Jared's visit to nimbl shoe factory

At the very first window of possibility to escape the pandemic restrictions in May, I eagerly hopped a flight to Italy. Italy is always (and will forever be) worth the effort. I was bound for a working town on the shore of the Adriatic few have heard of, for a meeting with a cycling shoe company far fewer even knew existed. Once through the chaos of Euro rental car agencies, just 2 more sleep-deprived travel hours would put me in Porto Sant’Elpidio to see some old friends at a new-ish company - nimbl cycling shoes. 

In three short years, nimbl is punching far above its size in producing the finest, performance road cycling shoes. With over 90 ProTour riders, they are quickly becoming the true choice of professionals. It is impressive that not a single athlete is receiving sponsorship dollars to wear nimbl - riders are making a conscious product choice based on fit, weight and performance. 
Everyone knows handmade Italian shoes are a thing. Some of the very craftspeople known for making those beautiful suede loafers by hand are now crafting nimbl cycling shoes, still by-hand, one pair at a time. nimbl owns their entire production process from laying up the carbon outsole, stamping of the upper, and the complete final assembly in their very own factory. That might seem logical but a rarity in our cycling industry where the vast majority of products are sourced from 3rd party manufacturing facilities focused on volume output and cost reduction. 

While the brand is relatively new, one the partners, Lugino Verducci, has been crafting in-line skates and custom cycling shoes for 20+ years. His grandfather made shoes, his father made shoes and Lugino himself has made shoes since he was seven years old.  He clearly knows how to craft footwear and every ounce of his experience is evident in nimbl cycling shoes. With a small team under his eye, the nimbl team produces about 8000 pairs of shoes per year and, at this point, only a few hundred make their way to North America. We’re lucky to have them at Bicicletta.cc. 

The factory was exactly as I expected - several prototypes, reams of fabric, busy hands stamping uppers, and piles of shoes each in a progressive stage towards a final handmade product. However, two aspects of the operation amazed me. The factory itself was spotless, in hindsight it should not have a surprise. nimbl’s packaging and products are clean and simple, the factory is merely a precursor to the final product. Secondly, the pride among team producing nimbl shoes was very clear - they humbly know their production process and final shoe is unique. 

As for the final product, you can actually expect finely crafted Italian shoes. They are among the lightest production shoes in the world, if not the lightest. The fit is unique, snug in heel (and a hairdryer can help customize the fit even further) but generous width in the forefoot. Think wide toe-box running shoes to keep your feet happy all day. Additionally, there is no stiffer outsole construction that we’ve found. That’s due to the bathtub-like construction and their unique carbon layout, it’s exceptional. Our team is excited about nimbl, the product is truly different with an incredible fit and discernible performance improvement. The pros choosing nimbl is with good reason.