No, we have not lost our minds, even though it may sometimes seem like that at the other end. We understand that explaining what exactly is so good about Mephisto Rainbow and Match in today’s setting is almost unattainable. On the other hand, this type of thing has never held us back and has been no obstacle to staying true to the principle of personal selection in working with our product range. We have always believed that footwear can tell you no less about its owner than, say, a car can. Thus, to continue with the car analogies, we will say this: Mephisto footwear will appeal to those thrilled by VW Golf II GTI, SAAB 900 or Volvo 460. Now, what is Mephisto anyway and why is this brand found in the ITK store?
It all began in 1965 when a young German guy named Martin Michaeli return from his trip to the USA, where he gained a degree in Footwear Technology, back to Europe. Having had some personal savings, Martin founded a shoe manufacturing company in the small French town of Sarrebourg. The location was chosen for its easy accessibility, which granted access to the leading European markets - Germany, Austria, Belgium and Sweden. Mephisto kicked things off with moccasins. The original inventions and the making of wessentially different models meant success for the French brand. In 1973 Martin Michaeli gets his first patent, and no later than 1975 the brand gains worldwide recognition. The company manufactures explicitly comfortable high-quality footwear for outdoor activities and for the city. The use of natural materials and manual labour go into the making of each pair of shoes. On average, each pair undergoes 160-220 manufacturing stages. Moreover, all Mephisto models have orthopedic qualities and are equipped with temperature control technology and the unique Soft-Air technology, which accounts for high resistance to wear and tear. Thanks to the combination of innovative technologies with manual labour, the brand has won the prestigious award for the best footwear in France three times, while the founder was presented with the highest government award in France: Ordre national de la Légion d'honneur. In 2015 the brand celebrated its 50th anniversary and is currently the number one footwear brand in France. Mephisto has remained a family business to this day. The founder’s son and daughter currently run the company, while Martin himself has become a billionare and has settled down in Zurich.
The Soft-Air Technology
An intermediary sole equipped with the Soft-Air technology, flexible and soft, is present in every Mephisto pair. It brings down the damage done during walking to the absolute minimum.
The Air-Jet technology
The Air-Jet system allows for the circulation of air inside the shoes, resulting in a favourable microclimate and a feeling of freshness.
Mephisto footwear is more than the choice of well-off pensioners who while their days in the south of France. Frankly speaking, we think that this one fact speaks for itself and acts as an unquestionable advantage: Mephisto is luxe footwear for the middle class, which is a mix of hiking boots, sports footwear, footwear for the city and formal shoes. Extreme comfort is combined with a provocative appearance, which can be seen as the perfect combination in the era of trainers, new technologies and the trend for “ugly” or “Dad’s” and outdoor footwear. This is next-gen stuff! To keep things simple, this footwear is the perfect alternative to trainers for those who are tired of the latest releases, those who don’t pay any attention to them and even for those who, for several reasons, need to follow all the rules that come with looking presentable. However, the best about this footwear is not all the above – in fact, the best is in that it symbolises being out of context, a way of thinking that goes challenges the commonly accepted ways.
Martin’s company was initially called Michaela and specialised in making moccasins for ladies in a tiny French commune not far from the German border. Everything changed after one of Martin’s numerous business trips. That time he stayed in a hotel that housed a small exhibition dedicated to Goethe, the author of the philosophical drama ‘Faust’. The book tells the story of a bet between Professor Faust and evil spirit Mephistopheles. It is not known what exactly in the demonic name drew the German businessman’s attention, but what we do know for sure is that the company Michaela was renamed to Mephisto in 1965.
The most famous model of the French brand is Rainbow. It took quite some time for Mephisto Rainbow to go from being a prerogative of the upper classes in Europe to finding their place in the wardrobes of the masses. This happened in the mid-90s. Before then Rainbow had been an expensive item, considered something along the lines of Paraboot. Experienced football fans with a knack forthe violent component of being one will certainly tell you that Mephisto Rainbow shoes were popular on the terraces of British stadiums and are reminiscent of silhouettes from the adidas line Freizeit, also known as Leisure.
Rainbow were founder Martin Michaeli’s debut design. He made first prototype in his own kitchen. In the exact same spot today is the Mephisto factory, which now manufactures over 20 000 pairs every day. The idea for the silhouette, the assembling technology and the required materials came to Martin in the time when he was studying in the USA, just like the idea to make the best footwear in the world. You will have guessed that hid dreams were realised in Mephisto Rainbow. The development behind Mepisto Rainbow was indeed revolutionary and beat its competitors in production technologies. There was simply nothing like it on the market at the time.
Another key and truly iconic model from Mephisto was Match, which was a great success in the USA. The classic tennis silhouette, white leather, the sporty design and the cutting-edge technologies bringing ultra-high levels of comfort did their job. Another important factor in the popularity of Match was the unbelievably high price per pair. The price tag sparked a lively interest among the customers… It’s strange but true. The model itself is a remastered version of Mephisto Runoff from the 80s. Among Match fans were Luciano Pavarotti, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sean Connery. The latter even wore them during his visit to the Parliament of Scotland in 1999. This caused a big conflict, when Sean Connery himself said: “It is simply the best footwear you can buy”.
It may seem at first glance that Mephisto footwear is hard to fit into the modern style, but we will rush to spare you of your doubts. We are talking about the ultimate many-sided pair of shoes you can find here. In town or out in the presence of nature, in a night club or in a business meeting, in the metro or while driving a car – a pair of Mephisto shoes will look equally suitable in each of these scenarios. What’s more, you will be able to find out the meaning of serious comfort through your own experience. One can compare the essence of Mephisto footwear with that of Patagonia clothing. To clarify, the case with both these brands is that they show us that removing an item from its ordinary context gives it an opportunity to shine in a new light and grants it a fresh interpretation. We’ll also note that as each pair of shoes gives away its secrets of the encapsulating process of ageing as a unique pattern is created as the shoes are worn, this being a logical next chapter in the narrative told by Mephisto footwear about its owner.