Crono Factory Tour
We first discovered Crono shoes at Interbike and immediately liked what we saw. The Crono’s booth was in the Italian Pavilion and they had a prime corner lot at that show. Their road shoes were really hot and their MTB line was attractive as well. Once we found out who the distributor was we immediately set out to do a review and see if we could go over and visit the factory in Italy. We got a yes to both of those questions. When we arrived at the factory we were warmly greeted by Stefano Stocco. He is the son of the owner. His father founded the company in 1973. During that time the company was making shoes for the fashion industry. His company was classified as a third company. That means that the brand name would hire them out to produce the shoes for them. So they made shoes for other companies.
In 1980 they made a fundamental shift to the sporting industry. They would make soccer shoes, moto shoes and cycling shoes for other companies. In 2011 they decided to branch out and started the Crono brand. All the while still making shoes for other companies. During our visit the company was expanding and was adding on to the building for new offices, show rooms and other amenities. The company produces about 100,000 shoes a year, of which about15,000 are Crono’s brand and 85,000 for other companies. The one thing that Stefano wanted to emphasize to me was that all of their shoes were 100% made in Italy. Each one of his shoes is sewn by hand. His sewing team is 15 min away and consist of 5 women and one husband. Just like Stefano’s company is family owned and run so is this team of women that expertly sews his shoes together. These ladies have been sewing shoes since 1972, that’s 45 years of hand crafted shoe sewing experience. Stefano was telling me that the great thing about this is that a lot of companies have offices in one place and then production and assembly in two separate places and when you are producing a lot of shoes every day a mistake can be like on 800 shoes in the blink of an eye at high production facilities. Because of the way he is set up when a problem happens it affects 1 pair. He can run over and get a firsthand look at the problem and find a solution. He told us this allows him to sleep at night.
Crono can product about 400 finished shoes a day and is upgrading their technology to be able to produce even more. All of the while keeping an ever watchful eye on quality control. The sewing facility can only produce 85 uppers a day. So the problem is that he has to have his order in and then get his production going on uppers and once they are ahead of the curve he can start final assembly of the shoes. So to get it right you have to have a schedule for supplies, materials, soles, hardware etc. We really learned a lot about shoes, where some brands are made out of and what goes into them and how they are made. Stefano was a gracious host and we look forward to watching his line grow. We have a whole new appreciation of handmade Italian shoes.
Crono shoes is an Itilan line that is brought into the US exclusively by Gizomocycling. To find out more on where to buy the shoes or how to have the shoes in your shop contact them here.