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Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by BigRob, Nov 12, 2013.
+1 very well said. This was what I meant when I said the investment wasn't a monetary one.
...spoken like a man who takes his cyber persona too seriously. It's nice to know that one jab can provoke such a passionate response, haha...troll bait at its finest.
That, or someone who doesn't suffer fools gladly. Internet anonymity is no reason for our dear OP to be posting vapid nonsense.
One of the best things I've read this year. I'm using this in my signature.
Best post I've read in a long time.
Experts please chime in, but I think contributions of shanks are dismissed inappropriately. In technical footwear the shank is, I believe, an important source of foot support. The value depends of the size, dimensions and material of the shank. A full length steel shank will provide support you will not get with more flexible footwear. Try using crampons with a boot with a 360 welt but no shank.
Might be a little OT but here goes...
Steel shanks do support the foot from the height of the heel to the ball of the foot. If you ever see a pair of shoes made before steel shanks were common you'd immediately notice the difference--the way the whole "arch" / shank area has collapsed. Or try wearing a pair of boots / shoes with a higher heel than, say, one inch, and no shank support...not for long, you won't.
Of course every foot is different. Some feet are firm and muscular and well "tied together." Others are loose and more prone to collapse. Unless there is no heel...such as with moccasins...some support is needed and the higher the heel the more support and the stronger the shank needs to be.
It is possible to make a shoe or boot with nothing but a carefully shaped stack of leather in lieu of a steel shank support. This relates to what is known as "box beam construction." But again the higher the heel the the less reliable this method is esp. over the long term.
Wood shank supports are viable for low heels shoes--5/8" or thereabouts. But the wood degrades relatively quick...faster than the insole...and some support will be lost, if not the entire shank. Ultimately though, the big attraction of wood shanks is that they are cheap.
Bottom line, nothing is perfect in this situation, simply because the foot simply was not "designed" to function with the heel elevated.
Informative as always. Are elevated heels just a stylistic choice that has become so accepted that they are mandatory? Or is there any good reasons for making shoes this way?
On quality. It seems there are purely functional definitions-,the shoes will maintain their integrity and support longer. But there are also subjective and qualitative definitions that transition footwear from tools to art. Is solid wood furniture really better than plywood with veneer? It may look better to an expert, it may be assumed to be better when a nonexpert inspects it and realizes it is not solid. But it will not collapse on you while eating dinner.
What makes a painting that sells for $100M "better" than one that sells for $100? That is entirely a subjective decision. The small universe of people who would buy an expensive painting may agree on what makes quality, but just makes it a consensus subjective decision.
As a practical matter there is only so long one might need a shoe to last. Even if you could protect it from damage that long, by say 20 years your feet or needs for footwear may have changed.
I am sure there are those who find the expensive RTW shoes to be far more attractive than the products of lesser brands. But I submit this is a learned preference that is shared mainly among enthusiasts. This does not make the designs of a high end brand "better quality". It makes them "more sylish". That is a perfectly valid reason to choose one design over another, but it is not "quality"
You may have to spend a great deal of money to get handwelted bespoke shoes, but you can get durable supportive footwear for under $200.
High heels are primarily ornamental or fashion derived. But there are elements of functionality involved.
If nothing else wearing high heels changes both posture and body shape (firms up the butt), makes the legs look like they are longer relative to the trunk, and changes the gait. On some subconscious level, all of these are associated with reproductive strategy and sexual allure.
High heels also are functional for the horseman--keeping the foot from going through the stirrup. Before there were ever any heels recorded in western history, mongol horsemen strapped wooden blocks...red wooden blocks...to their footwear when riding.
And the horse, and the ownership and ability to ride a horse, has always been associated with aristocracy and wealth.
I don't feel qualified to address the rest of your remarks except to say:
"Quality" is a term that we assign, to one degree or another (or not) to objects which are intentional or created. It has no meaning outside of what we, as human beings, give it. Having said that I do not believe that "quality" is subjective in any but the most solipsistic sense. It is informed by intimate knowledge, deliberate analysis and consideration, and Tradition / history--a connection to human beings and humanity past and present..
When a shoemaker makes a bespoke pair of shoes he is reaching out to the customer, in a sense. He is taking the customer's preferences and desires into consideration. And in fulfilling those desires he creates a link, as who should say, to another human being. And through that link, paying homage to all those who went before--"the dead guys" / "the elder gods of shoemaking." In doing so, he affirms his connection to other human beings...past and present, now and forever...and in a sense legitimizes his own humanity.
The process is two way, however. When the customer seeks and commissions a bespoke maker, he is also making a connection. He is seeking an input, and a level of perception, and an aspiration, at least, to an aesthetic standard that transcends the ordinary. An aesthetic that is uniquely human. That is only to be found in humans. That cannot be realized by processes or technologies that do not involve human beings at the most intimate, committed levels. And in seeking that connection, the customer affirms his own humanity as well.
I think that if we were to examine all those things we deem as "quality" we would find that the more humanity we can sense in a object the more we value it. A lot of this happens on a subconscious or even unconscious level however. On a subconscious level, we perceive more than our eyes see. "Quality" has a lot to do with what the craftsman brings to the party. As such the farther an object gets from its roots as something conceived and created by a human being intimately involved at every level of its creation, the less it partakes of that which we call "quality." The less we can see or feel it. For no other, more tangible, reason than that we can't see or feel the human connection / humanity in it.
Yes, the solid wood chair is of better quality than the plywood chair. Not so much because of the materials but because to the extent that the maker put all or a great deal of himself into making it, we recognize that it was far more difficult than making the plywood chair. And, that part of what he put into it, was nothing short of love. The craftsman not only put much of himself into the chair, much was drawn / taken from him, as well. A great deal more than is ever to be found in the "manufactured" chair.
And, most importantly, that "humanity" is still in the chair...and will be for as long as the chair exists...and we sense it and value it even if we cannot put our fingers on why it moves us.
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