Heart of the Valley: La Sportiva’s Next Generation

Meet the fourth generation of the family-owned footwear company, La Sportiva. Giulia Delladio is the next in line and will be the first woman to lead the family business out of Val di Fiemme, Italy. We sat down with her to hear about the history of this iconic climbing and outdoor brand and her thoughts about the future.

1. What makes La Sportiva stand out from other brands?

La Sportiva differs from other outdoor companies in that we design and produce mountaineering products in the middle of the mountains. Our location in Val di Fiemme easily allows us to be the first testers of our products in varied outdoor terrain, and lets us continue to improve our standards in order to satisfy (also surprise!) the final consumers. Everything is made with passion in the middle of the mountains.

2. What is your favorite piece of La Sportiva gear? Why?

This is the most difficult question ever! I’m really not able to reply—every single piece is a creation with its own story made of people, thoughts, dreams, madness, changes and memories. I cannot have one favorite!

3. What do you love most about your job?

I love to see things evolving before my very eyes. There is a lot of planning, forecasting and data analysis behind the development of every collection and every product. I’m lucky enough to open the door behind my desk and see the real deal happening: the heart of our company, the production floor. I’m totally fascinated by how a project can become a beautiful mountaineering tool that will make somebody happy in the mountains. I really like following every single step that transforms a project, an idea, a dream into a product.

4. What makes the people who work in the factory so important to the brand?

La Sportiva is a company made of people. Every single person plays a key role in the company’s magic mechanism. Most of the people working at La Sportiva belong to the region where the company was founded almost 90 years ago. They know the story, they followed the growth of the company and some of them grew up with the company. There are different generations of the same families working at La Sportiva—it’s part of the tradition, an inheritance of the passion for what they do every day.

5. Describe your grandmother Luigia. What does she mean to the family and company?

My grandmother Luigia was a really strong woman with a very determined temperament. She was the focal point of the family for many generations: for her husband and four children, and her grandchildren and great-grandchildren, like me. She passed away when she was 105 years old, and we all were very lucky to spend such a long time with her.

She used to live in a mountain hut in the forest. I remember her cooking all of us polenta with mushrooms that she picked in the morning. She’s the one who taught me to knit, to embroider, to sew, all things linked to her tradition. She was always strong enough to keep the family together and to push every generation to go on with passion and commitment to the family business.

6. What does a woman’s perspective bring to company leadership?

I think women see everyday things in a different way. I’m not saying better or worse than men, just differently. I think this is pretty natural. This means having different input, ideas and seeing a problem or an opportunity from a different point of view. I think having a woman in a company’s leadership can enrich the management in many ways.

7. We know you’ve been instrumental to La Sportiva by adding more color to its assortment. What inspired your color choices?

Adding some colors to the traditional La Sportiva black and yellow started with my personal desire to having some feminine mountain-running shoes to wear. I simply bought some colorful markers and started to color the La Sportiva logo on my pair of black-and-yellow Crosslites. The first pair of my personal collection were black and pink! From that moment on I started pushing the R&D department to focus on the color and aesthetic side of the products. Now you can see the results!

8. What are you excited about next at La Sportiva?

There is always a lot going on at La Sportiva. The next big emblematic step is the celebration of the company’s 90th anniversary in 2018. I’m working on some side projects (still top secret) and of course some big innovation, so stay tuned!

New La Sportiva Products We’re Excited About

At the co-op we’re excited about the Nucleo High GTX hiking boots because they combine the rugged durability of nubuck leather uppers with the amazing waterproof breathability of Gore-Tex® Surround technology. That means all-day comfort and performance with visible technology. They’re an excellent tool for everything from short day hikes to multiday backpacking trips.

We’re also thrilled with the new Mythos ECO climbing shoes, which are constructed of 95% recycled or environmentally-friendly materials, including the rubber, leather, glue and laces. This shows that even the most technical products for the mountains can also help protect the future of the places where we live and play.

We can’t help but finish with Akyra trail-running shoes. La Sportiva used its knowledge of the trail to build these technical, robust trail shoes that can take you anywhere in the mountains, keep you protected and let you move fast.

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