An old saying goes: “Always look at a man’s shoes, they will tell you a lot about him”.
The tenth and last article for Natural Gentleman is about the fascinating industry of the shoes. Just like for every other garment of a gentleman’s closet, also for the shoes a lot could be said and a web article may not be the most appropriate tool to write in depth about this matter. Provided that buying an high quality pair of shoes is a lifetime investment, it is essential to debunk the myth according to which expensive shoes, being rigid, hurt. An excellent pair of shoes, except the case of an efficient marketing campaign, is not supposed to hurt and if this happens is just because of a wrong size or sole width. As for hand-made shoes, these are the basic steps. After the design phase, the leather and the lining are cut. The next step is the binding phase in which the previously-cut pieces are put together to make the upper. Then the upper is mounted onto the form and stitched (in Good Year type, Norvegian, Bologna, Tyrolean, or Tubular). Next is the sole-making phase that involves attaching sole and heel; finally the finishing phase is needed for the colour and the polishing. It takes twenty to thirty days to make a pair of shoes because there are technical intervals which must be respected: the finishing itself for example requires four or five days. The current trend is all about double monks (named after the monks’ sandals for their buckles) and tassel loafers, with an increasing presence of slippers; on the contrary, the interest for driving loafers is waning. A tip: it is better to go for a “good-year welted” pair than for a blake one; only the first one can be changed if damaged and the shoes will return to mint conditions! In the end, thanks to this nice (at least for me!) experience, not only did I have the chance to write down what I have learnt during the interviews of the past two years, but also it pushed me to reopen some dusty style books resting on my shelves, in order to check whether my statements were grounded . Thus, I would like to thank the guys of Natural Gentleman for this opportunity and you Dudes for your enthusiastic feedbacks. It is a mix of details that makes a man elegant and for sure “clothes don’t make the man, but they can help a man look great”! 😀
Written by Fabio Attanasio – author of the blog thebespokedudes.com