With the indoor climbing competition series set to continue at Edinburgh's Ratho International Climbing Arena, we take a look at Andrea Boldrini Climbing Shoes, as they join us this weekend in store during the third round of the winter bouldering series.
Andrea Boldrinin Climbing was established in 1993, set up by the Boldrini family.
Faustine from the company gave us some information about how the company has developed from the Andrea herself.
"My parents were designers and manufacturers of luxury shoes in Italy, and then in France in the late 1980's. So as far as I can remember, I always knew how to design and make shoes. In the 1990's, climbing shoes were more or less all the same, there were no major innovations in terms of the deisgn and practical use.
When I started climbing, I made myself a pair of shoes, then for a few of my friends. They were pretty happy about the shoes I made so I slowly started designing more climbing shoes, and I eventually noticed that I was ahead of what already existed at the time, but I also had a job as head of design in another company, so I didn't push my own designs or my ideas for a new climbing shoe business.
In the early years, I was making rock shoes for local athetes climbing in national competitions. We were selling our models mostly during french competitions. The small range we had was composed of very technical shoes (very asymmetrical with powerfull slingshots), we had no real strategy until 2003. After my parents retirement, I decided to become a climbing shoe manufacturer and retailer which I knew was going to be a real bet as all the shoe companies were closing one after one in France.
We moved into new premises to have more space for our product production. I wanted to give a real identity to the brand with a new logo and this is when all our products became yellow. Our climbing shoes were easily noticable during competitions from that point!
We started producing at a larger scale from 2005 and it worked very well, especially in France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy. Our products were innovative and we had the reputation of making the most comfortable rock shoes (which was unlike most other climbing shoes, as typically they had caused a problem by wrecking people's feet).
We were working with more and more countries like the UK, Finland, Japan, UAE & USA, but the 2009 crisis was hard on us, the fact that our products were made in France meant that they became a bit pricey compared to the ones made by some of our competitors. On the french market many new brands arrived with cheaper products made in Asia. To stay competitive, we had to widen our range with new entry level models, so we decided to make some very simple and pure models, without any superfluous materials or parts, nonetheless quite technical, very comfortable and at the best price possible. I couldn't make an entry level model that wouldn't reflect the quality of our products.
We are now proud to have a full range of climbing shoes that can suit many climbers and budgets. New colors are coming and thanks to the feedbacks of the climbers we meet everywhere in the world, we will continue to improve and widen our range!
Get more information at the Demo Event in store at Tiso Ratho on 18th March - 11am-4pm!