had a huge display of shoes, which were exported and there were some on display for the domestic market. The unit was neat and clean, no leather smells and no waste matter around. Even the leather store room was well kept. Leather comes from all over the world, as different styles have different needs. Virola manufactures for eminent global brands and there are seasonal styles doing the rounds. The unit employs around 800 people.
Branding and more
On branding and marketing, Sachdeva elaborated that he had spent a year learning marketing strategies in Germany. The shoes are sold online through various channel partners and are found in multi-brand stores.
On Indian sensibilities, he finds the Indian consumer still conservative. Men like to experiment less, want comfort for a reasonable price, will opt for a single pair sometimes, which can be used on multiple occasions.
Custom-made–only for the celebrities
Ramps—done a fashion show with Manish Malhotra
Open to—styling options, better technology
On the anvil–exclusive store, women’s range
Colour code–tan is the company’s USP