They arrived a few days ago, and I love them. Perhaps too much. Like our friend Mafoo, I seek simplicity. And if I could only have one shoe, OK one pair (RJ), these would be the ones.
Why? First, because they're versatile: They go well with anything from jeans to suits, perhaps even a tux (certainly better than burgundy shell longwings ). Second, because they're practical: As slip ons, they're easy on/off. Perfect for when you're late at the beginning of the day or tired at its end, which I usually am. With their Dainite soles, they're stable on wet surfaces, uneven pavement, bicycle/motorcycle commutes, or mad dashes to the train (Huntsman?). The little round lugs give me just enough grip for when my nephew starts a spontaneous game of football on the grass or when I decide to walk up an unpaved hill. I'm sure they'll be my first choice for travel: gliding through security, easy off at takeoff, easy on when landing, coping w/ unpredictable weather, trekking across different types of ground w/ luggage, etc. Third, because they're beautiful: I have and like full brogues, half-brogues, various shades of brown and burgundy, suede and shell. But there's something elegant about a plain pair of black calfskin slip ons.
So much for the design. Why this manufacturer? A few years ago, on eBay, I bought a pair of black suede slip ons made by Alfred Sargent. They were NOS from a defunct NYC shoe store. Solidly constructed and fit like a dream. So comfortable. They've been my favorite shoes for the past few years, even compared to Alden oxfords, Rider Boots, EGs for RL, C&Js, pre-Prada Churches, vintage Florsheims, Gucci loafers, and similar slip ons by Nettleton, Sanders, and Bally. So when I heard that Alfred Sargent had a new MTO program, I decided to order my dream shoe: Below, w/ similar pairs: From l to r: vintage Nettletons, the Alfred Sargents, Sanders, and the older, suede Sargents. I won't be needing the Sanders (corrected grain, blobby, pigskin lining, plastic heel), so I'll give them to my brother. The Nettletons I'll keep out of respect for their history and probably to use w/ formal wear. They have nice channeled leather soles. And I've grown to love the cracking. Here w/ white 501s: Now dressed up (pants by Cornell's in Manila, socks by Uniqlo): The shoes in natural light after a day's wear: A shot from below, showing the mini lugs of the always controversial Dainite sole: They're on AS's 99 last, size 9 EX (UK). Just for comparison, here they are next to Nettletons (10.5 C US), Aldens on the Hampton last (10 B/D US) and Sanders (9 FX UK). Now, lest one think I only like black, I've ordered a pair of brown balmoral boots from AS. Hopefully they'll arrive in time for Christmas!