The Padrilles Company


Padrilles a 14sfootwear news-1BWfootwear news backside cpFootwear News, September 1971

padrilles shoe-1 early model of a Padrilles.

calling card_122200 copy

The story of the Padrilles shoe company – formally launched in 1958 – actually began in 1955 when Emery went to the beach in Greenwich, Ct with his wife Madelaine and remarked on how all the men were wearing their old leather wing-tipped shoes to the beach.  He asked why they weren’t wearing espadrilles – quite common beach attire in Europe. In fact at that time, espadrilles were available from Mexico but they were cheaply made, tied together and thrown into a bin at stores like Woolworths (similar to K-Mart today). His vision was to develop a line of espadrilles that were finely crafted in Italy and sold to the best stores in an array of colors. He borrowed some money and took off to Florence, Italy where he soon found a pair of shoemakers – Prunechi and Messini – who agreed to prepare some samples for him.  With these samples he approached the largest and most famous department stores and shoe chains- including Sachs, Bloomingdales, Nordstroms, Lord and Taylor, and Florsheim among others – and upscale independent shoe stores.  Driving hundreds of miles across the country he met with excellent reception for his new concept, which he called Padrilles. The family lore includes sales stories – as when he walked into Sachs and asked to see the buyer. The receptionist asked if he had an appointment, to which Emery replied – What appointment! I go to see the buyer! and walked right in, getting the order. He was a talented designer and went to Italy twice a year to design the Fall and Summer lines, soon extending it from espadrilles to a line of casual shoes with the same, lightweight colorful approach. For over 20 years Padrilles were a huge success on the U.S. market, with offices in the Empire State Building and the Palazzo Ferragamo in Florence, Italy.  Emery’s wife, Madelaine, was a great support, running all of the operations – from manufacturing to importing, invoicing, accounting and distribution. She was the “inside man” and he was the “outside man”.  Together they made a great team and were able to retire very comfortably in South Beach, Miami Beach in the 80’s. (RDL)


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