Algonquins (aka split-toes)

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Keith T, Dec 8, 2004.

  1. Keith T

    Keith T TWAT Master.

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    I was considering making my next shoe purchase a pair of Algonquins.

    Anybody know the origin of this term, by the way?  Wasn't there a writer's group of the same name-- I want to say named for the hotel where they met?

    Anyway, I'd like to hear impressions from those who may already have some.  They seem to fit in the "dress" mode (along with cap-toes, wing-tips, etc.) and they are offered by the likes of Alden, AE, Cole Haan, among others.  Any specific recommendations would be appreciated, and I would also be interested to hear what members might have to say about the style in general.

    I think they might be easier to dress down, vs. a cap-toe for instance, depending upon the specific brand and its characteristics.  I probably have more of a need for a black pair, and that might fit in better with the rest of the items in my closet....although I could opt for brown.  "Need" being relative for all of you shoe-aholics.  One of my catalogues at home had a very attractive (IMO) brown suede pair, but I can't recall who offered them.  Brooks/Alden?  Or maybe it was JosAB.

    EDIT: and is there any chance that some Grensons of this nature might show up at Bennie's? (hint, Chris).
     


  2. Lint Brush

    Lint Brush Senior member

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    Brooks makes a particularly attractive pair (or Sargent obo Brooks) of this model. My feet aren't especially wide, but this model happened to be cut too narrow for my comfort. If they fit you, I think you'd be pleased with the nicely elongated line.
     


  3. kabert

    kabert Senior member

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    I have always very much admired the Brooks Brothers Algonquin shoe. I guess it's made by Sargent or C&J. To me, it looks like the kind of shoe that would work with a coat/tie and could work with khakis or even jeans.

    I've got two pairs of the Alden pointy-stitched toe shoes, one in calfskin, one in cordovan; they are somewhat similar to the Brooks model in design. I think the Brooks model is actually better looking -- sleeker I think. I've never found them on sale in my size though and am loath to pay full price, otherwise I'd have them in my closet by now.

    I saw some of the Grenson's stitched toes on the Bennies website a month or two ago, but only in a couple of sizes. They were pretty to look at.
     


  4. globetrotter

    globetrotter Senior member

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    there was a group of writters, named for the hotel where they met, which was named after the nation of indians. my guess is that the shoe was named after a camp, named after the indians, in the same way that this has also been called a nowegian shoe - it was a name meant to convey an outdoorsy feel.
     


  5. LabelKing

    LabelKing Senior member

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    Yes, the Algonquin Round Table composed of Dorothy Parker, Harpo Marx, Edna Ferber, and other literary notables. Also the actress Talluah Bankhead, the playwright Noel COward had joined in at some points.

    They met in the Algonquin in New York. Sort of an American version of the English Bloomsbury Group.
     


  6. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    I just assumed that because the Algonquins were Indians who presumably wore mocassions that this style of mocassin toe was named directly after the Indians. Wouldn't this make the most sense?

    P.S. My apologies if the old fashioned use of the "Indians" offends. Amend to "Native Americans" or "indigenous people" at your discretion.
     


  7. norcaltransplant

    norcaltransplant Senior member

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    Back to the original topic...

    EG Dover 808 or 606 in Dark Oak
    Search in the archives for the discussion or wait until the rest of the freaks, I mean experts, weigh in on this topic.

    For a cheaper version that currently resides on my feet, the Allen Edmonds Hancock.  Super-comfortable and can be had for under $200 with a little effort.

    EDIT: I'm sure Jcusey or Shoefan has a background devoted to the Green. BTW, Shoefan can you post more examples of your adventures in skin-stiching?
     


  8. STYLESTUDENT

    STYLESTUDENT Senior member

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    Flusser, in "Dressing the Man", says that this style was originally a '30s leisure shoe with thick soles. Alden's version, coincidentally, still has a double sole. Previous posts on the forum say that this shoe style can be worn with just about anything, so maybe style has changed. I'd doubt you'd wear it with a dark DB suit, however, especially in a suede or cordovan (Alden colors).
     


  9. basilkelley

    basilkelley Member

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    I recently purchased a pair of Grenson tan pebble grain in this style from Bernies. They were a steal at $150.00 (Chris is a real pleasure to deal with). I also have a pair of Cleverly brown leather and at approximately a third of the price ,the Grensons compare quite favourably. I wear them "semi- casual" with corduroys or flannels and a tweed jacket or with a tweed suit. I don't think they are a "dress shoe", even in black. Since I don't have any jeans I can't comment on how they would look with them.
     


  10. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    It's a lie, a lie, I tell you. I'm only moderately enthusiastic about Edward Green. [​IMG] Anyway, Dover is one of the greatest shoe designs in existence, and I particularly like it in Edwardian Antique on the 808 last: [​IMG] I also like the Alden split-toe in dark brown suede or burgundy shell cordovan: [​IMG] The Sutor Mantellassi Norwegian version isn't bad either: [​IMG] And JM Weston's chasse and demi-chasse versions are also classics: [​IMG] [​IMG]
     


  11. minimal

    minimal Senior member

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    The split-toe style is great: I think it works both dressed up or down. These are my Allen-Edmonds "bradley", in black cordovan. They no longer make them in black, but you can special order them in black or any other material for that matter. When I ordered, I specified the double sole and reverse welt, which is not usual on the stock model. I think they look really good with jeans, and more "up" attire, and (when brushed clean) with a dark suit. If you want to see some *insanely* beautiful split-toes, search for "alden fan". The only reason I don't have their shoes is that I wear a 12EEE and that's not easily available on the Alden lasts used there. [​IMG]
     


  12. armscye

    armscye Senior member

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    The Algonquin Roundtable was a group of literary types who met to drink and exchange insults at the Algonquin Hotel on 44th Street in Manhattan. It included humorist Robert Benchley (postcard from Venice: "Streets Flooded, Please Advise."), acerbic poet Dorothy Parker ("Candy is Dandy, but Liquor is Quicker"), and playwright Alexander Woolcott ("The Man Who Came to Dinner").

    The Algonquin is still there, and in fact I spent a night there in 1994; there is a round table in the main dining area.

    I saw no evidence of a predominance of split-toed shoes.
     


  13. scraper

    scraper Member

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  14. JLibourel

    JLibourel Senior member

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    I should point out that the Bradley, although an attractive shoe--I have two pairs (one in black, one in chili)--is not a true Algonquin toe. The A-E Ashton in their "Dress Casual" line is. (I think it's the only one in their current line of lace-ups.)
     


  15. minimal

    minimal Senior member

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    Really. I've always thought they were the same, along with all the other names i've seen: "norwegian-front", "bicycle-front", etc. etc.

    So, are there difference in these other names as well? Thanks for illuminating.
     


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