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what makes a good shoe and why they cost so much - Page 10

post #136 of 232
If I may interject something which is not immediately part of the ongoing debate, but seems quite pertinent... I noticed this tidbit on the gentleman's website:
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Currently, we have a waiting list of three-plus (3+) years.
Some of the individuals involved in this conversation may not perceive the value of bespoke (whether that value be real or imagined; I argue in neither direction), but apparently a rather lengthy list of folks out there do. Mr Frommer, While many of the boots featured on your page are absolutely ghastly to my own aesthetic when viewed as items of clothing, I do find them quite interesting as objets d'arte. And even though I would never actually wear such an item (my dislike being purely a matter of personal taste, and therefore inconsequential), I must say that that I very much appreciate the level of, and attention to detail, and the apparently superior level of craftsmanship that your works feature; very impressive, sir. I hope we will be seeing more of your non-western pieces in the future, as I do like those very much indeed. I will be driving through your area shortly after the first of the year -- most likely on the 4th -- and if at all possible, I would like to visit your shop. Although your wares are most likely outside my present budget, I would still like to fantasize (), and perhaps snap a few pictures of your shop and it's products for the folks here to enjoy.
post #137 of 232
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Originally Posted by Sir James View Post
I find your comments to be snobbery. My comments has nothing to do with consumer reports. Nor am I some E-bay shopper as you so casually describe. If you don't agree that fine but I reserve the right to engage in conversation and speak my peace in a respectful manner. You will not dictate to me what I can say. My comments were not out of disrespect!
May I ask, what experiences have you had with bespoke shoes?
post #138 of 232
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Originally Posted by apropos View Post
May I ask, what experiences have you had with bespoke shoes?

None.
post #139 of 232
I had a whnay. moment back there.

My comment was not aimed specifically at you, Sir James.

Also, Consumer Reports had great recs for American-made chocolates (Burdick's).
post #140 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Surfrider View Post
Mr Frommer, While many of the boots featured on your page are absolutely ghastly to my own aesthetic when viewed as items of clothing, I do find them quite interesting as objets d'arte. And even though I would never actually wear such an item (my dislike being purely a matter of personal taste, and therefore inconsequential), I must say that that I very much appreciate the level of, and attention to detail, and the apparently superior level of craftsmanship that your works feature; very impressive, sir. I hope we will be seeing more of your non-western pieces in the future, as I do like those very much indeed.
Well, thank you. You are certainly welcome to stop in although do not expect the kind of layout that a Lobbs might front. I am semi retired and although my waiting list was once four years, it is way, way less than that now. Nowadays I work out of a workshop I built for that express purpose at the back of my property. As far as the aesthetic considerations...I have been down most of the road. As you can see I've done gaudy and ostentatious and even "Artistic." As I have gotten older I have become more interested in form and refinement of line and the subtle, seldom seen (or appreciated) techniques that distinguished the really great makers of the past. The "fair curve" syndrome, I call it. Here's my latest pair of boots...not your cuppa, I'm sure. Probably not of much interest to most folks here. But a good example of what I was speaking about--the elegance (if you will allow) of simplicity. What few recognize is that simplicity is often far more difficult to achieve (with grace) than more ornate work. Having said that, I will add that I find it far more challenging to work to the Traditional standards of shoemaking than to work to the post-Industrial Revolution standards of western bootmaking. The difference of machine stitching an outsole, for instance...even sporting a very nicely handled vertical channel (if I do say so myself)...pales in comparison to hand stitching an outsole at 10+spi into a hand cut horizontal channel. Lots of stuff like that. And more, that no one sees. I know this gets a bit...almost metaphysical, at times, but as I have gotten older I have come to the view that we (bespoke makers) really don't make shoes or boots for the customer--they're the vehicle to be sure--we make them for ourselves and for all the past masters who have informed our Trade and our sensibilities. It's a pretty archaic philosophy and one I think many will have trouble getting their heads around but it is true nonetheless.
post #141 of 232
^I like those a lot, DW. I may be the one person on SF (at least who posts regularly) to have seen your boots and shoes in person. And I have to say that the fineness of your work and person (and your wife's) was what made me decide to sell those gorgeous Vass boots and request a pair from you.
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Originally Posted by RJman View Post
... Also, Consumer Reports had great recs for American-made chocolates (Burdick's).
I had a girlfriend who went gaa gaa over their hot chocolate.
post #142 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post
^I like those a lot, DW. I may be the one person on SF (at least who posts regularly) to have seen your boots and shoes in person. And I have to say that the fineness of your work and person (and your wife's) was what made me decide to sell those gorgeous Vass boots and request a pair from you.
Thank you for the kind words and generous thoughts. I appreciate your patronage. The boots above are full wellingtons--two piece--you don't see them much in one inch heels it's considerably more difficult. I stitched the forepart and lateral waist and pegged the medial waist--picked that up many years ago from a pair of Stacy-Adams, as I recall.
post #143 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post
I had a girlfriend who went gaa gaa over their hot chocolate.

I thought you had a vow of celibacy or sthg... ?
post #144 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJman View Post
At this point, the only people who do buy bespoke shoes are (1) a dwindling population who do so because it wouldn't occur to them to do otherwise or (2) enthusiasts who want something that looks or feels special.
And people for whom there is little choice. One of the most common feet we see as bespoke makers is the narrow heel/wide forepart foot. Or the long toes/short waist foot.
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DWFII may be overstating his case
No offense (and I certainly don't take it personally) but although this seems to be a popular perception here, I don't agree. I am not engaging in hyperbole or overstatement. My remarks spring from many years of experience and thought. A study of why tanneries are disappearing at a prodigious rate. Why those companies that made hand tools (even as a sideline)--the grinderies--are going tips up. Why a Trade that once upon a time employed more skilled craftsmen...indeed more workers...than any other industry in the US (pers. com. D. A. Saguto over 20 years) ...is on the brink of extinction. I believe what I say. I say what I mean. Is that so hard to accept? And if you think about it, everything I have said here is consistent with what I do and the approach I take to what I do. A case could even be made that I couldn't do what I do without believing as I do. Of course, your (meaning the general public) mileage may vary.
post #145 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by RJman View Post
I had a whnay. moment back there.

I would say it was more whnay.esque because of the (a) lack of alcohol and (b) evidence of correct capitalization, punctuation, and Ivy League diction.

It also lacked the small-timer viciousness of the Atlantian...not all of it, just the vicious part.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RJman View Post
Also, Consumer Reports had great recs for American-made chocolates (Burdick's).

They have a little shop in Harvard Square. Their hot chocolate is a great comfort to unattractive women throughout the Boston area.


- B
post #146 of 232
Quote:
Originally Posted by emptym View Post
^I like those a lot, DW. I may be the one person on SF (at least who posts regularly) to have seen your boots and shoes in person. And I have to say that the fineness of your work and person (and your wife's) was what made me decide to sell those gorgeous Vass boots and request a pair from you.

Good for you for commissioning a pair, emptym. I would very much like to see these when they are completed. Did you order shoes or another pair of boots?

DW, do you know anything about the state of Japanese shoe making and whether any makers over their have kept the old techniques alive? This comes to mind given the great deal of respect the Japanese have for traditional ways of workmanship as well as their desire to adopt Western fashions.

Of course, I understand shoes and denim are two different things.
post #147 of 232
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by youngScholar View Post
DW, do you know anything about the state of Japanese shoe making and whether any makers over their have kept the old techniques alive? This comes to mind given the great deal of respect the Japanese have for traditional ways of workmanship as well as their desire to adopt Western fashions. .
I don't know. I have seen photos of what I assumed were Japanese RTW. I thought the workmanship (what was visible) was very good...maybe even superb. Little different take on styling though. Not my cuppa, overall.
post #148 of 232
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Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
I would say it was more whnay.esque because of the (a) lack of alcohol and (b) evidence of correct capitalization, punctuation, and Ivy League diction.

It also lacked the small-timer viciousness of the Atlantian...not all of it, just the vicious part.
whnay. is bigger time than I will ever be, at least metaphorically.

Quote:
They have a little shop in Harvard Square. Their hot chocolate is a great comfort to unattractive women throughout the Boston area.
Never had it. Cadbury's Drinking Choc is good enough for me when I don't want to melt a chocolate piece in a pot and whip it into some milk a l'ancienne -- which I haven't done since returning to the states. Come to think of it, I haven't had a cigar since then either. I still feel like holding on to my shagreen lighter though.
post #149 of 232
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Originally Posted by DWFII View Post
Thank you for the kind words and generous thoughts. I appreciate your patronage...
Looking forward to the whole process.

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Originally Posted by RJman View Post
I thought you had a vow of celibacy or sthg... ?
I just lived in a seminary for a while to get my dis done.

Quote:
Originally Posted by voxsartoria View Post
... Their hot chocolate is a great comfort to unattractive women throughout the Boston area.
Jerk! That girl was a former model. I may never have a more beautiful girlfriend. Of course, I've said that before... She also had a few post grad degrees and had set up an ngo that founded and ran grade schools in the poorest, rural areas. Oh well.

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Originally Posted by youngScholar View Post
Good for you for commissioning a pair, emptym. I would very much like to see these when they are completed. Did you order shoes or another pair of boots...
I ordered a pair of chukkas/George boots like the ones DW started a thread on, but in shell cordovan.
post #150 of 232
About the channeling of the stitching in the outsole: when you are in the situation of having these open channels, would it not be an effective idea to fill that channel up with some pieces of leather? I'm thinking snares of leather that you push in and which would then expand when you walk. That way, the stitching is protected from debris.
?
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