Ramon Cuberta is a Spanish shoemaker who is creating wonderful high-quality bespoke men’s shoes. He has also established an RTW collection of several shoe models which you can admire in his beautiful showroom in Barcelona. I had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Ramon on a sunny Saturday morning in the beginning of December. It was one of the most inspirational conversations I have had in a very long time. Ramon has truly impressed me, not only as an artisan but also as a human. Hardly anyone I know expresses his emotions and passion about his job as does Ramon. Find out why he has chosen to become a shoemaker, what makes his shoes special and why you should definitely visit his atelier while in Barcelona! 😊
Ramon’s professional career
Ramon has worked as a technical architect before deciding to start his shoemaking career in his late thirties. As a child he visited the shoe shop of his grandfather’s sister frequently. Furthermore, his uncle was crafting Espardenyas, which is the traditional footwear in Catalonia. This has for sure shaped his interest in shoes a lot. In 2009, he finally decided to participate in a master’s shoemaker course for one year before starting to work as an apprentice making women’s shoes. He basically jumped in at the deep end, giving up his secure job and starting something completely new. Something that he was passionate about, something more artistic.
He was working in this industry for four years, before he made another decision – starting his own business in 2014. Initially, he was sharing an atelier, before he moved to his own workshop in Barcelona’s city center. Recently he has moved to a new showroom, in the northern part of the city.
Apart from all the shoemaking tools, one picture on his workshop’s wall is pretty striking – it’s his very unique logo showcasing a “bucardo”, a Pyrenean ibex. This is an extinct mountain animal which was especially hunted for its incredible horns and which you can now admire stamped as a logo into his shoes.
Ramon’s product range – bespoke
His primary focus was on fully bespoke and ready-made shoes. Fully bespoke means that you’re not only adapting an already existing last but creating a completely unique last to fully reflect all particularities of a client’s feet. He has a professional lastmaker doing exactly this, preferably shaped in a unique way developed by Ramon. However, any clients’ wishes can be incorporated when ordering a bespoke shoe. This concerns not only the materials used and the model of the shoe but also the last.
The Agent Arrow Oxfords displayed here are fully bespoke shoes which are 100% handmade: handlasted, handwelted with hand-stitched soles. They cost 2.500 Euro and include trial shoes.
Ramon is always trying to keep the highest possible level of customer service however you can only achieve the best fitting with a bespoke last. It really takes Ramon an incredible amount of around 150 working hours for one pair of bespoke shoes. According to him, one of the most challenging parts of the process is the handwelting. Truly impressive!
Ramon’s product range – RTW
When it comes to his ready-to-wear collection, he is currently offering around 12 different models. You can only buy directly in his atelier. Although these are shoes off the rack, the customers can ask for some add-ons such as a metal cap or a special patina. He doesn’t have a mass production for his shoes but only a small number is crafted every month. Therefore, he can control the whole production process and make sure that the highest standards and highest quality are met for each pair.
When it comes to ready-made shoes, then you can get loafers (blake construction) for 390 Euro and basic lace-up goodyear welted shoes cost between 450 and 490 Euro. There is also a premium collection which costs 550 Euro for low shoes and 590 Euro for boots. In this case they have a partly handmade contruction and handmade finishings.
Additionally, he offers a 2-years warranty on each pair so in case that something happens, it will surely be fixed. Perhaps one day, you will be the lucky owner of his wonderful high-end shoes! 😊
Ramon’s product range – MTM/MTO
After some time, Ramon added made-to-measure (MTM) as well as made-to-order (MTO) shoes into his product range. Customers who had already ordered bespoke shoes and therefore have an existing last, can choose a model to be made on this last – the so-called MTM version. MTO shoes are semi-bespoke shoes where a standard last is adapted to the customers’ measures.
Those Chelsea boots are regular MTO shoes which are Goodyear welted. They required a delivery time of around 5 weeks once they have been ordered. Regular MTO boots cost 650 Euro, lace-up Goodyear welted shoes cost 590 Euro and loafers are 490 Euro (GYW) or 450 Euro (Blake construction).
Those oxford shoes are handcrafted MTO shoes. They are 100% handmade with a semi-bespoke service and no trial shoes. The customer can test ready-made shoes and measurements of the client’s feet are taken. Such shoes range between 1.650 Euro (low shoes) and 1.790 Euro (boots).
The importance of high-quality leather
Ramon is only using leather coming from free-range animals from the mountains in northern Spain, in the Basque Country. Those animals are not being bred for the meat industry and their leather is therefore strong and of very high quality. If you want to craft long-lasting quality shoes, you have to take the best possible leather which is more elastic and hence more comfortable. It is easier to stretch this leather while making the shoes. Additionally the shoes will keep its initial shape, even after wearing for a long time.
Ramon is a very nature-conscious person and makes sure not to use leather which was tanned by using chemicals. He prefers spending a bit more for vegetable-tanned leather and being more socially responsible.
It is also important to use shoetrees which will help in keeping the shoe form and taking out humidity. You have to use a little bit of strength, when putting in a well-fitting shoetree; it cannot be too loose in the shoe. It’s Ramon’s lastmaker, who is also doing the shoe trees.
What is special about Ramon’s shoes?
There are basically two features which distinguish his shoes from those of other brands and shoemakers. First of all, it is the well-balanced elongated upper which looks esthetically more elegant than short shoes. Furthermore, it is the shoe’s toes in bespoke shoes. Those are very chiseled, have strong lines but are still rounded, depending on if you’re looking at them from the front or from the side. It’s like a small contradiction, a combination of round and sharp, giving the shoe a lot of character and making it a distinct feature. These are really beautiful characteristics you should definitely have a closer look at!
A nice fact for those who didn’t know yet: You have for sure noticed that the toe area of the shoe is usually going up a little bit. But why? This doesn’t have an esthetical reason but a rather practical one – it eases walking when unreeling the foot and gives you a more secure and comfortable feeling.
Definitely visit his showroom while in Barcelona!
Ramon is a very hard-working, dedicated and absolutely passionate person who truly loves what he is doing. You can not only feel it when you’re in his atelier, but you can see it in his eyes while he is talking about this craftsmanship. I always admire people who are pursuing their dreams and are working on a daily basis on something that they are passionate about! Every time he is creating a new pair of shoes, he feels like he is doing them for himself, putting his soul into those creations. Go to his atelier, have a look at his beautiful shoes, get inspired, talk to him – you for sure will not be disappointed! You can directly check out his Instagram account to get some more impressions.
And when you have the pleasure of talking to him, ask him about the homeless man who has once visited his showroom! Truly amazing story 😊
Ramon, thank you so much again for this truly interesting and inspiring conversation! 😊
Picture courtesy: Ramon Cuberta