Rare is the occasion when we get to talk about shoes on this blog. But shoes are a big deal, a fetish to some, a daily utilitarian tool to others; and the making of a quality pair of shoes is a craft, if not an art unto itself. And like most crafts, Hungarians have found a way to maintain old traditions while keeping abreast of current trends. ‘To boot,’ recently, a Hungarian, Attila Kovács, was named best shoe-maker — or cobbler — worldwide by one of the few shoe-making competitions.
Sponsored by Inter-Schuh-Service ISS convention in Wiesbaden, Germany, the competition draws cobblers from around the world. Attila Kovács, a third generation shoemaker, came out on top earlier this year, and was named top shoemaker worldwide.
While there is no question that handmade shoes are a luxury item, increasingly so as the internet and automation have done their best to mimic handmade shoes, many of the models made by Kovács still maintain a casual, everyday-wear look. And when we say ‘handmade’ there should be no mistake about the degree to which they are actually made by hand: nails are hammered into shoe soles, that are hand glued to leather. A pair can take up to six weeks to complete.
What about Attila himself? In his own words: “Born and raised in Oradea (Nagyvárad), I practically grew up in the shoe workshop where I learned to love this profession, with all of the beauty and difficulties that go with it. After going to school in Oradea and Nagyszalonta, I then continued my studies in Debrecen and decided to take up the family tradition and become a shoemaker. I was taught the secrets and the love of the profession by my father the same way as he was once taught by my grandfather. I founded my own enterprise in 1991; continuing the family tradition, I stayed by the shoehorn. I have been trying to learn and acquire all the secrets of the profession ever since. I participate on a regular basis at different international and national professional competitions where my work has gained significant success so far.”
Attila Shoes, his brand, is no stranger to the limelight though. It was reported in Euronews that his Miskolc workshop was the favored maker of shoes for the late Sir Roger Moore, of James Bond fame. Indeed, his customers come from around the globe. Along with Vass, Tóth, and Heinrich Dinkelacker — other high end cobblers — Hungary has established itself as a destination for quality, affordable handmade shoes.
If you want to check out how a pair of Hungarian shoes are made, have a look at the video below.
Flatpack Films has many years of experience dedicated to offering expert servicing. It has brought the best of Hungary to countless brands, agencies, and production companies through its unique locations, exceptionally skilled crews, top of the line equipment and technical solutions. Backed by an impeccable track record, Flatpack Films has worked with world-class clients including Samsung, Samsonite, Toyota, Braun, Chivas Regal and many more - bringing their projects to life through a highly bespoke approach.