Italy and leather go together…it always has been that way. Even today some of the best, most sought after leather fashion pieces, accessories, footwear, bags, and briefcases originate in Italy.
About Floto Imports
Floto Imports was established in 2003 and is based in Brooklyn, NY. All of their products are manufactured in Italy with the philosophy, “older is better”. According to the Floto website, “Our mission is to refine old world craft methods to produce pieces that are superior to mass-produced luggage. Top grade Italian calfskins and natural, vibrant fabrics come together to create timeless and iconic styles.”
I had the privilege of discussing Floto Imports with Joe Floto and we decided to feature their most popular duffle, the Parma Edition Duffle. You will also be seeing a review of Floto Imports Roma Duffle in coming days.
The Floto Imports Parma Edition Duffle features Floto’s Parma leather, which is tumbled in cognac dye for 24 hours and then dried for 30 days and receives no further tanning. The result is a soft, attractive leather that darkens as you use it, much like a baseball glove.
The duffle is 11″ h x 10″ w x 21″ long. It’s ideal for carry-on usage when flying and meets airline standards. The hardware (rivets, feet, handle components, and strap attachments are polished stainless steel. It sports a Riri stainless steel zipper, an adjustable 42” shoulder strap, thickly padded handles, and heavy-duty khaki colored stitching.
The Floto Imports Parma Edition Leather Duffle is an excellent quick excursion bag. In spite of using heavy leather, Riri zippers, and heavy duty hardware, the bag itself is only 4.5 pounds. It’s nimble, yet surprisingly roomy. As I’ve mentioned in other reviews my clothes are all large in size. During my first test trip to Northern California with this duffle, I was able to easily pack the following:
- One pair of size 12 boots
- Two pair of Levi’s
- Two pair of shorts
- Three polo shirts
- Two button down dress shirts
- One t-shirt
- Four pairs of socks
- Four pair of undies
- An extra belt
- TSA–sized toiletry bag
The duffle still easily had room for another pair of shorts or a couple more shirts if necessary. It was certainly not jammed packed at all.
The design of the bag and the way it zips open makes it very easy to load and unload. It stays open with ease, which is a nice feature in a duffle thanks to the gusseted design. The zipper feels excellent (it’s a Riri!) and the Floto branded zipper pulls fit well in your fingers and feel nice due to their weight.
The thickly padded handles are really nice. Carrying this bag was not a chore at all. The shoulder strap is a little lacking given the superior construction and aesthetic of the bag. The strap itself is short – but that may be in part due to my stature. I was able to adjust it to the longest setting possible and comfortably shoulder the bag and cup my arm around it without issue. If the included shoulder strap creates problems for you, then consider upgrading to Floto’s Grande Strap, which looks to be much more robust.
The cognac color of the Parma leather is very easy on the eye. Add into that the thick, khaki-colored, contrasting thread, heavy-duty hardware, and Riri zipper and you’ve got a very luxurious looking combination. The interior fabric choice is great and lends itself to keeping the interior light, making it easy to locate items within the bag. The interior side zipper pocket is spacious and nice to have for storing delicate or small items.
Joe mentioned that this is the bag he routinely carries with him on his trips to Europe. He’s carried the same Parma Duffle for five years now. Below is a picture of his bag in Paris after being treated with R.M. Williams Saddle Oil. You can see that the Parma Edition Duffle will definitely age well, darken, and develop a beautiful patina.
Another important tidbit to remember stated by Joe is that Lexol and spray on type conditioners do not work well with Parma leather. He definitely recommends using R.M. Williams Saddle Oil or another similar product.
Overall I’m very pleased with the performance and classy appearance of the Floto Imports Parma Edition Duffle. Its carry-on size, roomy interior, excellent leather, and high-grade components add up to making it a solid choice in the crowded leather luggage/travel bag market. The $549 purchase price shouldn’t scare you off at all as it is a long-term investment that will more than satisfy for your travel needs for decades to come.