Footwear

Review: Paraboot Chambords in dark brown suede 

Maybe I’m getting old or I’ve always had old man sensibilities. I mean, I do wear alot of cardigans and tweeds. I have always had an affinity for split toes. I originally had my eye on a pair of suede Dovers on the 606 last from Edward Green. But I was torn between that makeup and the more common dark oak. In the end, the fantastic burnishing on the calf won and I’ll be saving for a pair of dark oak calf Dovers in the future.

In the meantime my search for a pair of dark brown derbies/apron toes took me in other directions. There’s surprisingly few options. Suede Norwegian split toes (NSTs) can be had from EG (as mentioned), Carmina, Alden, Tricker’s, Allen Edmonds, Crockett & Jones, and Paraboot.

Continue reading “Review: Paraboot Chambords in dark brown suede “

Footwear

The Stretching Experiment

I had a bad run a couple of years ago where I bought a few loafers that were half a size too small (the perils of buying without trying!). My first lament was a pair of Alden tassel loafers in colour #8 shell cordovan (the Brooks Brothers version). I think the Aberdeen last is just too pointy for my fat, wide toes. The length is actually fine and I get a bit of heel slippage but halfway through my day, my fourth toe feels like it’s about to fall off. My second lament was a pair of Rancourt beefroll penny loafers in natural chromexcel. The strap was painfully tight initially but I even got through that and the leather actually moulded to my feet quite well. But I think the tightness around my big toe contributed to a bit of stretching and caused a bit of a squeak with every step if I walked too fast. So about 2 months ago I ordered a cheapo shoe stretcher off eBay.  Continue reading “The Stretching Experiment”

Cloth and Hide · Footwear

Sock it to ’em

Socks are often overlooked as an accessory and lately I’ve been paying more attention to them. I guess it’s logical… if you have better shoes, you start to invest in better socks. Why get better socks? Well they last longer for one. And they look better to start off with, and for longer as the colours don’t run or fade. Here are 3 brands I have been enjoying lately – these are mostly chunkier styles as it is winter here and I am wearing heavier shoes and boots. Winter also allows me to be more creative and crazy with my patterns!

Continue reading “Sock it to ’em”

Footwear · Local Spotlight

A chance visit to Double Monk

I happened to be in the city for a work-related reason and couldn’t resist the chance to visit Double Monk in The Strand Arcade. These guys have been in Melbourne for ages but have recently opened a Sydney store about 18 months ago. Like all good menswear stores, it is tucked away so you have to go looking for it on the top floor right in the corner. It is not a very big store and there are floor-to-ceiling boxes full of shoes from names like Edward Green, Crockett & Jones, John Lobb and most recently, Alden of New England (which was what got me so excited).  Continue reading “A chance visit to Double Monk”

Footwear

Massdrop x Allen Edmonds Chukka boots – 5 months on

This drop is live again right now with 8 days left. I was one of the guys who joined the very first drop last year so I thought I’d do a quick write-up of my experience with them. For those who don’t know what Massdrop is, it is basically a group buy/made-to-order type setup. A drop appears for a limited time and the more people join, the cheaper it becomes. Usually the orders don’t start getting made until the drop finishes, so the trade-off for a lower price is that you can sometimes wait for weeks to months for your goods to arrive.

Continue reading “Massdrop x Allen Edmonds Chukka boots – 5 months on”

Footwear

Finally, shoe-trees for Australians!

Shoe trees are essential when taking care of your shoe investments. I have talked about shoe trees and how to properly take care of your shoes before, but access to good quality shoe trees have always been a problem in Australia. The Americans have pretty nice selection of shoe trees from brands like Woodlore, but shoe trees weigh quite a bit (they are made of wood and metal after all) so the shipping might cost as much as (or more than) the shoe trees themselves. EBay sells shoe trees but the sizing is a bit hit and miss, it’s usually not cedar, the quality is generally terrible, and the shipping is still not that cheap. So I had pretty much resigned myself to buying Florsheim shoe trees due to the lack of options. Until now!

Continue reading “Finally, shoe-trees for Australians!”

Footwear

True moccasins

I love my moccasins and own quite a few pairs. Now it is important to distinguish between true moccasins, moccasin-styled shoes, and loafers.

True moccasin construction

A true moccasin is one where the leather is wrapped/shaped from the ground up around the last, then another piece of leather to sewn on top  to form the vamp (the top part of the shoe over your toes). This means the sides and bottom of the shoe are all one piece of leather. A sole is usually sewn to the leather under where your foot goes, and there is usually an insole attached inside the shoe. Here is a handy diagram courtesy of Russell Moccasin Co. The sewing is usually done by hand and there are a number of companies in the New England region of America that specialise in hand-sewn moccasins. Continue reading “True moccasins”

Footwear

Investing in a shoe collection: Part I

So I hear a lot of guys say “I’m looking to spend some money on a decent pair of shoes, but I don’t know where to start”. And usually people start throwing brands or advice at them about what’s good but really a lot of that is just their own preferences. To build up a shoe collection, you must first understand the language of shoe styles, what they convey, and what you intend to use them for.

Continue reading “Investing in a shoe collection: Part I”

Footwear

My Shoe Care Habits: Part II

For part two (see part I here), we’ll move onto some dressier shoes, and some interesting materials.

Calf

With most dress shoes made of calf leather, you start by doing the same things as boot care – put in a shoe tree, brush off any dirt with a brush, remove the laces.

First Step is conditioning. You can get any number of conditioners from shoe makers like Allen Edmonds and Loake. Brands like Kiwi and Lexol also make conditioners. But my favourite product (and it is supposed to be the best out there) has to be Saphir Renovateur. It is expensive stuff, but you only use the tiniest bit at a time. I apply it to the leather using a soft cotton cloth. You can get a welt brush or an old toothbrush to apply the conditioner to the welt. Leave the conditioner to dry for about 20 minutes or so.

Continue reading “My Shoe Care Habits: Part II”