Many years ago, I thought that the reason Gommino shoes had pebbles was because “dots” was an anagram of “Tod’s”.
Fortunately, such idiotic musings are a thing of the past, and I’m now perfectly aware that Diego Della Valle had taken inspiration from the driving shoes in the 1950s to create the popular Gommino.
Della Valle’s initial thought was that people needed a well-made shoe that was as beautiful as it was comfortable, one that could be worn for casual, refined and professional settings alike. He developed a concept that eventually evolved into the shoe we know and love today, with its trademark 133 rubber pebbles.
Today, Tod’s may be known for its beautiful bags and ready-to-wear collection, but the first thing anyone immediately associates with the brand is nevertheless the signature rainbow circle of moccasins at the entrance of each boutique. The Gommino shoe remains, as always, the brand’s most desirable and coveted icon.
Depending on the specific design, each Tod’s shoe can require up to 35 pieces of leather. The lengthy process begins with an artisan meticulously hand-cutting the pattern pieces, each of which must be individually treated and checked before they can be assembled.
Here, the artisan creates the holes that will later feature the Gommino’s iconic pebbles. Each shoe involves more than 100 steps from start to finish, from the hand-cutting of the pieces necessary for the basic structure, to the final stitching together of each individual part.
Tod’s is meticulous when it comes to the quality of its leather, and some pieces can take years before they reach the right shade and texture required for a particular shoe. Experts at the atelier carefully monitor the leather’s hue, thickness and texture for perfect uniformity, while checking for the slightest flaws or imperfections.
The rubber pebbles are easily one of the most distinctive features of the Gommino shoe, and the trademark sole contains 133 pebbles in the same colour as the chosen leather. The model has been updated throughout the years and is now available in a range of materials and colours, with differing details that nevertheless confirm to the signature design.
As the entire shoe is crafted from hand, Tod’s employs artisans at the atelier who are specially qualified for a specific task within the creation process – be it cutting, stitching or polishing – ensuring that each part of the finished product is as perfect as possible.
On completion, every single pair of shoes is inspected once more, and any shoe with the slightest flaw is rejected and discarded. The resulting Gommino moccasin enjoys its immense popularity for a reason – it’s a design that is as comfortable as it’s chic, available in editions that range from stylishly trendy to effortlessly timeless.