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All leather heel?

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by laufer, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. laufer

    laufer Senior member

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    I have noticed that some shoes most notably formal shoes have heels that are made from all leather unlike most dress shoes that have heels made with combination of leather and small rubber part. For example most of BB Peal shoes have heels with combination of rubber and leather. However BB formal patent shoes are made with all leather base.

    Anybody has any opinion on this issue. I thought that reasoning for leather/rubber combination is for traction. Formal shoes are meant to be worn on red carpet but would all leather heel and sole shoes be slippery on carpeted surface.

    For example of all leather heel please see these Wellington boots

    http://www.shipton-usa.com/wellington-boot-mess-wellington-1367-0.html
     
  2. ElDave

    ElDave Senior member

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    Nobody ever said tradition had to make sense.
     
  3. cioni2k

    cioni2k Senior member

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    :lol: +1
     
  4. glenjay

    glenjay Senior member

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    By "formal" I assume you are referring to opera pumps.

    Some manufactures do add a partial rubber heel cap to their opera pumps, Ferragamo is one of them.

    I believe the reason for the typical solid leather heel on an opera pump is due to the history of the shoe. The opera pump is pretty much the oldest dress shoe (still worn) in the world. The opera pump evolved from the Court shoe. Court shoes were worn when dressing up to visit the the royal court in various European countries. It is basically just a plain black leather slipper with a bow (or buckle historically). Of course the shoes were polished when going to court. Patent leather did not really exist untill the start of the 1800s.

    Because the court shoe has always been made with a solid leather heel (not a lot of rubber products around during the Renaissance), it is considered more formal to keep the all leather heel.

    This is similar to the reasoning that was used for detachable collars on formal shirts. Historically dress shirts were made with detachable collars because the collar received more wear than the rest of the shirt, and since dress shirts were/are typically made out of finer materials than work shirts, it was more cost effective to replace the collar than the entire dress shirt.
     
  5. musicguy

    musicguy Senior member

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    Interesting thread. Perhaps it's because that's how they used to make them. I know my formal shoes are very slippery. But I wouldn't want a clunky rubber sole on it either. Interesting conundrum.
     
  6. MalfordOfLondon

    MalfordOfLondon Senior member

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    Barker Black use full leather heels on a lot of their shoes:

    [​IMG]

    It's never made sense to me. They are a danger to walk in - much like V-Cleats.
     
  7. laufer

    laufer Senior member

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    Glenjay,

    Thank you for sharing your opinion. When I said formal I did not mean only opera pumps. I see some other "regular" patent shoes made with all leather heels. For example Brooks Brothers patent shoes are made with all leather heel and sole. Herring patent shoes are made with combination of leather and rubber heel but Herring shoes slippers are made with all leather sole and heel.

    I a wondering about the traction of all leather sole and heels on carpeted surfaces? I am assuming these shoes must be very slippery but I could be wrong.
     
  8. Stanley the 2nd

    Stanley the 2nd Active Member

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    Wouldn't an all leather heel wear down quicker than a rubber one? Plus being lethal in the rain of course.......
     
  9. cioni2k

    cioni2k Senior member

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    Yes and yes. Certainly not convenient in any way. Maybe its for aesthetics/tradition?
     
  10. musicguy

    musicguy Senior member

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    Pretty sure that's it... People normally don't wear formalwear frequently. Unless you're me. I try to not wear my formal shoes for long after concerts. I've almost slipped many times in the lobby of my concert hall. Slick tile floors and soft carpet are the worst.
     
  11. Gdot

    Gdot Senior member

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    Here's a trick my father taught me.

    New shoes = slippery soles. Go outside and find the nearest roughly finished sidewalk - press foot down firmly on pavement and rotate back a fourth a few times - soles and heals roughened up a bit - traction good - problem solved

    I know this will kill some of you who can hardly bear to even wear your new shoes at all for fear of marring the soles - but I do promise you that it works - and I don't personallyl believe it does any real harm to the soles.
     
  12. MalfordOfLondon

    MalfordOfLondon Senior member

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    This will have no effect on slippery heels.
     
  13. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    While I can't confirm your comments as fact, I suspect much of it is true. Way back, there was no alternative to leather. As times progressed, rubber and poly became an alternative. This benefited the maker (cost saving) and user (better wear and traction). The combination leather/rubber heel was developed. That offered the "feel" of walking on leather with the "wear" and "traction" of rubber on the rear of the heel. As that became more practical and popular the solid leather heel became more of a status than anything else. That's why it's featured on special occasion footwear.
    Another point is point is how the lift is attached to the base. They are all cemented then most makers use steel fixtures. This can cause slippage because the leather will wear quicker than the steel. As the leather wears you may slip on the nails. Other makers use brass nails. Brass is softer and wears evenly with the leather.
     
  14. uniesse

    uniesse Senior member

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    I find leather/ metal combination heels (metal quarter heels) perfectly acceptable to walk in in all circumstances. I replace my leather rubber/ leather combination heels with same; I am very heavy on my heels, I think they wear longer than rubber.

    You might even say that they're more precarious than all leathers heels so far as grip is concerned.
     
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2011

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