I wore the boots DW made me today in solidarity with is efforts in this thread. They are certainly my favorite pair of shoes, and I'd say the best I own in many ways. By looking at them, one can tell that their maker is committed to excellence. Their level of craftsmanship makes this very apparent to me, and it has stunned the few shoemakers I've shown them to.
Originally Posted by RIDER
... DW and I share at least one common client, and he goes to DW for one type of experience and product, and me for another - ...
I'm guessing you mean me, Ron. There is no doubt that I love the shoes I have from you too--a shell chukka with the Sestriere rubber sole and calf loafers with leather sole. In fact, your chukkas and DW's are probably my most worn shoes. Both are made of shell and are great values at their different price levels. The ones by DW are my favorite pair, though, the one's I'd grab in a fire. They fit better and are better made than any shoes I own or have owned, including EG, Vass, AS handgrade, etc. Occasionally, I just leave them on my desk while I'm working so I can admire their lines and workmanship. But it's hard to compare, since DW's were made for my feet by his own hands, heart, and head as well as blood, sweat, and tears.
On the subject of leather vs rubber, I was a big fan of rubber soles. Before SF, I had a couple pairs of leather and several of rubber. I'd been raised to think there's no such thing as a rubber-soled dress shoe. But years of bicycle and motorcycle commutes changed that. In my experience, leather had the disadvantages of slipping in the wet and getting torn up by my metal bike pedals. But wearing DW's boots for the past few years has renewed my appreciation of leather soles. The Bakers soles DW used on them are much, much more hearty and stable than the typical leather sole. They're more durable than Dainite and more slip-resistant in many conditions as well (particularly wet granite or marble). The glove-like fit helps with the stability too, I'm sure.
So while this hasn't totally diluted the salt in my ocean, to use DW's metaphor, it certainly has added more than a few teaspoons of fresh water to it. Iow, I enjoy the few pairs of rubber-soled shoes I still own, but I'm not sure I'd buy another pair. And while I too thought DW was crazy, the experience of wearing his boots has given me much more respect for his position.