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St. Crispin's Appreciation Thread - Page 124

post #1846 of 2826
I hate the look of topy's. I actually notice when people have them. If I am walking behind somebody and I see the bottoms of some guy's feet in front of me with a topy on them I can't help but shake my head. I know it sounds ridiculous, but to me it is just too fussy at the expense of an ugly shoe. I always felt there was something rather rustic and more natural about simply wearing down your leather soles. More of a feeling than anything else.

As for bad weather, imo, the sole of the shoe would be of least importance to me when getting shoes wet, you can replace them, but you can't replace a cracked upper. Are you really, deliberately wearing $1,700 shoes in a downpour? If the cost isn't a concern to you neither should be replacing soles with leather. As to grip and such, I have worn dainties and I hate them. I found them to slip around on wet concrete, especially when crossing streets where there is undoubtedly rubber and oil present. Oak bark soles get a nap when worn, which I would imagine as a higher coefficient of friction with concrete than rubber and cement.
post #1847 of 2826
Quote:
Originally Posted by patrickBOOTH View Post

I hate the look of topy's. I actually notice when people have them. If I am walking behind somebody and I see the bottoms of some guy's feet in front of me with a topy on them I can't help but shake my head. I know it sounds ridiculous, but to me it is just too fussy at the expense of an ugly shoe. I always felt there was something rather rustic and more natural about simply wearing down your leather soles. More of a feeling than anything else.

As for bad weather, imo, the sole of the shoe would be of least importance to me when getting shoes wet, you can replace them, but you can't replace a cracked upper. Are you really, deliberately wearing $1,700 shoes in a downpour? If the cost isn't a concern to you neither should be replacing soles with leather. As to grip and such, I have worn dainties and I hate them. I found them to slip around on wet concrete, especially when crossing streets where there is undoubtedly rubber and oil present. Oak bark soles get a nap when worn, which I would imagine as a higher coefficient of friction with concrete than rubber and cement.

I agree with you...but once a person is convinced, even if it's only on the basis of urban myth or a superficial understanding of leather and rubber...there's no disabusing them of their notions.

That said, one doesn't have to look far to realize that rubber and truly problematic surfaces such as ice are not a happy combination. I grew up in the north country and to this day, all-weather tires not withstanding, I will not drive on icy payment without studs in the tires.

Heavily textured vibram outsoles--the "lug" soles--are good in snow and mud, etc., but not on ice. But topy and other rubber products don't have those lugs--they are, for all intents and purposes, just smooth, poreless, tractionless, surfaces esp. after they've been worn for a little bit.

Most people who read this forum probably don't wade in deep and dangerous rivers pursuing anadromous salmonids...one expensive hobby is enough...but the move is to rubber outsoles on wading boots because the Traditional felt (which gives amazing traction on algae and slime covered bedrock) is suspected of carrying diseases from one rivershed to the next. But the rubber outsoles are a disaster. They are slippery in the extreme, having to be augmented by carbide studs and when sufficient time has passed, I have even money that studies will prove that they are responsible for an increase in drownings or near drownings when compared to felt.

Edmond Hillery climbed Mount Everest in leather soles.
post #1848 of 2826
Team Leather
post #1849 of 2826
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

Edmond Hillery climbed Mount Everest in leather soles.

Perhaps they had multiple footwear options for different terrains?



The photo description says "boots being handmade for Edmund HIllary's Mount Everest expedition, 21st January 1953." The bottoms look to be rubber and lugged.

http://www.firstpost.com/photos/images-when-hillary-and-norgay-conquered-mount-everest-60-years-ago-825281.html
post #1850 of 2826
FWIW, when I looked up articles on Google Scholar for this blog post, I found that most researchers agreed that rubber, lugged soles are better for highly wet, smooth surfaces.

http://putthison.com/post/15349919194/q-and-answer-what-kind-of-shoes-are-best-for

I regret that I didn't save the academic articles, or the links. You can easily find them by using Google Scholar though. From memory, there are a couple of good literature reviews, although you may need journal access in order to read them (either paid subscriptions or access to a university library/ proxy network)
post #1851 of 2826

For me the primary benefit of a Topy outsole - beyond significantly extended sole life - is superior grip on slippery surfaces in the winter months.  In my experience, Topys significantly outperform wet leather soles when traversing wet tile indoors and icy sidewalks outdoors.

 

As for the aesthetics - people like what they like.  But I expect next to nobody notices the soles of my shoes, and in any event, I don't find the look of worn leather soles - with untold detritus of unknown origins ground into them - to be particularly attractive.  Topy's look neater to me.

 

Sir Edmund Hillary scaled Everest in 1953.  I wonder how many top mountaineers today climb in leather-soled boots?  Traditional choices are not always and by definition better choices.

 

At the St. Crispin's trunk show Philip Car recommended a combination leather / synthetic sole (leather midsole and a Topy-like outsole) for a pair of boots I am ordering for next fall.  St. Crispin's offers a fair variety of full or partial synthetic outsole options for their customers.  That says something to me.

post #1852 of 2826
I don't have Topys on my shoes because I don't like how they look, but I'm not climbing Mount Everest or even walking very much when it rains.
post #1853 of 2826
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

Perhaps they had multiple footwear options for different terrains?

The photo description says "boots being handmade for Edmund HIllary's Mount Everest expedition, 21st January 1953." The bottoms look to be rubber and lugged.
l

You're right about the photo in your post--vibram outsole most likely.

That said, I think the Foster's thread had a photo of the boots that Hillary used, on display somewhere in England.They were leather soled as I recall, and had hobs
post #1854 of 2826
Quote:
Originally Posted by dieworkwear View Post

I don't have Topys on my shoes because I don't like how they look, but I'm not climbing Mount Everest or even walking very much when it rains.

 

I don't have them on all my shoes - just some.  All of my tall boots are Topy'd, however, or have full synthetic outsoles. 

post #1855 of 2826
Quote:
Originally Posted by DWFII View Post

You're right about the photo in your post--vibram outsole most likely.

That said, I think the Foster's thread had a photo of the boots that Hillary used, on display somewhere in England.They were leather soled as I recall, and had hobs


Made by Satra apparently:
https://www.satra.co.uk/bulletin/article_view.php?id=529
post #1856 of 2826
Quote:
Originally Posted by thelonius View Post

Made by Satra apparently:
https://www.satra.co.uk/bulletin/article_view.php?id=529

If that's the one, I stand corrected because the SATRA boot had an early iteration of vibram.
post #1857 of 2826
Following up on the issue of Hillary's boots...Here are the pair I was referring to: http://www.styleforum.net/t/354137/leather-quality-and-properties/795#post_6712603



It's worth noting that in 1953 Vibram was still pretty new. They didn't open up their production facilities until 1945. And Vibram themselves tout the 1954 K2 climb as the signal event in getting Vibram soles accepted.

Clearly, from the above link, Hillary was taking leather soled and hobbed boots with him on the expedition. Whether he also took boots with Vibram outsoles is another question. I suspect that as I mentioned above, if he did, it was with the understanding that the Vibram boots would be useful in snow fields and near-as-nevermind worthless on ice.

And FWIW...Bengal Stripe posted the following with regard to both Mallory (1924) and Hillary (1953) although it's not clear who, and when, his photo is linked to:

http://www.styleforum.net/t/14906/shoe-damage-report-porn-central-part-i/11925#post_2476721

LEAD Technologies Inc. V1.01

The ultimate point is that we can discover, even just here on SF, an endless dialogue of contradictory personal experiences--I myself live in cold country and have worn nothing but leather soles and higher heels for over four decades, in ice and snow, and probably fallen less that three times in that entire period. People who say that Topy or Danite or whatever has saved them; people who claim that the worst fall they ever took was while wearing rubber soles.

Given the indisputable facts about snow tires and rubber on ice, I don't think that a convincing case has been or can be made that rubber outsoles are the answer to traction on problematic surfaces. Neither the logic nor the empirical evidence is there.

The the only real answer is being careful and learning to carry your weight over the balls of your feet.

--
Edited by DWFII - 3/18/14 at 6:23am
post #1858 of 2826
Informative post on theshoesnobblog on the subject of Topys and toe plates:

http://www.theshoesnobblog.com/2014/03/additions-to-your-sole.html

I sure am glad we have progressed beyond 1953 technology in this and a great many othe respects.
post #1859 of 2826
Quote:
Originally Posted by RogerP View Post

Informative post on theshoesnobblog on the subject of Topys and toe plates:

http://www.theshoesnobblog.com/2014/03/additions-to-your-sole.html

I sure am glad we have progressed beyond 1953 technology in this and a great many othe respects.

Good article, thanks for sharing Roger.

post #1860 of 2826
We all choose what we want to believe and what is convenient/easy to believe...regardless of facts or logic. As I've said many times, I offer rubber soles to those clients who are insistent; even put Topy on my wife's shoes.

However, for balance...from the Carreducker blog:

Most of our clients choose a leather sole for their shoes. This has many advantages. One being that you get the full handsewn shoe with a handsewn welt and sole. Another is that the leather is breathable, thus healthier. A third is that they look great, for example, you can have an elegant bevelled waist on a leather soled shoe. But to some clients, these advantages are outweighed by one major issue. Slippiness. Now, I wear leather soles shoes all the time and have never had a slip in wet weather, but some people say they slip and slide around to a dangerous degree. I think it is because of differences in gait, but I don't really know.

--
Edited by DWFII - 3/18/14 at 10:17am
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