High-end Nettleton Shoes steps back into the footwear business

High-end Nettleton Shoes steps back into the footwear business

High-end shoe company Nettleton Shoes is back in business. Owned since the 1970s by native St. Louisan Edward Tognoni, the brand sat idle for decades until Tognoni and his family decided last year to re-launch the footwear brand.

The full line makes its debut again Aug. 1, said Jim Tognoni, a company vice president and Edward’s brother.

Styles include the “Newport,” a tassled loafer priced at $795, and the “Bentley,” a chocolate brown crocodile shoe that costs $2,500, according to the company’s website.

Founded in 1879 in Syracuse, N.Y., Nettleton outfitted military officers and U.S. presidents such as Teddy Roosevelt and Calvin Coolidge during its first century in business. Edward Tognoni ran Nettleton for nearly a decade in the 1970s and 1980s, before selling the brand to U.S. Shoe Co. He re-purchased the brand a few years later.

Tognoni, who now lives in Miami, let the brand sit dormant until last year when his brother Jim and son, Dean, came across Nettleton shoes being sold online and realized there was still a market for the brand. In the past few months, the family has retained a contract manufacturer in Western Europe to make the Nettleton shoes. Jim Tognoni lives in St. Louis and Dean Tognoni lives in Las Vegas.

Jim Tognoni said his family anticipates doing $4.5 million in sales during the first 12 months of operation, including $3 million in direct-to-consumer sales via the company website and $1.5 million on the wholesale side. “We are in the process of hand selecting 15 or so high-end retailers across the U.S. that cater to gentlemen,” he said in an email. After the initial 12 months, he said the company plans to expand its retail and wholesale operations in the United Kingdom, Belgium, France and Italy.