Yesterday the Italian shoemaker and factory manager Enzo Bonafè passed away, 88 years old. The man behind one of the most acclaimed brands in the Italian quality men’s shoe industry, who worked together with his family in their factory in Bologna until just recently, which he started 60 years ago.
The same day as the funeral for the late British bespoke shoemaker Jason Amesbury, the team at Enzo Bonafè shared the sad news that the man who had given name to the brand had passed away. Enzo Bonafè was born in 1935 in Bologna, and already at age 13 he started working at a the Testoni shoe factory in the city. He was eager to learn and developed many skills in shoe manufacturing in various positions of this factory, before he left to start his own in 1963.
What has set Bonafè apart from many others is that, albeit being a factory with streamlined manufacturing, they continued to produce hand welted and handmade Norvegese constructed shoes, apart from the simpler Blake stitched ones. It’s a brand that never has focused on marketing or brand building, they have focused on making good shoes, and with that they have became famous.
In the Bologna factory he worked all these decades together with his wife Guerrina, and in more recent times their children Silvia and Massimo, plus son-in-law Roberto, have all worked for the company. Enzo Bonafè never retired, he continued to work in the factory up until quite recently, since this was what he loved. As the Bonafè team writes on their Instagram, Enzo Bonafè now till keep on making shoes for the angels.
RIP Enzo Bonafe. There is a legacy here for sure. Condolences to his family.