A Shoe Never Lies – but would you trust a Pirate?

When it comes to handmade or Made to Order (MTO) shoes, the price tag often reflects the craftmanship involved. It can add another factor into the decision making process of buying shoes. The benefits of buying handmade shoes have widely been discussed, my attention is drawn to whether you would part with your hard earned cash if the shoe in question comes from a relatively unknown brand with a relatively short trading period?

For an unknown brand starting out in the competitive footwear industry, you might question the decision to use piracy as brand feature. Pirates are notorious double crossing rogues, not to be trusted one inch. In the words of Captain Jack Sparrow “the only rules that really matter are these: what a man can do and what a man can’t do. For instance, you can accept that your father was a pirate and a good man or you can’t.” “me, for example, I can let you drown” ” Savvy”?

Today, I will either introduce you or reacquaint you with Barbanera Shoes. I shall intice you with photo’s and delight you with a video from two of the founders. Then, You can tell me whether you would Trust a Pirate. Deal? let us proceed:

Who are Barbanera Shoes?


They formed in 2011 by two sets of brothers with a passion for quality mens shoes.
Sergio (former bass guitarist in a band) and Sebastiano Guardi who appear in the marketing as models for their brand: together with Alessando and Filippo Pagliacci are the four founders and drivers of Barbanera Shoes.

Based in the Tuscan Region of Italy, they produce 100% Italian handmade shoes.

But you don’t need to her it from me, meet Sergio and Sebastian and hear from the horse’s mouth what inspires them by watching this video:

Their Philosophy

Barbanera which means Black Beard has “A Shoe Never Lies” as their motto.

What is great is their no-nonsense stand on shoes. If a man wants to look great, you have to buy great shoes. The philosophy is that “A well dressed man with ugly shoes is nothing but a man in ugly shoes”. and so they came to be in 2011.

In four years they have made themselves a key retailer of Made to Order and quality handmade mens shoes. Some have heralded them as “The King of Spectators”.


Their logo is a mermaid caressing a pirate sword, which forms the downstroke of the letter B. The feel for the webpage is that of a manly rogue, modern-day pirate.


The marketing is consistent across the media with artistic photo shoots of the Guardi brothers on iconic Harley Davidsons and old fashioned guns with patterns that could adorn a classic Barretta Rifle or pistol featured on their business cards, and websites. This creates a strong brand image that of when you buy from them , you buy a manly, classic shoe made for men who like to be stylish and different and have a strong personality.

The leather is sourced in Italy and made by artisans located in Tuscany, making the Barbanera Shoe a 100% Italian.

Materials and solutions on how to make the best shoe are always being considered however, the preference is to use the best in “vendome” suede and full grain calf which is soft and resistant.

Blogger, Claymoorslist have provided a brilliant interview with Sergio and Sebastiano. You can follow the link I have attached, and it is well worth the read. What I enjoyed was reading about the founders favourite shoes from their collections and here is what they had to say:

The most emblematic Barbanera shoes is the Gatsby Model which can be worn with suits or jeans in Summer or Winter. It is also one of the favourite shoes of the Gaurdi brothers:

Gatsby from Barbanera Shoes

Filippo loves the Sperelli model:Sperelli Barbanera Shoes. and he loves the Hemingway loafers:Hemmingway Barbanera Shoes.

I couldn’t stop with photo’s of the above shoes, I had to give you more. So here are the remainder of the shoe collection:

Biker inspired boots called Ruskin:Ruskin Barbanera Shoes.

There is the vintage/dandy styling of the Jerry lee. A Hybrid monkstrap with a detachable fringe. Spectators are normally associated with the 1920’s-30’s Bugsy Malone period and are often two toned with a small heel. They can be made in the form of a semi or full – brogue or an Oxford:Jerry Lee Barbanera Shoes.

The simplicity and clean lines of the Truman a fine specimen of an Oxford Shoe:

Truman Barbanera Shoes.


Loved by many with a global following, Justin From the Shoe Snob has been to their showroom and tried a pair on. In his words “they felt amazing” “At a price point between €350-€450, I have to say that they are very justified and promote a good value for money. I would certainly be more than happy to shell out that price for their shoes.” to read the full article click here


I am now a convert to the Barbanera Shoes. Thank you Justin from the Shoe Snob for bringing them to my attention. I admire great craftsmanship and design and there is no doubt that Barbanera delivers….if only I could try a pair for myself and do a test drive.

What I love about men’s shoes right not is that there is so much choice. You can compliment your not just your outfit but your personalty with shoes.

Barbanera Shoes feel like they belong on great men with personality in abundance. Men who know that you pay for what you get.

Barbanera appears to be a brand a man can trust……even if they are roguish pirates.