Gaziano & Girling Appreciation & Shoe Appreciation Thread (including reviews, purchases, pictures, e

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by luk-cha, Apr 7, 2011.

  1. JulianL

    JulianL Well-Known Member

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    I'm hesitant to make my first post on this forum on a subject that has been, based on previous threads elsewhere, a controversial subject but I can't hold myself back for any longer because this is a very topical question for me, and in a G&G context. I have my first pair of MTO in the works (Grant on TG73 in Vintage Oak ordered directly from Dean at G&G). The estimated delivery of Christmas if I'm lucky but probably early January so I think that there's still time to make minor tweaks if required.

    I love the oak bark sole so that is what I have specified but, as an urbal dweller (London), I would like just a little bit more grip if possible. Recently I had a bit of a slide (not a fall) in leather shoes as I was walking down an incline in an underpass with a ceramic tiled floor that was wet and very slippery. As I put my foot down I started to slip and, as I then pressed my heel down more firmly, I slipped some more because the heel, also being leather, wasn't gripping either. At that point I wondered to myself if a possible solution to the beauty-vs-grip dilemma might be to stick with an oak bark sole but to specify an alternative base for the heel. Had I had this on my slippery incline then I would presumeably have gained some grip when I put down my heel to try and steady myself which would have helped and such a heel treatment wouldn't interfere, at least in my opinion, with the beauty of the standard fiddleback waist. It's a compromise, and clearly won't give the same grip as a well-chosen full sole and heel alternative, but I'm wondering if it is a reasonable compromise that gives some worthwhile extra grip for a very minor (in my opinion) aesthetic tradeoff.

    Has anyone specified such a shoe with G&G or elsewhere? Which of the MTO sole alternatives (micro, crepe, Ridgeway or Danite) is likely to be best for urban conditions, i.e damp pavements and tiled floors? Aesthetically it seems to me that a micro or crepe heel base would sit more harmoniously with the oak bark sole although just a simple ridged rubber heel base might be the best of all; I have had such a base retro-fitted to a heel by a cobbler but it isn't listed on the G&G site.

    If my idea doesn't get shot down in flames here then I think that I might call Dean to discuss it.

    - Julian
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011


  2. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    It's not the heel base you are looking at but the “top-lift”, the out-most layer that comes into contact with the floor.

    Most of the better quality leather-soled shoes will use a “quarter rubber” top-lift, which is leather with a rubber section set-in at the back. In the old days (up to the 1960s) all leather heels with lots of nails were the standard. These can be slippery. I never found the “quarter rubber” to be slippery, but people's experiences differ.

    Iif you prefer an all rubber top-lift, that can be easily fixed, either now in production or at a later date. If you want leather soles, then you should go for a plain rubber top-lift with a shallow profile, not some fancy lugs. The rubber heels listed on the site are the ones that go with specific rubber soles. G&G can put on a simple rubber heel for you, similar to the one you've got fixed recently. Just ask.

    If you want to change that later for a “quarter rubber”, that's no problem either.
     


  3. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    For what it is worth all of my Crockett & Jones benchgrade shoes had leather soles that were slippery as all hell, especially on tile, or marble floors. I had numerous near wipe-outs in the lobby of my office building. Any time I walked with either Bakers or JR oak bark tanned soles this never happened. It seems like cheaper sole replacements get very "slick" with wear, while oak bark tanned soles develop a kind of "nap" almost like suede, or nubuck after wearing them down a bit. This nap gives a lot more traction, much more than my Dianite soles ever did on all surfaces, including wet streets. Needless to say after all of these experiences I only use oak bark tanned soles and I replaced my Dianites. In addition any shoe that I have had replaced with oak bark the soles have lasted probably 3 times as long as other standard leather soles. Just some food for thought.
     


  4. Leaves

    Leaves Affiliate Vendor Affiliate Vendor

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    Canterbury on GG06, E-width. Double leather sole. Vintage Chestnut and Vintage Maple.

    [​IMG]
     


  5. patrickBOOTH

    patrickBOOTH Senior member Dubiously Honored

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  6. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    There is a book...can't think of the title right now...about the tanning of leather from a chemical and technical point of view. It pretty much confirms your assessment. Oak bark tanned leather lasts longer than leather tanned with other barks.

    And from my experience, both with shoes and boots I've made as well as those I've worn (I've always worn leather soles even in ice and snow) good leather soles are no more slippery... and maybe less so...than rubber soles of any kind.

    Finding traction is dependent on the interaction between the surface of the outsole and the surface you're walking on. The "nappiness" you mention is a perfect example. It provides many more points of contact than a smooth sole, and will conform to irregular surfaces better than a sole that has no nap. By its nature, it also has a "porosity"...missing in rubber...that grips even ice really well.

    Unfortunately tanneries respond to the manufacturers and the manufacturers do not like the slight (very, very slight) "shagginess" of the oak bark outsole. So tanneries strive for something that will stay smooth--like rubber.

    For instance, Rendenbach outsoles are tanned with Valona--essentially acorn caps--and you'd think they would share the same characteristics as the entirely oak bark Baker outsoles. But the JR outsoles are hard and flinty and will never develop that "nap". In fact, after some wear they tend to become brittle and wear away even faster than ordinary leather.

    And they are, like rubber, slippery on ice.
     


  7. jhcam8

    jhcam8 Senior member

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    Wonderful - too bad you didn't get Dainite. :crackup:
     


  8. kev777

    kev777 Senior member

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    So why does everyone rave about Rendenbach if this is the case? Are J.Rendenbach aware of this ? Why would a shoe repairer say to me when i asked for Rendenbach "great choice!" ? This is now making me rethink my choice for a current recraft i'm about to have done.

    Sorry to post this in the G&G thread maybe this is another topic altogether.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011


  9. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    FWIW and just an observation based upon personal opinion...

    Compared to leather outsoles, all rubber soles are cheaper to produce, far more environmentally toxic/damaging in both the manufacturing process as well as the application and wear, and take almost no skill to mount, finish and/or make presentable.

    Rubber soles are the quickest way I know to cheapen a decent pair of shoes.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011


  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Rendenbach is better than most of the leather being produced world-wide.

    That said, Baker is better, by far, than Rendenbach.

    Rendenbach is considered premium and commands a higher price. Your local shoe repair makes a better profit on it than it does on lower end outsoles. Why wouldn't they "push" it?

    As for everyone "raving"...why does anyone rave about anything? Danite? Saphir? GY construction? Russia calf? Scotch grain? Why do people who've already made the commitment to wear products that are directly derived from the slaughter of animals suddenly get queasy about certain other leathers? Why are they repelled by croc or ostrich?

    People rave because it adds to the din. It's style and brand name cachet and group-think trumping substance.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011


  11. JulianL

    JulianL Well-Known Member

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    Thanks bengal-stripe for educating me regarding the correct terminology, that's most helpful, as are your other comments.

    I had a look at the shoes that I was wearing when I had my minor skid recently and I think I know why my experience differed. I am brutal when it comes to the wear that I seem to put on the heels of my shoes in exactly the area where the rubber section is placed; I wear down that section very quickly so my rubber sections soon wear away enough such that they no longer expose much surface area on the top lift and hence the heels on my shoes fairly quickly tend towards effectively being all leather, at least when my foot is flat on the floor.

    Thanks also Patrick for the "food for thought", and to DFWII for the additional explanation; most interesting and encouraging. My only decision now is whether to wait and see if the extra traction on my oak bark sole obviates the need for an all rubber top lift or whether to specify it for the build. I'll mull it over.

    - Julian
     


  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    A word of caution...not all "oak bark" outsoles actually use oak bark for tanning. Most leather produced in the US for shoes or saddlery are labeled oak bark but in fact use synthetics tanning agents that are supposed to emulate oak bark. They don't. And that, combined with the fact that such tannages go from raw hides to finished product in weeks ...compared to the roughly 12 months that the hides spend in the tanning pits for Baker...only serves to reduce the quality and the resilience of the leather. There are many other barks and bark extracts that are used to produce outsole leather--chestnut, quebracho, valona, even the waste from pulp and paper mills. Nothing compares to real oak especially when it is handled in the old, time consuming, way. AFAIK, no one is doing that except Baker.
     
    Last edited: Sep 15, 2011


  13. JulianL

    JulianL Well-Known Member

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    Very nice, and my cue to ask my next question .... about the Cantebury. It's on my shopping list and I've noticed a difference between the Cantebury being offered by Bespoke England (http://www.bespoke-england.co.uk/products/canterbury-in-black-calf-d-narrow-fit) and the one on the G&G site (picture from listing in "New Designs - 2008" section of the collection):


    [​IMG]


    The difference is that on the Bespoke England pictures (and on Leaves' boot) there is brogueing on both the toecap seam and the horizontal seam running around the boot just below the lowest lace. On the G&G picture only the toecap seam is brogued with the other seam plain. Can I infer from this that the style of the seams is customisable on a MTO boot? I tend to like simplicity so I would want to specify plain (non-brogued) seams for both the horizontal and toecap seams when I order my pair of Canteburys. Is this possible?

    - Julian
     


  14. fritzl

    fritzl Senior member

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    welcome to the mechanics of marketing & sales. sorry, it was a penalty.
     


  15. Nick A

    Nick A Affiliate Vendor

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    A good discreet solution to your concerns. Topy soles.
    [​IMG]
     


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