In capital Quito’s Old Town, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, visitors can stitch souls and soles together. First they may reflect in the gilded splendors of a pride of Baroque churches. Second they can indulge in an exclusive tour of the 108-year-old La Mundial’s internationally renowned fully custom equestrian and fashion boot making atelier.
The excursion into the world of boots is offered by Tropic, Ecuador’s Quito-headquartered award-winning ecotourism company. Tropic, which has led tours through the country’s landscapes since 1994, now features a new Quito day tour entitled Luxury Custom Boots Experience.
This six-hour adventure is rife with incense and leather plus lunch as guests delve into Quito’s restored colonial heart. Enroute the itinerary showcases how La Mundial’s history relates to the character of the city itself. Four generations later the same family is still running the company. The grand-daughter of founder Don Francisco Rivas became one of the first women in the shoe manufacturing industry.
After learning the secrets of the boot making process, visitors wishing to purchase custom-made boots are invited to have their measurements taken. Twenty-eight measurements are required to create a pair of La Mundial Custom Boots. After viewing sample styles, a designer assists in working out the choreography of the boot itself.
La Mundial was founded in the Centro Histórico of Quito when a local shoemaker, Don Francisco Rivas, worked with an Italian boot maker sent here to share his techniques and to create better boots for the equestrian division of the Ecuadorian military. The company has retained these classic techniques while integrating modern technology into their products.
With experience in crafting both fully custom equestrian and fashion boots, La Mundial exports from Ecuador to countries around the globe. Its equestrian boots were worn by the Canadian Olympic Team in the London 2012 Olympics, and are regularly used by Olympic-level athletes from the USA, Ireland, and Australia. La Mundial's international trajectory continues with new presence in Norway, Sweden, Germany, and in France at the 2014 World Equestrian Games.
Boots ordered on a factory visit cost 30 percent less than if bought elsewhere. Purchases of locally made goods assist sustainable tourism.
When you go
American Airlines flies daily nonstop flights to Quito from Miami. For information on all of Tropic’s touring options: http://www.destinationecuador.com.