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 ┬áto 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”

Footwear

My Shoe Care Habits: Part I

When I got my first pair of quality shoes, I was a bit confused by all the conflicting advice on the internet. Is mink oil good for your shoes or is it bad? Does lanolin ruin leather or is it moisturising? Should I polish my boots weekly or monthly? I was also pretty busy so I didn’t have time to spit-polish my shoes every weekend. So here is a fairly comprehensive list of my shoe care habits (and a little bit about my mistakes along the way) in a 2-part series. I don’t want to pretend it is only right way, but it has kept this time-poor dad’s shoes looking schmick.

Continue reading “My Shoe Care Habits: Part I”

Footwear

Goodyear Welt

My first foray into quality came in the form of shoes. During my trip to America, I wandered into J.Crew at the height of their lofty success and lusted after their Alden longwings but balked at the price. At the time I knew next to nothing about shoes and had no idea why a pair of shoes should cost so much. I thought I could do better and came home with a pair of Hugo Boss shortwings and Cole Haan loafers. I now know they are cheap and glued but at at the time I thought they were a “lifetime” purchase because the sole looked like they were stitched on. Later I realised the stitching was just decorative and served no functional purpose. Continue reading “Goodyear Welt”