1. What do you mean by saying you "detail" Rustik more than any other leather?
Outside of Allen Edmonds and Pertini, just about every other shoe I carry is 'made-up' by/for me in Italy - there is no 'stock' to buy from. I pick the pattern/last/leather/color/finish/sole/trim and sometimes come up with my own patterns. This is pretty standard for those of us who travel to Italy and buy for our stores; I'm not unique in this process, although there seems to be fewer and fewer of us who go and do their own shoes each season. Jody at Wilkes-Bashford, Jim Pierce at Harolds in the Heights (Houston), Adam Derrick at Berdorfs, Ron Scott at Gentleman's Jodphor (DC), and a guy in Chicago, I forget his name, are a few of the others who do the same as I do. So, you 'order' stock shoes and 'detail' factory make-ups.
2. I don't mean to be a pest about this, but what exactly is the Rustik color? It appears on my monitor to be a brown with a rust tint. Am I right?
'Rustik' is a type of calfskin, not a color. 'Rustik' calf is an analine calf (colored with pigments, instead of dyestuffs) that is chrome tanned (like all good dress uppers) and then re-tanned lightly in vegetable extracts which gives it a little more 'body'. It is a little thicker than most calf (1.2-1.5mm), holds it's finish very well, is easy to antique ( an important feature in 'better' shoes...at least for 'shoe guys'), is not stiff and comes in a large variety of colors - more than 20.
3. How easy is it to have Blake-stitched shoes resoled at a typical local cobbler's? My local cobbler is excellent, but I have yet to ask him what he (and his contemporaries in other cities -- I may be moving soon) can do with Blake stitched soles.
This is probably THE MOST mis-understood topic that appears regularly on these boards...shoe repair guys have really done a great job making their work seem more complicated than it is. First of all, 90% of the adhesion of all parts of a factory shoe, including the sole, is all-purpose cement and/or double-sided tape. Secondly, EVERY shoe repair shop that is any good will have a MacKay stitcher...Blake and MacKay are interchangeable - same machine, different name on different continents. It's very easy - the heels are removed and the toplifts thrown out, the existing outsole is sanded down to a uniform thickness, the new sole is laminated on and then the shoes are run around the MacKay stitcher. The heel bases are then glued/nailed back on, and new toplifts glued/nailed to the bases. Excess is trimmed away, ink is rolled around the sole edge, shoes are ready - straight forward job. Now, with the exception of the alligator flanks model I have, all Martegani shoes are BLAKE/RAPID construction - not Blake. This means that the MID-SOLE is Blake stitched and the OUTSOLE is Rapid stitched - a seperate stitch on the outside of the upper that goes thru the midsole...looks just like a welted shoe. This is the EASIEST construction to repair, as all you have to do is cut off the outsole and lay a new one onto the existing mid-sole and stitch again. No sanding down to a uniform thickness, no replacing dried up cork/glue mixture...easy job. And, it's repairable more than many welted shoes as, since there is no welt, you can run stitches thru the midsole at more places where on a welted shoe, after two or three outsole jobs, you have to replace the welt as it's been stitched out. Most of my customers simply bring my shoes (or send them) back to me for repair work.