Since its founding in 1895, Parisian shoemaker Berluti has been known for balancing classical craftsmanship with an irreverent streak. Alessandro Berluti, the brand’s founder, made his name with a sleekly sculpted whole-cut oxford featuring minimal stitching—a strikingly modern design for the late 19th century. Almost 100 years later, his descendants bucked tradition by developing a leather-dyeing method that yields vibrant colors and painterly patinas, creating shoes that stand out in a sea of sober browns and blacks.
Now the brand has channeled that rebellious spirit into a design that defies cordwaining convention: a sneaker that employs all the technical know-how used for its dress shoes. Dubbed the Play-Off, the high-top takes its cues from kicks built for the basketball court, and while this isn’t Berluti’s first sneaker, it is the brand’s sportiest yet. Even with its decidedly casual look, the Play-Off retains a streamlined elegance that old Alessandro would no doubt recognize.
The shoes are crafted by hand in the same Italian workshop responsible for all the house’s leather goods, from bespoke boot commissions to briefcases. Old-school and high-tech meet at the facility outside Venice, where craftspeople specialize in techniques from both ends of the spectrum. All of them play a part in getting the Play-Off game ready.