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Enzo Bonafe Handmade Shoes.

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Chris "Italia", Nov 4, 2007.

  1. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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  2. thatisgross

    thatisgross Well-Known Member

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    The only truly waterproof construction is cemented...
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
  3. ThunderMarch

    ThunderMarch Senior member

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    Having read the review on the hatch grain boots, I do have this to say....

    1) Pertaining to issues with leather:
    - It is not realistic, and perhaps quite unfair to compare the behaviour of hatch grain to regular calf, or whatever "standard" you are thinking of. First off, hatch grain is a cow/steerhide. This, in and of itself, implies that it will perform and look differently from calf. One sure thing is that the grain is coarser, and possibly, looser than calf. I am not saying one is better than the other, but even on Horween's website, it is stated that cowhides perform better in terms of YIELD and PRODUCTION. These 2 properties have very little to nothing, to do with QUALITY.
    https://www.horween.com/blog/2010/12/14/by-request-whats-the-difference
    There is perhaps, a very logical reason, why cowhides are not usually chosen for dress shoes / boots. The appearance of the grain is one. How it ages / creases, might be another.
    I am not saying your boots are dress boots, they certainly aren't. But the nature / performance of cowhide might just naturally lend itself to models / styles where a pristine look is not as important.

    - Then there is the issue of fit. Outside of the best made bespoke boots, the fit of the shaft of a RTW boot, in relation to the calves are approximate at best. Creasing is inevitable on the boot shaft, especially after the boots are worn, and also very much subject to fit. Also, the best cut of the hide, is typically used for the vamps, not the shaft. This is not to say that bad leather is naturally used for boot shafts. This is certainly not the case. But the assumption that the appearance of the shaft is purely due to intentional cost cutting and using inferior leather, is not accurate, to say the least.

    - Hatch grain is not something that is a regular offering by Bonafe. This was a specific request by a client. The clicking / working of the leather, as such, might be quite different from what they are used to. A lot of what a maker does best, is probably something that they are most used to doing. Whenever I make a request (for a feature, or maybe even an exotic leather) outside of the maker's "comfort zone", or what they regularly offer. My expectations are often tempered by the fact that I am requesting them for something they might not be very conventional for them, and that this may give rise to a somewhat unpredictable outcome.

    - Pulled grain at the cap toe. Pulling out of the grain is somewhat inevitable at the toe, due to the lasting process. Observing the hatch grain on my pair of boots, my impression is that this leather is not very "deeply" embossed to begin with. Every maker I've ever used, for grained / embossed leathers, have had this issue. Will have this issue. With regards to the "matching" of the leather of the captoe and vamp. Yes, they are probably cut from different parts of the hide.
    Is it blatantly obvious? It can be discerned, yes, but I don't think it is unreasonably so.

    To be very honest. If I already had so many "problems" with the leather, and issues that were perceived even before the boots were worn, I would have reached out the retailer and discussed the issues, BEFORE wearing them.

    2) "Sleek" norvegese
    - What is that? Really.
    - already mentioned ad nauseum by now, but norvegese construction is chunky / bulky by nature. That's the way it's always been. Having the outsole cut as close as possible, or as sleek as possible, is both un-intuitive for this make-up, and quite frankly, a little silly.

    3) Crooked captoe
    - The captoe is not perfect, granted.
    - "Categorically" unacceptable? Really? Seriously speaking, I just don't see it. I've seen far bigger messes on say, a maker like St Crispins (in this example below, BOTH captoes are a bit of a mess).

    [​IMG]

    - I would actually say this cap toe seam (the Bonafe, not the StC) is fairly passable and it's a bit of stretch to condemn it.

    4) Upcharge? RRPs?
    The "Balway" model is currently available only Via SoleGarb. This is a pattern not previously done by EB. So presumably, this is a new (albeit only slightly modified) model that SoleGarb has paid some kind of fee to EB for ? exclusivity.

    Would they pass on a bit of the cost to the consumer? Yes, they probably would. If I were very particular and specific that I want this model, then I would suck it up and pay the extra cost. If I am unhappy about it, then I would go for another model, by another retailer. So quite honestly, this point is ridiculous.

    And with regards to the pricing of the EB models by different retailers... To my knowledge, EB generally does not impose very strict RRPs on their retailers, unlike maybe some other Northampton makers. Once you are getting a product from a retailer instead of direct from the maker, one is generally subject to the pricing of that retailer. If one isn't happy with the price, one simply looks elsewhere. For a good example how how large this disparity can get (inter-retailers), one simply needs to look at what's happened with Vass retailers.

    5) Water leakage
    - I agree with this, this is a fair point and legitimate concern.

    - Earlier on, someone had mentioned that the the thread used for the norvegese stitching is a potential wick, bringing in water to the insole. While this is true, a properly made linen thread, prepared with wax and rosin, coupled with the heat / friction generated during the pulling of the threads, should actually create a fairly "water-impermeable" interface. In fact, this very linen thread, might be the only truly "waterproof component" of the construction. The other components (welt and uppers) being made of leather and are hence, not waterproof.

    - In any case, granted, this is a problem that one would be made aware of only after wearing the boots. I would also find it a little strange if there was significant seepage of water if just walking through small puddles, because I've worn regular handwelted (EB) boots through monsoon weather here, with no problems at all. But it is also true that no construction method is really fully waterproof, except maybe a solid rubber pair of boots.

    Of course, negative reviews are an important aspect, and part and parcel, of forums such as this. However, a lot of it came across as rather gratuitous. If it were me, I would have approached the retailer first, to see if any reasonable solutions can be reached, and reflect as such, in my post. None of this however, came across. "Protect the community"? Come on.

    All this being said, I do acknowledge that there have been varying experiences with EB among the users here. I have bought a few pairs of Bonafes myself, and though my experiences might not be fully representative, I have had largely consistent, well made shoes / boots that are fairly priced. EB brings to the table, a wide array of construction techniques, designs, leathers and options that cater to many different tastes / wants. The work is generally of a very respectable standard, though I will also admit there may be minor issues with QC, not unlike, or overtly unexpected for a maker of this price bracket, or maybe even higher.
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2017
    6 people like this.
  4. mockingboy

    mockingboy Senior member

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    Make up?

     
  5. peppercorn78

    peppercorn78 Senior member

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    One-off MTO through Solegarb. whole cut chelsea on a wide version of the 804 last. Etrusco calf, medium burnish.
     
  6. fairlynerdy

    fairlynerdy Senior member

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    Really like those chelseas pepper. Super versatile make up and color.
     
  7. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    @ThunderMarch I'm with you on everything except the Norvegese / waterproofing issue. I've always regarded that type of stitching as more of a beautiful aesthetic element rather than a functional one. Now Veldtshoen construction - I can both understand and attest to the waterproofing characteristics of that method. On the whole that was a very comprehensive and informative response.

    Now I need to go try on the grain Bonafe chukkas that arrived from Skoak yesterday. Probably I should send them back as unacceptable if the grain is stretched smooth over the toe cap? [​IMG]
     
  8. rbhan12

    rbhan12 Senior member

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    I'm not unhappy because the grain is stretched over the toe. I'm not stupid, I understand leather stretches when lasting at the toe. The problem is that the ENTIRE cap is stretched, starting immediately from the stitching. Compared to the leather comprising the vamp just next to the stitching, it shows the nice hatch grain texture and pattern and is not stretched at all. Doesn't make sense, and leads me to believe different cuts and bad leather was used for the cap.

    In addition, this probably would not have happened if the pattern was a stitched cap rather than a separate piece of leather. Even so I'm not sure the entirety of the cap would be stretched.

    Nonetheless, it seems like the consensus is that I expected too much from the cosmetics and the sources I cited were wrong about the construction. I'll keep that in mind henceforth and send my money elsewhere.

    Happy for you gents that have had good results with Bonafe.
     
  9. Zapasman

    Zapasman Senior member

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    ThThanks Roger. I am very pleased with this model (it was an old ladys shoe model from EB). I ordered the treccia or chained stitch for decorative purposes (I appreciate much the hand craft work). I covered the welt/stitch with wax, although I will never wear them in the rain. Ver happy with my first pair of grain leather. Fit is an issue though .
     
  10. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    How big of an issue is the fit? That's one of those potentially terminal issues. Hope not for your sake.

    I'm probably going to move along my grain chukkas. They do fit and they are gorgeous but man, they are just too close to my existing etrusco chukkas. Yes, I suspected they might be and ordered them anyway.
     
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2017
  11. Zapasman

    Zapasman Senior member

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    I Will pm you tomorrow.
     
  12. ecwy

    ecwy Senior member

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    Hi mate, wearing them today but I don't have the issue you mention. I'm kinda between sizes where i think possibly a 0.25 size down would be most ideal so my heel is slightly loose.
     
    1 person likes this.
  13. Zapasman

    Zapasman Senior member

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    @ Ecwy & @RogerP. My shaft at the heel does not wrap it well enought. I think it needs much more curvature. Lenght wise the boot is perfect but the shaft at the back is too straight at that área. All of my boots hace much more curvature at the heel.
     
  14. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    These have become my go-to pair for casual wear. I have worn the heck out of them and enjoyed every minute of it.


    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
     
    5 people like this.
  15. CLTesquire

    CLTesquire Senior member

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    @RogerP those chukkas really turned out to be an awesome GMTO. I wear mine all the time.
     
    1 person likes this.
  16. ThunderMarch

    ThunderMarch Senior member

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    As a follow-up to an earlier discussion pertaining to pulled grain on captoes...
    This is a picture of a pair of Bemers, undoubtedly in a price bracket far exceeding EB. Made in the original Russian calf. Yes, the original leather is 200 odd years old and there are probably other factors that come into play for a leather so aged, but one can see clearly, how the pulled grain affects the ENTIRE captoe as well.
    So yes, the pulling of the grain can affect the entire captoe.
    The choice of the leather, and the finishing work evident on the outsole, tells me that this pair is most likely SB's bespoke grade stuff (I could be wrong) .... So are they going to purposefully choose crap leather (or a suboptimal cut) for the captoe? I seriously don't think so.

    [​IMG]

    Oh, and the straightness of the captoe seam.... isn't exactly exemplary either.
    Hmmm...
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2017
    1 person likes this.
  17. venividivicibj

    venividivicibj Senior member

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  18. bamboo

    bamboo Senior member

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    This is interesting. I took a look at their IG and found the same image and another shot. [​IMG]

    I believe these are the same pair but cap of this pair looks more straight to my eyes. What do you think?
     
  19. ThunderMarch

    ThunderMarch Senior member

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    Probably just slightly better. Angles may have something to do with it. Would be ideal to have a straight top down shot.
     
  20. shirtsnob

    shirtsnob Senior member

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    Roger


    those are HOF chukkas




    Hall Of Fame
     
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