Old clients frequently report seeing pictures and texts from this website appearing in other places on the internet, notably in blogs and auction sites, with reference or links to this website. I am flattered that my research and descriptions should find such widespread resonance and I am confident that in those few cases where credit is not given, my longtime readers will realize where they originate.
In response to frequent queries from old clients: “Good deals” on Ebay do exist but they are for the fellow who is prepared to spend ridiculous amounts of time plowing through the, today, 1,981,000, men’s shoes being offered (yes, almost 2 million men’s shoes at a given time).
For the rest of us who value our time and realize that the real bargains have long ago disappeared from Ebay,…..(more)… this is not a reasonable option. Moreover, the remaining “good deals” invariably turn out to be deceptive, a truly great shoe but in an inhuman size, say AAA, or 17 EEE, suitable for neither man nor beast, or, as frustratingly, a perfectly nice shoe, just your size, but when it arrives reveals the reason it is being sold, mildew from the cellar or attic from which it was unearthed -and once mildewed, forever mildewed- or it is discovered to have fossilized over the decades of disuse into a sort of flaking cardboard…although appearing perfect in the photographs.
I have had every one of these experience and other disappointments too and I am not too proud to admit that I have a shelf of dozens of such mistakes made early in this hobby; I keep this evidence of my ignorance and unfulfilled optimism to remind me to avoid temptation today. Yes, there are good deals in Ebay and other such sites in the internet and every haystack contains a needle too but do you really want to waste 10 hours of your time to buy three bad pairs of shoes in order to find one good pair?
Even after you find it, if you average the good buys with the cost of the mistakes and the time wasted, you will have been far better off with a reputable dealer who, like this website, offers a 100% money-back guarantee. In short, the best deal is to frequent a proven seller with known quality merchandise, especially someone who specializes in what you are looking for. For many gentlemen, I have had the privilege of playing that role. If you have not already taken advantage of the website, I hope you will not think me too self-serving to invite you to do so in the future -and do so with confidence.
Unlike a boulevard shoe store with a limited number of models but in every size, the website has hundreds of models, including some of the most obscure and wonderful examples from, what can only be called, “artists” of the past, but in a limited number of sizes. Often there is only one example of a great shoe. The challenge then is to find this “needle in the haystack” of the website.
It can be amusing, occasionally, to “turn” the pages of the website and see everything, but for efficiency, use the “Quick Shoe Finder” to focus on your particular interest, without going through the website page after page. My own preference would be to search by size; you limit what appears to your own size without distraction, but you may also find something of interest that you did not anticipate; there are many one-of-a-kind items that one would never think of in advance. Indeed, it is these wonderful rarities that “make” the collection of the proverbial “gentlemen who has everything”.
There has been some discussion about my not removing recent sales from view, as is the common practice. My intention in retaining these is to provide a record to the purchaser and, also to provide the visitor with an overview of styles and a general price reference, this and, frankly, that there are some rarities among these shoes that it would be a pity to allow to disappear from public view after they are sold. For the visitor who might take exception to the clutter of historical inclusions, there is now the new gadget that hides sold items from view for more focused shopping. This allows me, with the generous encouragement of my faithful collector clients and shoe aficionados, to continue to conserve the record of the rare and beautiful, of the late and the great.
Ebay Deutschland and Ebay France do not distinguish between un-endangered species such as farmed alligator, lizard grown in captivity, or the plentiful African antelope, and the truly endangered species. These divisions of Ebay prohibit the auctioning of these and any skin that could be construed to be endangered, even when in use in antique objects, as with most of my exotic skin shoes, crafted far before the existence of any such considerations in the world. In the mean time, these wonderful shoes made from alligator, crocodile, sharkskin, snakeskin, elephant, bison, water buffalo, and so forth, are freely and legally traded in Italy, Spain (not surprisingly, as they are the main producers in the world of reptile shoes), the US (where exotic skin cowboy boots are sold in large numbers), and in many other countries. Moreover, every great shoemaker offers shoes in Alligator and other exotic skins at the top of his line. This is as true today as it was in yesteryear, and gentleman clients wear these most elegant and most luxurious shoes with pride as, indeed, I have sold them with pride. You will find the absolute finest in vintage exotic-skin shoes listed here, with the same convenient European payment and delivery arrangements I have always offered.
It is interesting to note that about a million and a half alligators are estimated to roam the state of Florida, five times as many as when they were declared endangered 30 years ago. Imagine a million and a half wolves wandering out of the Black Forest looking for food. Alligators are as dangerous as wolves and regularly threaten the residential areas close to Florida’s myriad of marches, canals and waterways. There are sixteen thousand calls annually to the State’s hotline reporting encounters with rogue alligators. Pets, swimmers, even joggers have been dragged off embankments. The Alligator’s only competitors in the Everglades are a recently introduced and quickly proliferating African lizard called the Nile Monitor which can outrun a human being, and the Burmese Python which can grow to 7 meters (20 feet) and weigh 90 Kilos (200 pounds). The numbers in the wild of these creatures is know to be in the thousand and possibly in the tens of thousands and rising quickly. They are decimating the native bird and turtle populations and are even known to attack alligators. The family dog makes a handy meal for any of these amphibian and an unattended toddler can disappear beneath the surface of the swamp with hardly a ripple. Florida teams with some of the world’s largest and deadliest wildlife. Wear you alligator shoes without guilt.
Ebay-Deutschland und Ebay-Frankreich unterscheiden nicht zwischen gefährdeten Tierarten – wie etwa Alligatoren die auf speziellen Farmen gezüchtet werden (Eidechsen ebenfalls) sowie der zahlreich vorkommenden afrikanischen Antilope – und den wirklich gefährdeten Tierarten. Das Auktionieren dieser aufgezählten Beispiele verbieten beide Ebay-Departments und sie verbieten weiterhin alle Arten von Ledern, die als bedrohte Arten interpretiert werden könnten, selbst wenn Sie in antiken Objekten verarbeitet wurden wie fast alle meiner angebotenen exotischen Lederschuhe, die weit vor dieser Kategorisierung gearbeitet wurden. In der Zwischenzeit werden diese wunderbaren Modelle aus Ledern von Alligator, Krokodil, Haifisch, Schlange, Elefant, Bison, Wasserbüffel, usw. ohne jegliche Restriktion in Italien, Spanien (nicht überraschend, denn Spanien ist Haupt-Produzent von Reptilien-Schuhen), den USA (wo man Cowboy-Stil in grossem Umfang vertreibt) und vielen anderen Ländern frei und legal gehandelt. So zwingt das blinde und undifferenzierte Verbot – sowohl im deutschen als auch im französischen Ebay – einen jeden Händler von exotischen Lederarten andere Plattformen zu wählen um diese luxuriösen Produkte anzubieten. Jeder der grossen Schuhmacher bietet Schuhe – als herausragende Top-Modelle – aus Alligatoren-Leder an! Das gilt für heute wie damals und meine Gentlemen-Stammkunden tragen diese ungemein eleganten und äusserst luxuriösen Schuhe mit grösster Freude – und mit eben dieser Freude habe ich auch all die Jahre exotische Lederarten verkauft.
The Florsheims shown in these pages, both the Imperials and the others, are the products of the 100-plus year old firm, founded by a cobbler’s son, Milton Florsheim, in 1892 and, arguably, the most important shoemaker in American history. In recent decades the firm changed hands several times and ended in bankruptcy in 2002. By the late 1980, offshore production had already replaced the superlative American-made upon which Florsheim’s reputation was fonded.
Florsheim’s “Imperial” line of the mid-century cannot be improved upon by any modern shoe at any price. Even the ordinary Florshiems (non-Imperials) of the 80’s and earlier, are an excellent single-soled shoe, similar in quality to Allen Edmonds, but it is the Imperials Full Brogues, a massive, **armoured heel, double-sole Budapester with storm welt, (technically, a “split-reverse-welt”), and the Florsheim Imperial Plain Front “Wholecut” Derby (Blucher) built on the same indestructible frame that are the standard-setters of the industry, and the subject of this article.
The price of these shoes is entirely theoretical; it is difficult to find a modern shoe of this quality for ANY price to which we can compare them. These are better made than any ready made shoe today and many bespoke (custom made) shoes as well; I include all the famous names, Green, Lobb, Church, Crockett, Alden and so forth. These, in the best cases, may approach the Imperials, but never do they exceed them in build or material quality. John Lobb ready-mades at $1400 in 2009 are flimsy by comparison? At Euro 450 or less, the Imperials are a great bargain, the best in the world of shoes.
I have clients who have collected a pair of the *original Imperials in every colour and leather, both the Full Brogues and Plain Toe Derbys, in Scotchgrain Calfskin and Shell Cordovan. My clients say that no shoe is more supportive or comfortable, a godsend for a big or heavy man or any gentleman on his feet all day. Florsheims also run very true to size and I use them as a standard by which to measure other brands. Florsheim provided shoes in every width, extra narrow to extra wide; ask me to check my 1000 shoe inventory for your exact size and width.
The light coloured Florsheim Imperials are lovely and take polish wonderfully. More than their darker cousins, they develop a patina of extraordinary beauty, something akin to an old fruitwood piece of furniture.
* One must be careful to avoid substandard examples, either much repaired items or the modern copies marketed under the Florsheim name by the marketing firm who bought the name after the bankruptcy. The appearance of these copies and their names are identical to the originals but the shoes are not, and the Internet and Ebay are full of the modern copies and originals in poor condition, to be expected 20 years after the end of production. Beware also super narrow widths, “A” and “B”, which are suitable for very few gentlemen.
**The last picture shows the channelled Goodyear welt, the rivited sole and the double row of hand-set nails and tri-angular cleat protecting the heel. The other pictures are of used examples of the Full Brogue Budapester (above), the Wholecut Derby (middle) and the Shell Cordovan Full Brogue Budapester (below).
Trust the chart shown here; it has been proven correct by thousands of long-distance sales.
The middle-width for Europe and America is “D” (“C” is narrower and “E” is wider)
The middle-width for England is “E” (“D” is narrower and “F” or “EE” is wider)
I always give the size in all three standards. Best is to know your European size but contact me if there is some confusion. I will ask you to go to your wardrobe and find the size of your two or three most comfortable shoes and if you tell me the makers I can interpret your ideal size and width.
Doing business long-distance as I do, I must be very careful about size…and I am! I measure the actual size of every pair of shoes against a fixed standard, a series of shoemaker’s lasts (Leisten). I do not relying on the shoemaker’s indication alone. Although I list English, American and Continental sizes in the descriptions I do not give outer dimensions; these are misleading. A slipper and a Brogue of the same size have two quite different outer dimensions. In general, outer dimensions have little relation to the inside volume of a shoe. Likewise, your foot, being a three-dimensional object, you cannot measure the size by tracing your foot on paper. A high instep (Rist) or low one will entirely defeat such measurements.
Overall, I recommend being generous with sizing and thereby kind to your feet. Yes, give your feet some breathing room. A shoe that fits perfectly in the morning is too small; your feet expand during the day, they are bigger in warm weather or after a long period walking or standing…and they will only get bigger with age, typically a half size over your lifespan. If you are between two sizes, go a half size up, not down. Your feet will thank you and your shoes will last much longer. You can always adjust the fit with a thicker or thinner sock, but not if the shoes are too small to begin with. You should only be buying shoes you are going to wear for a decade or longer, so think ahead; you want be able to wear your favourite shoes 20 years from now.
Gentlemen with a high instep should favour shoes with Derby (open) style lacing which is more adjustable over the top of the foot. The great classic Florsheim Imperials are a good choice among Derbies and no better ready-made shoe has ever been made. They are a very accurate fit, very comfortable and your grandchildren will be wearing them one day; they are indestructible.
Gentlemen interested in boots should buy a half size larger than their shoes; this is to accommodate heavier socks in Winter and in Summer (for better cooling)
My 100% Unconditional Guarantee
Finally, everything I sell is guaranteed to fit and to please….or full refund. You can send anything back that doesn’t suit you for any reason, no questions asked. This is your insurance against either of us making a mistake. As a practical matter, less than 5% are returned to me for size, a far better record than most boulevard shops.
Meine 100%ige Absolute Garantie
Sollte doch einmal der Fall eintreten, dass Ihnen der Schuh dennoch nicht passt, oder er Ihnen einfach nicht entspricht, dann sind Sie durch meine 100%-ige Garantie geschützt. Je nach Ihrer Wahl ersetzen wir Ihren Schuh mit der passenden Grösse, oder Sie erhalten den kompletten Kaufpreis zurück.
“Neu, ungetragen” versteht sich von selbst und bedeutet fabrikneu, obwohl der Orginal-Karton gegebenenfalls nicht dabei ist.
Ein Schuh, den ich als “neuwertig” bezeichne wurde eventuell verschiedene Male anprobiert, diente als Schaufenster-Modell, oder wurde zurückgegeben und umgetauscht, weil er nicht passte. Solch ein Schuh hat sein gesamtes Leben vor sich und ist nicht unterscheidbar von einem Schuh, der frisch aus dem Karton kommt und einem Schuh, den Sie für ein paar Stunden getragen haben – sie werden schnell vergessen, dass Sie ihn nicht als “neu” erstanden haben und freuen sich hingegen an der Hälfte seines Orginal-Preises.
Im Fall der meisten Angebote lesen sie den Begriff “gebrauchte Schuhe”. Oft präsentiere ich dabei mehrere Beispiel eines Modells und dabei werden Sie auch auf Variationen im Preis stossen. Ich versuche den Preis vom Zustand des Schuhes abzuleiten und bemühe mich ihn so akkurat wie nur irgend möglich zu beschreiben. Auch versehe ich das jeweilige Angebot mit Nahaufnahmen der Sohle und des Absatzes, um Ihnen bei Ihrer Entscheidung bestmöglich behilflich zu sein. Wenn ein Schwarz-Weiss-Bild die Details besser wiedergibt als ein Farbbild, werden Sie es ebenfalls vorfinden.
Als Grundregel biete ich keine stark beschädigten Schuhe an, ausser im Fall von absoluten Raritäten, die für den passionierten Sammler bestimmt sind – dies jedoch ist ausnehmend selten. Sogar meine ältesten- 100-jährigen- antiken Modelle sind meist in perfektem und noch tragbarem Zustand.
“Neu, New, Ungetragen” are all self explanatory and mean “factory new”, although the original carton may be absent.
A shoe that I call NEUWERTIG might be one that was tried on, a shop display model, or a shop returned item, worn once or twice and perhaps discovered to be the wrong size. Such a shoe has, practically speaking, its whole life ahead of it and is indistinguishable from a shoe out of the box that you have worn for a few hours…a shoe that you will forget that you didn’t buy new, except that you paid half the price.
In the case of the majority of used shoes, I often present more than one example of the exact shoe or model, and you may notice variations in price. I try to match the price to the condition of the shoe and I take pains to describe the condition accurately and always provide close-up pictures of the bottoms and details of the heels to help you judge the condition. If a black and white picture shows more detail, I will include that too.
As a general rule I do not bother with badly worn or damaged shoes, except in the case of impossibly rare items destined for the collectors showcase, but this is very seldom. Even my oldest antique models, 100 years old, are in perfectly wearable condition.
As a practical matter, condition should be such that, after you have worn the shoes two or three times, you should not be able to distinguish them from any other pair that you yourself bought….except, perhaps -and this is our goal- that they be more lovely!
As with so many things, once we are underway, the destination changes. In the time it takes to secure our goal, we have learned much about what we once desired, our taste has necessarily been educated and we have learned (and owe much to) our mistakes, and the ever evasive goal has evolved even as we ourselves have.
It is said, and not without truth, that every dealer is a collector. And so it is with me; even after having 3000 pairs of shoes pass through my hands, my own goal of achieving the ideal shoe collection has eluded me. Certainly I have collected many lovely examples of the classic shoe. And, yes, I have remained steadfastly and exclusively fixed on the dozen or so classic and traditional styles, but always some beauty appears that, with all my exposure to the medium, even I could not have been anticipated…and that beauty must, by any and all means, be acquired. And so it goes, something new insinuates its way into my collection, the collection that time and again I thought complete.
Of course, there is something to be said for the basics, a collection that is sufficient to accommodate a gentleman’s every practical sartorial need. Daytime and evening shoes, shoes that fit the season and the weather, formal and informal, town and country; these are perhaps the basic parameters, but since not everyone favours ever style, the number of shoes one needs is probably less than 20 to accommodate ever possible occasion; one might make due nicely with a dozen, if one leaves out the less often worn styles such as Spectators, Formal Slippers, Field and Riding Boots and so forth. I myself am a great fan of Brown Suede and therefore have collected the entire range, Full & Half Brogues, Monks, Loafers, Jodhpurs and so forth. Others are fans of Shell Cordovan and have a duplicate of every calfskin shoe in horsehide, so, on the other hand, the numbers can easily mount. The essentials -as long as you have secured the best example of them- are few, and the few will serve beautifully and long. Well made shoes, properly cared for, as a practical matter, do not wear out. If you acquire the classic styles and them only, and if you buy the best quality you can afford -always the best bargain in the long run- you can expect to wear them forever, yes forever.
Gentlemen who are used to paying thousands for custom shoes or these days more than a thousands for even ready-made shoes, will find these pages a good source for the best shoes in the world at very modest prices. My many repeat clients, my Stammkunden, have grown to depend on me for the best quality, the best condition and, often, the otherwise unavailable in shoes. One can spend a year looking for a bargain on Ebay and perhaps even find it. But more likely you will be disappointed for all the time you invest and for what you receive in the end. My faithful clients know that here, from these pages, they avoid all the easy-to-make stylistic mistakes buying on-line and with modest means can build an imposing collection of correct footwear suitable for the gentleman.
A suggested basic list for daytime; these can be worn interchangeably. Suit your own taste in brown (always brown or cordovan colour before 18:00 hours) calfskin, suede, or shell cordovan: The Monk Strap, The Full and Half Brogue, The Plain or Cap-Toe Oxford or Derby. Later add a Penny Loafer, a Spectator, a Saddle Oxford, an Alligator, a Sharkskin, a Norweger, a Jodhpur, a Field Boot and a duplicate of any of the above but with a Commando rubber sole for heavy weather or terrain.
A suggested basic list for evening, (always black after 18:00 hours): for formal wear, a Plain or Cap-Toe Oxford or Derby. For informal or semi-formal wear, a Monk Strap or a Full- or Half-Brogue.
These are the basics and they are achievable; the ideal shoe collection is a fantasy, devoutly to be wished, the stuff of quiet meditation, of pleasant day-dreams, but one that will always remain, like every ideal, just out of reach.
This is a subject ruled by more folklore than reason. On the fantasy end of the spectrum are the elaborate rituals of Mme. Olga Berluti’s embarrassingly parvenu Swan Club black tie dinners where its members polish shoes with “special” creams and drops of champagne, wonderful grist for the fashion pundits’ mill, but as questionable as Berluti’s shoe fashions themselves. Somewhat more practical are the “bulling” of boots in the British Army, something I do not wish upon either of us, the organic method using a banana peal (it works), setting the polish on fire to aid in absorption (counterproductive), and the time-honoured “spit-shine’, using a cloth, polish and water (or champagne when no source of water is available). About these you can read at leisure on the Internet. What I will offer below is a practical guide to polishing shoes, sans ritual, sans regalia and sans religion. Follow these instructions and with very little time invested your shoes will look lovely and last indefinitely.
Leather finishes differ, of course, and the level of gloss that you prefer will dictate the polish that you use and how you apply it. Creams will not give you the high-shine of wax polishes and only a painstaking cloth and water shine will give you the highest gloss military shine. But, in my view, leather should emit light, it should glow, not reflect. And for that warm and still perfectly shiny finish, I recommend the following simple techniques. With your purchase, I will include my favourite cream polish in the correct colour to start you off right.
As a rule, New Shoes should be polished before wearing outside -you can try them on and walk around the house but before they see dirt or wet, they should be protected by polish. New leather is very absorbent and, with the exception of the toes to which you can give a little more attention if you wish, applying with a cloth as is often recommended will make it difficult to apply cream evenly. Instead, use one of the small round brushes intended for the purpose, apply a small amount of cream to the brush and, moving very quickly, spread the cream evenly, continuing to work until it is absorbed. If you stop the swirls of polish will be absorbed unevenly, so keep moving and spreading.
I have experimented extensively with various polishes and have settled almost exclusively on creams (as opposed to wax polishes). But wax polishes are suitable for shoes that are really going to get wet or very dirty. Also, I have found that the lightest reasonable colour of polish is the best to use. With the exception of black shoes on which I use black polish and cordovan on cordovan, I have been using a light tan polish on almost every brown shoe. The oils make the shoe darker anyway and if you want to preserve the light colour of a shoe use tan. Of course, if a shoe is scuffed or the colour has gone out for some reason then match the colour with the appropriate shoe cream.
Again, from the beginning; after cleaning your shoes thoroughly with a stiff horsehair brush, let them dry thoroughly if they are damp, remove the laces and insert their shoetrees. I strongly prefer to polish with trees in; it is easier to spread the polish evenly, brushing or buffing is more thorough and if you let the shoes rest with trees in for a day or two after polishing the shape of the shoes is restored and creases are minimized.
Spread the cream with a round bristle brush meant for the purpose, (you should own 2 or 3 brushes for different colours) moving rapidly and applying modest amounts of polish to all surfaces, in all the nooks and crannies, and to the welt and the tongue. Pass the brush over and over until the cream is evenly distributed and is beginning to dry. Set the shoe aside for 15 or 20 minutes and then polish with a large soft horsehair brush. If you are concerned that some excess polish may be left on the surface, or if you would like a slightly higher shine, use a shammy (Chamois) cloth or a strip of Turkish toweling to give it a final going over. Oh, and polish the soles occasionally too; just clean your applicator brush off on the soles. They are leather too and need a little feeding from time to time. Now, if you have devoted more than 5 minutes (not counting waiting time or cleaning) you have exceeded my instructions.
You might experiment with polishes, using a lighter or darker polish on the cap, for instance, to enhance the patina over time. Do so without concern; you are hardily likely to change the colour of your shoes in one application of a foreign colour.
An additional word about Shell Cordovan Shoes; this leather suffer as much from the application of too much polish as from not enough. When cordovan shoes are new and still “sweating” oils from the tanning, they require only a vigorous brushing and no polish. Later, when you do use cream, the tiniest amounts will suffice. Again, brushing is the key to preventing the build-up of excess polish on this tight-grained leather. Skip Horween, the present owner of the great Chicago tannery and premiere purveyor of cordovan in the world, in a phone call recently, recommended that I take the back edge of a pocket knife to the built up deposits before polishing….and it works! But use the minimum amount of polish on cordovan and you will not have to resort to such extreme measures.
There are certainly a few choices of shoe correct for Smoking; I leave my favourite for last. First let me say I personally avoid Patent Leather; I find it too showy and even the best patent soon creases unacceptably and cracks with age. Not to mention that the plastic impregnated leather does not breath well, and so the tendency is for one’s feet to perspire……
Some gentlemen wear a Velvet Slipper either with a decorative motif or without. Although I have always had a pair or two of these, I find them charming but not entirely practical. Velvet slippers cost as much as any shoe but are very much more fragile; the cloth is easily damaged and the shoe can look shabby even before it has any wear to the bottom. Useful for dusting under the sofa.
Another choice is the calfskin Plain Toe Slipper or Formal Pump with Bow. This is more practical to be sure. Still, these are usually lighter shoes, mostly Blake Stitched or glued for a sleeker profile, that, apart from the best made examples, lose their shape after several wearings, fail to support the foot and end a gentleman’s long evening in discomfort.
My first choice for all formal occasions is either a welted Plain Cap-Toe Oxford (Pic.#4) or Derby, or a Plain Front Oxford (Pic.#5) or Derby. These are absolutely correct with black tie (smoking) or white tie (tails) and they are real shoe, shoes that will give support throughout a long (for instance) wedding week-end. They have the further advantage of being appropriate for semi-formal, evening and business wear…versatile shoes. The trick is to get a truly good pair that both looks the part and will last decades.
Es gibt da ein paar Moeglichkeiten fuer Schuhe die zu einem Smoking passen: meinen Favoriten fuehre ich zum Schluss an! Lassen Sie mich zuerst sagen, dass ich Patent-Leder (Lack) vermeide; es ist zu “showy”, meiner Einschaetzung nach. Auch der beste Lackschuh zeigt meist sehr schnell unakzeptable Falten und neigt dazu mit der Zeit aufzureissen. Nicht zu erwaehnen; das Plastik-Impraegnierte Leder atmet nicht, so dass die Fuesse unangenehm schwitzen.
Manche Gentleman tragen eine Art Samt-Slipper, mit oder ohne Verzierung. Das finde ich wohl recht charmant, aber unpraktisch. Diese Schuhe kosten genauso viel wie jeder andere Schuh sind jedoch wesentlich fragiler; der Stoff ist schnell beschaedigt, der Schuh sieht schaebig aus, noch bevor die Sohlen Gebrauchsspuren zeigen.
Eine andere Moeglichkeit ist der “Plain Toe” oder Formal Slipper mit Schleife in Kalbsleder; das ist die wesentlich praktischere Variante. Doch das sind alles leichtere Schuhe, die gern Ihre Form nach ein paarmal Tragen verlieren und einen langen Abend fuer den Fuss eines Gentleman nicht zum Vergnuegen machen koennen.
Meine Wahl fuer alle formalen Gelgenheiten ist ein Plain Cap-Toe Oxford (Bild #4)oder Derby oder Plain Front Oxford (Bild #5) oder Derby. Das ist absolut ueblich und korrekt, sowohl mit Smoking als auch Frack und ist ein “wirklicher Schuh”, der einen langen Abend (oder ein Hochzeits-Wochenede) nicht nur ueberlebt, sondern zum Genuss macht. Er hat den grossen Vorteil, dass er auch semi-formal getragen werden kann; zum Abendanzug und zum Geschaeftsanzug. Also, sehr, sehr variable einsetzbar.
Rubber soled shoes (but the properly Goodyear Welted variety) have made rather a comeback in recent years and even the leather-sole purist must admit to the practically of either a heavy Commando Sole (the great Itshide sole, for instance, good for all terrain) or the medium profile Danite Sole. Even a thin “Topy” overlay to your leather soled shoes will provide the obvious added protection to wet but also welcomed isolation from cold….. Every gentleman should have a pair or two of rubber soled shoes to fall back on for country outings, off-road duty or plain bad weather use. Quite a number of high quality shoemakers offer classic models, Brogues, Norwegians, Chukka Boots, Jodhpurs and Suede Shoes with excellent rubber soles that do not compromise the elegance or beauty of the shoe. The soles are functional, comfortable, highly durable and perfectly repairable (for instance, the Itshide heel can be easily replaced). [To find, search under, Gummisohle, Danite or Itshide]
Es ist schwer vorstellbar, dass viele Gentlemen-Golfer einerseits keine Kosten und Mühen scheuen die beste und neueste Ausrüstung zu erwerben – von luxuriösesten Golf-Bags bis zur passenden Kleidung – und andererseits, anstatt sich feine wirkliche Golfschuhe zu gönnen, einfache Sneakers mit Cleats tragen. Warum nur kleiden sich erwachsene Männer wie Jungen? Hat es damit zu tun, dass wir….. jung erscheinen wollen, so als spielten wir Basketball und nicht Golf? Oder haben die Hersteller von Golfschuhen, wie leider die meisten Hersteller, Ihren Geschmack für Schönheit und Qualität (und Ihre Fähigkeit sie zu produzieren) verloren? Zwingt man uns deren maschinenfabrizierte Fragwürdigkeiten auf? Nun – nicht länger! Hier, und unter meinen anderen Auflistungen, finden Sie die ausgewähltesten, klassischen Golfschuhe aus der grossen Tradition des Gentlemen-Sports.
Warum nicht dieses Jahr zu den Links und Fairways in bester stilvoller Austattung zurückkehren? Auf Grund von zahlreichen Anfragen meiner Stammkunden werde ich hier, von heute an, eine ganz Zahl von Klassikern ausstellen, die ich in mehr als 31 Jahren gesammelt habe. Einige sind noch neu und ungetragen, andere hatten schon die Greens von Augusta Pebble Beach, Sandringham und St. Andrews unter den Sohlen – in jedem Fall aber sind es Schätze aus den“ Goldenen Tagen“, als der Gentleman Stahl-Spikes und feinste Lederschuhe trug und nicht Sneakers, die sich als „Golfschuhe“ maskieren. Natürlich, sollten Sie etwas sehen das nicht Ihre Grösse ist, bitte fragen Sie auf alle Fälle nach, denn ich habe ein beträchtliches Inventar das noch auf seinen Auftritt wartet. Sie werden Golfschuhe finden, die die Bezeichnung „Schuhe“ verdienen: handgearbeitet, handgenäht, rahmengenäht, hergestellt aus feinstem Kalbsleder, Alligatoren-Leder und anderen exotischen Lederarten. Ein paar der Schuhe aus meiner Kollektion sind es wert, obwohl sie absolut Ihren praktischen Dienst tun, in der Kollektion eines Sammlers zu stehen. Es sind Memorabilia und nahezu Museumsstücke; jedes einzelne Paar eine Offenbarung, jeder Zentimeter so fein und genau gearbeitet wie der beste Anzugschuh. Tatsächlich ist ein guter Golfschuh nichts weiter als ein Spectator oder Saddle Oxford der mit cleats ausgestattet ist. Viele Gentlemen entfernen die Cleats und ersetzen sie mit weichen Spikes, oder entfernen sie gänzlich und gehen von nun an in einem äusserst schönen Strassenschuh. Ich habe all diese Schuhe in nicht weniger als 30 Jahren gesammelt. Einige Kostbarkeiten lassen sich sogar bis in die 30er und 40er zurückdatieren. Die Chance dieser Tage derartige Raritäten wieder auf dem Markt zu finden sind sehr selten geworden. Mein Golfschuh-Angebote sind in einer eigenen Kategorie aufgelistet – oder suchen Sie bitte einfach unter „Golf“ in der Such-Box.
Der Herzog von Windsor, der einstige König Edward VIII, tragischer Bon Vivant und umherschweifender Mode-Narr, soll Suede-Schuhe und den Kiltie auf beiden Seiten des Atlantik salonfähig gemacht haben. Der Kiltie ist die überlappende, gefranste Zunge, die die Schnürung der Golfschuhe schützt. Auch als Dekor bei anderer Schuharten, vor allem bei Loafers, sehr gerne verwendet.
Der Spectator oder Co-respondent Shoe, ein Two-Tone oder Zwei-Leder-Schuh – im Orginal mit Wildleder-Einsatz (ursprünglich Hirschleder) – stammt wie ebenfalls der Saddle Oxford aus dem Golf-Sport und unterscheidet sich durch einen Leder-Sattel, der über dem Spann liegt und der Verstärkung dient. Der Saddle Oxford begann seinen Siegeszug Anfang des vergangenen Jahrhunderts als ein ein geschnürter Hirschleder-Schuh mit einem farblich kontrastierenden Sattel. Er fand seinen Eingang in den Golfsport in den 20ern und – obwohl er dort erfolgreich reüssierte – erfreute er sich bald grosser Beliebtheit unter den Bobby Socksers und College-Studenten.
Der “Saddle Oxford” sorgt für den schlichten und elegant-glatten Look eines “Plain-Toe” plus der Oxford-Schnürung – für all diejenigen unter Ihnen, die den “Saddle Oxford” einem Derby oder Full Brogue vorziehen…und schenkt mit seinem brogued saddle dem Auge des Betrachters nochdazu eine zusätzliche, aparte Finesse. Obwohl die Nachfrage geringer geworden ist, haben dankenswerterweise einige gute Schuhmacher den “Saddle Oxford” noch im Angebot. Und natürlich hat man das grosse Los gezogen, wenn solch ein Orginal aus dem vergangenen Jahrhundert überhaupt noch aufzufinden ist.
Classic Golf Shoes
It is difficult to believe that many Gentlemen-golfers who have gone to great pains to secure the most advanced equipment, who have spared no expense to obtain the most luxurious golf bags and the finest clothes, are wearing what are basically sneakers-with-cleats in place of fine Golf shoes. Why are grown men dressing like boys? Is it the pressure to appear young, to look like one is playing basketball when one is playing golf. Or is it that the makers of golf shoes, like all other manufacturers, have lost the taste for quality and beauty and the ability to produce it. Are we forced to live and play in their machine made rubbish? Well, no longer. Here, among my listings, you will find the choicest of classic and antique golf shoes in the great tradition of this gentlemanly sport. Why not return to the links and fairways in real style this year. In response to numerous requests from old clients, beginning now, as time permits, I will be listing a number of classics from my 31 years of collecting fine old golf shoes. Some are new and never worn; others have trodden the greens of Pebble Beach, Sandringham or St. Andrews, but in every case these are treasures from the golden days when men wore steel spikes and fine leather shoes, not today’s sneakers masquerading as golf shoes. Of course, if you do not see something in your size, by all means do enquire of me; I have a considerable inventory waiting in the wings. You will find golf shoes that are actually shoes, hand made, hand sewn, Goodyear Welted, and made of the finest leathers and exotic skins. A few from the collection I am presenting, although perfectly serviceable, are worthy of the collector of golf memorabilia and indeed the museum display case, and each and every one is a minor revelation in shoemaking, every bit as well made and as handsome as your best dress shoe. Indeed, a good golf shoe is little else than a dress shoe or Spectator or Saddle Oxford fitted with cleats. Many gentleman exchange the steel cleats for soft spikes or remove them entirely and walk off with a tremendously handsome street shoe. I have collected these shoes over a period of thirty years although one or two date from the 1930’s and 40’. The likelihood of such extreme rarities appearing on the market again is slim. My Golf shoes are listed under their own category or simply search for “golf” in the search box.
The Duke of Windsor, the erstwhile King Edward VIII, the tragic bon vivant and peripatetic fashion plate, is said to have introduced suede shoes as well as the Kiltie into wide acceptance on both sides of the Atlantic. The Kiltie is the fringed tongue that lies over and protect the laces of Golf shoes and which is affected as decoration today in other styles of shoes as well, principally loafers.
The Spectator or Co-respondent shoe, a two-tone or two leather shoe, originally with, buckskin (deer skin) suede insets is also derived from golf as is the Saddle Oxford, distinguished by the saddle of leather over the instep, intended as a reinforcement for sport. The Saddle Oxford began in the early part of the century as a buckskin lace–up with a contrasting saddle. It made it way into golf in the 1920, and although never truly successful as a sport shoe, soon became widely accepted by the bobby socksers and the collegians of the mid-century. The Saddle Oxford provides the sleeker look of the plain toe and the Oxford lacing for those who prefer it to the Derby or the Full Brogue…but adds a little fillip of eye interest with the brogued saddle. Although less common today, a few good shoemakers still offer this Saddle Oxford but, of course, as always, the prize is to find an original one from the last century.
*Rahmengenähte Schuhe sind hoeherwertiger, da sie haltbarer und leichter wieder besohlbar sind. Ein Top rahmengenaehter Schuh kann für eine Neubesohlung oder sogar für eine General-Überholung in die Werkstatt zurückgesendet werden. Der Absatz kann entfernt werden, die Naht an der Sohle geöffnet und eine neue Sohle und Absatz angefuegt werden. Dann kann der Schuh….. über den Orginalleisten gespannt werden und sozusagen vollendet werden. Dieser Prozess kann viele Male wiederholt werden. Daher kann ein wirklich gut gearbeitetes Paar 20 Jahre und sogar länger getragen werden. Ich besitze Schuhe die älter als 50 Jahre sind (die Schuhe meines Vaters) und die sich noch immer perfekt tragen lassen.
*Goodyear Welted shoes are superior to other constructions because they are both very durable and more easily resoled. A top-quality welted shoe can be sent back to the maker for resoling, or even re-crafting. The heel can be removed, the sole stitching undone, and a new sole and heel can then be attached. In cases of more extreme wear the insole and welt can be removed as well. The shoe can then be stretched back over the original last and remade. These processes can be repeated many times. As a result, a truly great pair of shoes can be worn for 20 years or longer. I have shoes that are more than 50 years old (my fathers) and still perfectly wearable.
With Goodyear welting the upper is drawn over the wooden last (Leist) and a strip of leather (the welt) is stitched to the upper and inner sole. The outer sole is then sewn at its edge through the welt. The name Goodyear is taken from Charles Goodyear, the developer and patent-holder in 1871 and 1875 of the ancestor of the modern welting machine. This machine revolutionized and automated shoemaking and represented an improvement over the earlier Blake Stitching machine, patented in 1858 by Lyman Blake. In the Blake-stitched shoe –a process is still in use today- a row of stitching connects the inner sole directly to the outer sole and can act as a path for moisture to enter and is also a potential irritant to the wearer’s foot. Goodyear welted shoes avoid both these drawbacks and have the addition advantage of providing a mouldable cork foot-bed between the welts. This and the relative ease of repair make the Goodyear welted shoe a gentleman’s best choice.
Of course, lasting and welting can be done by hand in the time-honoured tradition, and this is the case with many bespoke shoes today. While this hand-sewing is not necessarily a functional improvement over the machine welted shoe, hand welting does allow for the narrower-waisted, more sculpted sole, characteristic of antique, vintage and the best of modern custom-made shoes. It is for you to decide if the beauty of the dramatically shaped sole justifies the extra time and cost that it necessarily involves.
Channeling and Skiving
In better Goodyear welted shoes, a shallow niche or groove is cut around the outer edge of the outsole to receive the stitching and to set it below the surface the leather to protect it from wear. In the very best construction the channel is skived into the sole, that is to say, a slit is opened in the leather without the removal of material and the after the sewing of sole to welt is accomplished, by hand or machine, the slit is closed or “healed” to conceal the twine beneath. This preserves the strength of sole, is both practical and elegant but also requires considerable skill even today when skiving by machine.
With very few exceptions, whether I have mentioned it or not in the texts, all the shoes and boots that you will find in my pages, including rubber soles and golf shoes, are either Goodyear welted, or welted by hand. The German term “rahmengenäht” –“edge-sewn” in English- encompasses both techniques.