*COLE-HAAN “Fiddle Sole” “Trafton” Full Brogue Oxford: 44D
Size: 44-44.5 [US.10.5-11] [UK 9.5-10}, 46-46.5 [US12-12.5] [UK 11-11.5]
Styles: Brogues, Collectors Shoes/Object d'Art, Oxfords
“Fiddle Sole” Full Wing-Tip Oxford Brogue
The unremitting downward trajectory of the Cole-Haan brand in recent history has only twice been arrested and then only momentarily by the inspired inclusion among their usual commonplace inventory of two superior imports. First, for a short period in the 1990s, Edward Green supplied a limited number of oxfords to the New York and San Francisco stores, and more recently Cole-Haan presented a line of Italian shoes and boots of extraordinary quality and beauty from an unnamed manufacturer. These immediately garnered a cult following among American collectors and were quickly sold out everywhere, in spite of their $500-800 prices, more than double Cole-Haan’s usual prices at the time. The internet still has a dozen websites showing the shoe…all of them long sold out.
The shoe in question is the Trafton (in polished calf) or Werner (in Scotch Grain); a prime example of the model is listed here. It is distinguished by a high, 6-reinforced eyelet vamp, somewhat larger than usual punching and pinking (zig-zag), a wide welt, a tall, almost Hungarian, toe cap, and its single most extraordinary characteristic, a visibly chiseled, small waisted “fiddle” sole. Each pair was signed by the responsible shoemaker. As if this were not enough, Cole-Haan’s own selling point was the incorporation of the, so-called, Nike Air heel, an innovation that is meant to provide a particularly soft foot-fall. Some bloggers seem to corroborate this; the shoe is said to be surprisingly comfortable in spite of it heavy construction and formal structure. Suffice it to say it appears to be (and is reported to be) extremely durable, worth the break-in period that a new pair of these almost certainly requires.
This present pair is executed in a high-polish calf that approaches patent leather in its finish but is of a much finer quality than most polished leathers. The shoe makes an immediate impression for its dramatic lines, angular sole, high vamp and rich concentration of detail. Stylistically it harkens to the first half of the 20th century but its spectacular sole has no predecessor, that it can proudly call it own.
Size Details:marked and true to US 10.5D, European 44D....UK 9.5E, for the medium width foot.
Bottoms very lightly worn...tops showing some creasing.