Many interesting books have come out recently that tell the history of some interesting footwear and shoe-related companies. One of the most exciting new pieces of literature on the subject is definitely the one recently published in various languages – German, English, Dutch and Japanese so far - about the history of Adidas and Puma. Written up by one of our collaborators, Barbara Smit, it has become a best-seller among consumers. Penguin has launched a reprint of the English edition as it was quickly sold out. The book reads like a thriller. It uses some exclusive information obtained from archived documents, including those relating the Nazi regime, as well as interviews with former company executives.

Another landmark was set in the shoe industry last month with the publication of an Italian book, titled “Ai Piedi del Successo” (= At Success’ Feet) that recounts the history of 16 Italian shoe companies with different backgrounds: Diadora, Fila, Superga, Fratelli Rossetti, René Caovilla, Casadei, Moreschi, Lumberjack, Frau, Fornari, De Fonseca, Olip, Manas, Primigi, Siport and Melluso.

Geox, the most successful case history in the Italian industry, is not reviewed in the book, perhaps because the history has been very short, but its charismatic president, Mario Moretti Polegato, has signed one of the three forewords to the group. The authors are Massimo Donda and an Italian journalist, Andrea Guolo. Donda is president of Federcalzature, the Italian shoe retailers’ association, and past president of CEDDEC, the European retailers’ federation. Donda’s family set up a shoe manufacturing company in Trieste 120 years ago and still run the most important shoe store in the city.

One of the companies reviewed in the book, Fratelli Rossetti, has also put out a book about the history of this family company, which began 50 years ago with a line of cycling shoes. The same goes for a book, “Gucci by Gucci,” that tells the 85-year history of the Florentine leathergoods firm. Written by a fashion journalist, Sarah Mower, the 450-page book will be available in Gucci’s stores around the world from next month.

Meanwhile a new 160-page book that tells the history of Deichmann came out in Germany last month, coinciding with the 80th birthday of Heinz-Horst Deichmann. Written by Andreas Malessa and Hanna Schott, it tells among other things about his problems in the Nazi era and his entry into the shoe business in the midst of his medicine studies.