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How it’s Made: SCARPA Ski Boots

A behind-the-scenes look at the SCARPA boot factory.

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Northern Italy has long been the capitol of footwear. From fine Italian leathers, to hikers, to ski boots. Much of the best stuff you can put on your…

Northern Italy has long been the capitol of footwear. From fine Italian leathers, to hikers, to ski boots. Much of the best stuff you can put on your feet, including brands like Dalbello, Tecnica, Nordica, and Dynafit all hail from the foothills of the towering Dolomites in the Montebelluna region. Founded in the town of Asolo in 1938 by an Irish Earl and businessman known more for his dark beer and book of world records, SCARPA has a long tradition in the region. In 1956, a local family of footwear artisans purchased SCARPA, and the company has been helmed by the Parisottos ever since. Producers of Telemark boots since the 60s, SCARPA is currently one of the world’s largest, and most recognized manufacturers of alpine touring and telemark boots.

Each ski boot starts as bulk plastic. The tiny flakes of Pebax, polyurethane, or Grilamid are shipped to the factory in 110-pound bags.

Each ski boot starts as bulk plastic. The tiny flakes of Pebax, polyurethane, or Grilamid are shipped to the factory in 110-pound bags.

Towers of boot molds fill the factory. These are the critical piece to designing and building a boot. They are also incredibly expensive to make. For…

Towers of boot molds fill the factory. These are the critical piece to designing and building a boot. They are also incredibly expensive to make. For every boot model, a mold must be made for every whole size and the half size smaller.

The plastic is fed into giant machines like grain into a mill. Inside the machine, the plastic is heated and extruded around the mold. This is also…

The plastic is fed into giant machines like grain into a mill. Inside the machine, the plastic is heated and extruded around the mold. This is also the time when all the fiddly bits like tech inserts and carbon stringers are molded into the boot lower (scafo in Italian). The machine can produce about one scafo per minute. All of the boot molding occurs in the original Scarpa factory.

Every scafo with tech inserts is tested for proper compatibility. If a boot doesn’t quite fit or there is an error in the molding process, it gets…

Every scafo with tech inserts is tested for proper compatibility. If a boot doesn’t quite fit or there is an error in the molding process, it gets recycled and run through the process again. The SCARPA factory produces almost zero plastic waste to build their ski boots.

Next the boot heads to the assembly line in the main factory in Asolo. Here, a fleet of SCARPA Maestrale RS boots is getting a fresh paint job and…

Next the boot heads to the assembly line in the main factory in Asolo. Here, a fleet of SCARPA Maestrale RS boots is getting a fresh paint job and soles attached.

A worker attaches the snow seal to a Maestrale RS. No fewer than 110 bootmakers steer each boot through the production process.

A worker attaches the snow seal to a Maestrale RS. No fewer than 110 bootmakers steer each boot through the production process.

Completed boots and many critical components are continuously tested for durability. Here, a boot technician tests the strength of a boot’s walk mode…

Completed boots and many critical components are continuously tested for durability. Here, a boot technician tests the strength of a boot’s walk mode in a freeze chamber by dropping a massive weight on it.

After 14 hours of production, a finished Maestrale RS is ready for your feet.

After 14 hours of production, a finished Maestrale RS is ready for your feet.

Since the beginning of SCARPA, bootmaking has been a family affair and a labor of love. From left to right: Davide Parisotto, research and…

Since the beginning of SCARPA, bootmaking has been a family affair and a labor of love. From left to right: Davide Parisotto, research and development director, explains the “last” of a boot; Luigi Parisotto, one of the original three Parisotto brothers to purchase SCARPA in 1956, shows off one of the company’s early hand-stitched mountaineering boots; and Francesco Parisotto, another one of the original brothers, and Kim Miller, SCARPA North America’s president, share a moment.

For more about SCARPA visit its website at scarpa.com.