Things To Know About Shoes, Part 3: 21-30
21. Grained leather takes the rain best of all i.e. does not show the wear and tear as bad as calf. Suede is next (darker suede that is). Calfskin is actually the most sensitive out of the (main) leathers. So when it rains, wear suede or grained leather. Save your calfskin for dry days (or mild rain).
22. No brown in town = Old World mentality. This is 2014: The future. Wear brown every day, all day if you want. The Italians make it look easy and they nearly always look good. The idea of elegance is not about the colors/clothes you wear but about how you carry yourself and how you treat others.
23. Toe Spring: learn about it. In a simplistic explanation, it’s the amount of space between the ground and the bottom of your sole at the very tip of the toe. Too much of it looks awful and it’s sad to say that most cheap shoes have too much of it as they make shoes from contorted lasts. The worst thing about it is that if it starts bad, it will only get worse. Nothing is more unattractive (and ruins an entire outfit) then the tips of one’s shoes curling up like elf slippers (you know what I am talking about). Moral of the story: buy shoes with minimal toe spring.
24. A balmoral/spat boot can look elegant under a suit. It is probably the only boot that truly can (there are exceptions but it would take too long to list them all). People that say otherwise (i.e. no boots under suits) are part of the “no brown in town” crowd. Victorians/Edwardians did it and to me, they were amongst the most elegant men throughout history.
25. Baggy trousers don’t flatter your shoes. Neither does having too much cloth bunched up at your shoe. If you want to show off your shoes, then you need to taper your trouser to a length that just graces your shoes. That does not mean that they need to be an inch above your ankles or skin tight however. There is a fine line between doing it right and being excessive. A mistake that I have made myself is thinking that I could be the same inseam measurement in every trouser. This is wrong as different trousers will have different rises and thus alter your inseam length. Don’t make the same mistake or you will pay a lot in alternation fees
26. If you are a hard walker (i.e you spring off of the ground with quite some force) and you walk a lot on concrete/pavement you will wear your toes down more significantly in the first few wears then the rest of the life of the shoe. Due to the way that a shoe is made (i.e. with an edged –as opposed to round– line at the sole) and the way we walk (spring off of the ground) it is inevitable. Once we have shaved off (naturally from walking) that edge and the tips of your toes become a bit more rounded, the tip will then begin to wear off at an exponentially decreasing rate. Best to simply affix indented toe taps to prevent wearing your toes down before you even need a resole.
27. Exposure to sun will naturally lighten your shoes (over time). Exposure to rain will naturally darken them (over time). Therefore if you have a pair that you want to lighten, polish it with only neutral wax polish and wear it on sunny days. Alternatively if you want to deepen a shoe’s color, wear it in the rain and polish it with one or two shades darker but using cream polish. Never polish tan shoes with black polish. It will only make them streaky and will be very hard to fix. The results are obviously created over time. If you are in a rush, consult a patina artist.
28. You cannot waterproof a dress shoe. This is marketing rubbish. You can make them resistant to rain but a heavy rain day will cut right through anything and get your feet and shoes wet if exposed for too long. That is the reality of it. Good leather that is properly shined will be all the protection you need. Then it will be up to you to not step in any puddles.
29. A wholecut oxford is the hardest shoe to make, both in bespoke and in manufacturing (which is sometimes why they are more expensive). The reason is that due to the fact that the shoe is seamless (in the front for a regular wholecut, with a back seam) and therefore does not have as much give when being pulled by the last machine. It thus makes it hard to last it perfectly and have it lay flat on the vamp. Often enough, there is a bit of space/loose air left between the last and the leather at the vamp, causing the shoe to lose a bit of its shape….
30. A high shine on the cap will make any shoe look better