Buttero is one of those brands that flies under the radar and yet always seems to draw universal praise by those who own the products, including myself. I've been really happy with the Tanino sneakers I picked up last year, for instance, in that they deliver quality leather in an attractive design, solid build, and sense of soul that is often missing in other options around the same price point. So I'm a little surprised, year after year, when I see Butteros fall to shockingly low prices around the net. I picked up this pair, the B101 "lace up boots," the other day on Yoox for $103 shipped (!), and wanted to share them with you to highlight the sort of thing that can happen when you search a little deeper than the average guy is willing to before settling on a pair of Cole Haans for twice the price and a fraction of the quality.
Design, Materials, and Construction
Let's talk about the leather first, as it's probably the most interesting and polarizing aspect here. Unfortunately there isn't a lot of available information on these boots because, as far as I can tell, the B101 model was discontinued many years ago and may never have been sold in the US at all -at least not since 2013 when the Internet Archive started cataloguing Buttero's site. From what I've been able to gather (mostly from translated Japanese sites), the leather used on the uppers is described as "Guidi vachetta," a vegetable tanned leather from the renowned Guidi & Rosellini tannery in Pescia, Tuscany.
Buttero has collaborated with Guidi before, an Italian tannery dating back to 1896 that's known for producing leather with a lived-in and weathered feel (they also now make their own footwear with that same vibe), and the rugged character of the leather used on these boots seems to fit the Guidi mold well. While the boots are described as "nero" (black), the model number listed on the box is followed by "PE-TORR" to designate the leather type. When you search "PE-TORR" around the web in different combinations ("Buttero PE-TORR," "PE-TORR," etc.), you end up on a few sites that generally describe a nubuck treated with oil and some type of powder. The nubuck part is straightforward enough and was a welcome surprise, as I initially thought they were made from suede. Nubuck differs in that it utilizes the grain side of calfskin, which has been sanded or buffed down to give the leather surface a short nap vs. suede, where the flesh side of the hide is the surface. Of the two, nubuck is generally considered more durable as it comes from the natural exterior of the hide, and it's likewise usually more expensive.