Footwear enthusiasts will doubtless know that Carmina is something of a fabled shoemaker, a maker that somehow succeeds in combining extraordinary softness and comfort with sturdy welts and shapely lasts. Founded in Majorca in 1866, it’s a name that is as mysterious as it is old, and the brand’s specialism in making shoes in rare and precious skins (whilst retaining a competitive price point) is also remarkable.
Perhaps it’s Carmina’s determination to stick with the most traditional of shoemaking techniques, even at scale, which sets the house apart. The family’s workshop still insists on carving new lasts from wood in the age-old manner, hand-tracing the lasts whenever its developing a new model (quite literally penciling the pattern of a shoe onto its destined last to assess and refine its proportions), hand-clicking the uppers, closing the channels on its soles, hand-nailing toe-tips into every pair for improved durability and so on. The workshop’s capability to make-up lots of limited ‘made-to-order’ runs of product has likewise built a cult following amongst shoe-lovers in search of quirkier designs with the minimum of hassle. Whatever the case may be, there’s no denying that the brand offers a particularly refined shoe, especially when one considers that the price point for a pair of Carminas is commonly well under four hundred pounds.
I’ve long ogled Carmina from afar, but have also been thwarted from purchasing a pair thanks to the house’s lack of a presence in London – trips overseas skirting past the brand’s Parisian stores and frequently dropping into the Carmina trade stand at Pitti Uomo have only served to increase this frustration. Finally though, at long last, this exceptional shoemaker has gained a foothold in the capital – and is now to be stocked at Fenwick on New Bond Street.