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Graziat Taipei - Ongoing Review and Impressions

ecachiang

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Having read about Graziat Taipei on theshoesnobblog here, I knew that I would have to pay Graziat a visit next time I passed by Taipei. Not only was I extremely impressed with their offerings, but also bought one of their hand-welted adelaides on the spot. As English information on Graziat is sparce online, I wanted to share my ongoing experience ordering from them.

Overview and First Impressions
Graziat is a Taiwan based shoemaker who makes parts of their shoes in both Shanghai and Taipei. I walked into Graziat on a humid Summer afternoon and was greeted warmly by Wilbur Tu, founder, designer, and patina artist of the brand. Immediately, I was struck by the sharp chiseled toes on many of their lasts and the daring patina used - while common on shoes from Europe (think Bontoni, Berluti, etc.), it definitely wasn't something I expected to see in a quiet shop in central Taipei.
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While Graziat has produced blake-stitched shoes in the past (ex: their previous Adelaide collection), the whole-cut Oxford and Adelaide that I tried on during the visit were both handwelted with a beautiful fiddleback. Not that I have a ton of experience with luxury shoes, but the stitches were very tight, the fiddleback beautifully done, and the patina work just stunning.
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Lasts and Fitting
As an Asian with wide feet and a high instep, I have always been cautious in buying oxfords - as I like the gap between the laces to be minimal, finding the right last for my feet is crucial without going full on bespoke. I first tried on The Shallow, a whole-cut Oxford in their G-1 last that has a beautiful chiseled last and very good arch support. Though the laces didn't close completely (around 0.8mm of gap due to my high instep), it was acceptable to me. The width was EE and fit my flat feet well.
I was particularly enamoured with the shoe in this beautiful cloudy green patina - if only I had the courage to wear this to work!
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Impressive as the whole-cut was, I wanted to go with an Adelaide to fill a gaping hole in my shoe wardrobe. The one I tried on was in this beautiful midnight blue with a handwelted construction in the 1122 last.
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Compared to the G1 last on the whole-cut oxfords, the 1122 last felt a little tighter all around and the toe box is slightly smaller. When I first put them on, I was afraid that they might not fit my wide feet well. To my surprise, the last was perfect for me - the EE width fit my wide feet, the toe box was acceptable as my toes aren't too fat, and most importantly, the instep was just the right height for my feet to fit. The laces closed almost perfectly on the first try. I walked around the store in the shoes for around 20 minutes and while it was a snug fit, it did not feel uncomfortable at all and the shoe grew on me more and more.

Customisation and Ordering
Having established that I wanted to order the Adelaide, Wilbur and I sat down for the next 30 minutes going over how I wanted my patina on my shoes. I wasn't a big fan of how they accentuated the brogues on the Adelaides by making them a darker shade (as below), and wanted a more subtle patina in burgundy.
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I wanted a darker colour burgundy with a misty/cloudy/museum calf effect that would look burgundy indoors and only showed its patina under direct sunlight. An effect not too dissimilar to the misty feel of the Chelsea boots and whole-cut Oxford shown in the below picture, but in a more subtle way. Wilbur was very patient in understanding my requests and constantly showed me photos of past shoes to make sure we were both on the same page. He often pointed to particular areas of shoes' pictures and asked if that shade of color was what I was aiming for.

The only other customisations I did to my shoes were that I wanted a toe plate (US$30 extra) and also customised the height of the heel. I paid US$770 for the shoes, US$30 for the toe plate, and US$120 for the lasted shoe trees. My only complaint is the high price of the shoe trees - at the price point, I had hoped that they would be part of the package, but alas, that was not to be. Overall, I came away from the experience very satisfied with the level of conversation and ordered my shoes then and there.
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Ordering Time and Ongoing Communications
Wilbur promised that the shoes would take around 4 weeks to arrive, and Graziat would contact me over that period with pictures of the making of my shoes, and ask if I had any feedback - particularly on the patina work and whether it met my expectations. I will continue updating this thread throughout the next few weeks to share my experiences. For now, I hope that this could give some insight on a relatively obscure brand making amazing stuff in Taiwan.

Pictures from Graziat's facebook page, used with permission.
 

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Andrew0409

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Wow, I have to check them out when I’m back in Taipei for the summer. Unfortunately I’m in Italy right now and I can’t go to Taipei unless I do a 2 week quarantine.
 

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