Entirely handmade with superior materials, Dea Sandals are classy, exclusive, and quintessentially Italian
Striking a perfect balance between traditional craftsmanship and innovative design, Dea Sandals offers an array of exclusive Capri sandals, jeweled sandals, and wedding sandals.
We reached the brand in Capri to discuss ancient artisanal traditions and Italian style.
Dea Sandals carries on the ancient cobbler tradition of the island of Capri. Can you tell our readers more about this craft, how it came to be, and how it has evolved over the centuries?
This ancient art originates from the Romans, and was then undertaken by the shoemakers of Capri, who handed it down from generation to generation. Today, the cobblers of Capri still craft custom-made sandals in real time before their customers.
What makes Dea Sandals special?
We offer a customization service, and, based on indications provided by the customer, we handcraft unique sandals in our own workshop. For instance, we can create personalized jeweled sandals to match the customer’s favorite earrings, necklace, ring.
We exclusively use Swarovski crystals, and each jeweled sandal comes with a guarantee seal, and a unique identification code.
Tell us about the manufacturing process and your choice of materials.
Starting from the traditional gladiator sandals, which are simply made of a hard leather base and leather laces that wrap around the ankle, the evolution of fashion has brought us to optimize the raw materials with innovative techniques that make our products stand out.
Independent of the heel height, we reinforce the sole of the sandal with a fibre insert that follows the shape of the foot. We developed this in collaboration with skilled orthopedists when we started our business.
Since untreated leather tends to be slippery, we have created a non-slip rubber application, made in TPR and TPU, to optimize grip.
The sole of our sandals is made exclusively in Tuscan leather, which we choose ourselves and which undergoes a treatment called palissonatura (staking) in the tannery: the animal hides are stretched by a machine, making the leather more yielding, supple, and soft.
All our materials are recycled. The leather is a by-product of the food industry, animal waste which we mould into beautiful Capri sandals.
You also offer a beautiful wedding sandals collection. Is this proof that one mustn’t sacrifice comfort for style?
Absolutely. Dea Sandals is centered around the very belief that comfort and style are not mutually exclusive. There are so many shoes out there which are stunning but extremely uncomfortable, to the point where they cause the wearer a lot of pain. And for weddings in particular that becomes a problem: it’s such a special event, and the bride is sometimes standing for hours.
Our sandals, which we chose not to release in seasonal collections, combine style and comfort. They’re the perfect shoes for a beach wedding!
We also work with several wedding agencies and wedding planners—our shoes are commissioned for brides, but also as a present to the guests. This happens often with foreign customers who get married in Capri, Sorrento, Porto Cervo. We set up a booth at the venue and handcraft customized sandals for the guests of the wedding.
This is a similar concept to our Bottega Itinerante (Italian for: Traveling Workshop): we travel to various towns in Italy or abroad, and handcraft customized sandals as we do in Capri. This creates a truly magical atmosphere.
How was the Bottega Itinerante born?
Many of our clients complained that original Capri sandals can only be found on the island, and they cannot visit often. These ancient manufacturing techniques are sadly dying out, like many other made in Italy artisanal traditions, as new generations are losing interest in them.
So we travelled to Milan, and people loved it. From there the Bottega Itinerante was born: we are in Milan, Rome, Florence…we take part in the artisanal exhibit at Giardino Corsini, Florence, dedicated to artisans from all over the world. We are also on cruise ships, and in Doha, Katar, at Galleries Lafayette once a year.
Who is your typical client?
We have a variety of clients. The 20-35 age group loves simple sandals: the classic Capri sandal, with a flat heel and laced up around the ankle. The 35-60 age group has a more “refined” taste, and almost exclusively chooses jeweled, customized sandals.
What is the quintessential Capri outfit? Dea Sandals paired with what garments? Build us an outfit!
Capri pants (three quarter legs) and a blue Capri linen shirt, with simple leather sandals. This is the best outfit you can wear in Capri, as well as other Italian coastal areas, in the summer.
The last year has been highly challenging. How has the pandemic affected your business, and what’s one positive thing that has come out of it?
The whole world was affected unfortunately. All sectors were. The positive side for us was that online sales were very successful during the second wave. We had a 39% increase in online sales, mostly in the US and Southeast Asia.
What are your favorite places in Capri, to visit and eat? Are there any places you would suggest our readers shouldn’t miss if they visit?
We recommend the restaurant Da Paolino: it’s a big name in Capri, and you can eat outside under the typical lemon trees, in a magnificent garden. We also recommend Il Riccio, which boasts a breath-taking sea view. These are our favorite places, where we often go ourselves.
Beyond food and wine, Capri is stunning, both seen on foot and from the sea. If you have the opportunity, we recommend a tour of the island in a small boat. It’s truly moving: a sunny day, a small boat, and all the sights and natural beauties that Capri can delight you with.
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