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Zamberlan Company History
Zamberlan started in 1929
Giuseppe Zamberlan started the business of manufacturing quality mountain boots back in 1929. Giuseppe was the father of Zamberlan's present Chairman, Emilio. Today, Emilio’s son and daughter, the third generation of the family, are actively involved in the manufacturing, testing and selling of Zamberlan boots. The Zamberlan factory is located right at the foot of the Piccole Dolomiti, the ideal environment for testing new products.
Giuseppe Zamberlan, the father of the present Chairman, began his career as “shoe repairer”, after the First World War. Because of his great love for the mountains, but mostly out of necessity, he began making boots to satisfy his own particular needs. His friends, who shared his great passion for the local mountains, wanted to take advantage of the innovative “mountain gear” as well. In fact, the geographical position and the peculiar features of this region make people grow up with a notable predilection for trekking and mountaineering. Incidentally, many world famous climbers come to the “Piccole Dolomiti” for their training! Before long, “Bepi” (short for Giuseppe) was making boots for others who recognized his craftsmanship. His passion for trekking and his initial success, led him to search for better materials and more efficient construction methods to satisfy his quest for “safer and easier” movement in the mountains.
Zamberlan® & VIBRAM™ Begin developing new concept outsoles
‘Bepi’ soon realized the limitation of the only outsoles available at the time - thick leather with steel tricounis - and supported the revolutionary ideas of Vitale Bramani, the founder of VIBRAM™, in the development of rubber outsoles. This was the sole of the future! It took many visits to the VIBRAM™ workshop in the suburbs of Milan for the two pioneers to solve the problem of creating a design with good grip and it took them lots of trekking in the local mountains to test their innovative sole.
In the meantime, Bepi bought machinery, contacted suppliers of good raw materials, hired workers and opened his first workshop. Important assistance during this period came from his wife Maria, who helped stitch the boot uppers. Emilio, his son, grew to share his father’s love for the mountains. And following his father’s footsteps he made his first prototype boot and tested it in the nearby mountains while trekking with friends. Emilio joined the family business and eventually took over. The business continued to grow, so new workers with specialist skills were employed. Emilio realized that the export market was the way to go, so he began to travel in order to seek overseas customers willing to sell his boots. For over 30 years Zamberlan have exported world-wide and are represented in most major countries by collaborators who have helped make the “shoe factory at the foot of the Small Dolomites” a real success. So in 1975, Zamberlan was probably the first Italian company who exported footwear to Japan. At present, Zamberlan products are being exported by over 95% of the total turnover.
Keeping the Family Tradition
As was the case with his father, Emilio Zamberlan has worked in close partnership with his family. His wife has always assisted him in the running of the business, and now his son Marco and daughter Maria are both involved in the general management of Calzaturificio Zamberlan introducing innovative ideas, while maintaining a strong respect for tradition. They too, have a great love for the mountains and often go trekking, climbing, ice climbing and mountaineering not only for pleasure, but also to try out new ideas from production. So the Zamberlan Company – after more than 70 years of boot manufacturing, is still a family-run business, with the third generation actively taking part in all stages of design and production. Recently, the production facility was further developed and enlarged, to allow a better working environment, and new machinery has again been put in place, to grant the highest standard of quality consistency.
Although the factory is equipped with modern facilities operated by Zamberlan's highly skilled workers, Zamberlan boots may still be considered “hand made” products. “Our people make the difference”: this quote explains the importance of the Zamberlan artisans and their dedication to a manufacturing process which still involves a lot of handmade elements. Most of Zamberlan's key people have been with them for many, many years and have greatly contributed to the growth of the company.
Recognizing that different countries have different demands, Zamberlan runs an on-going test program in the most significant areas in the world, which allows them to adjust even the small details on their products and to listen to different trends from different markets.