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HESCHUNG SHOEMAKERS AT PITTI UOMO 86

Synthese

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HESCHUNG SHOEMAKERS AT PITTI UOMO 86 (AND 85)



Words and pictures by Jasper L



Heschung isn’t exactly an unknown quantity. They’re an old, respected brand, they’ve done collaborations with forum darling Yuketen, and they’re carried by forum affiliate (and favorite) No Man Walks Alone. That’s great and everything, but I was sitting at my computer thinking “What the hell can I really say about Norwegian welts?” and at first, I was having trouble thinking of anything. Well, I can tell you that it’s a technique originally used for waterproofing heavy-duty mountain boots - which is, coincidentally, how Heschung got started, up in Alsace, which is currently in Northern France (this has not always been the case). But it’s probably more interesting and informative if you read about stuff like welting elsewhere - or maybe not, considering how dry people manage to make subjects like shoemaking.

Instead, let’s talk about linguistics. Heschung is from Alsace, where they speak (surprise!) Alsatian, which is (surprise!) in decline - even though a relatively large number of people still speak it - and French nationalism, linguistic and otherwise, is a prickly subject. Alsatian, like many other regional languages in France and elsewhere, has faced something of a crise over the last couple of centuries: globalization demands homogenization and modernization, and Heschung, to an extent, is a physical nod to those particular tensions: how do you stay true to your roots while ensuring your relevance?

Well, it’s a skill. Most of Heschung’s offerings comprise the “classic” shapes: a reverse welt, a heavy sole, and an upper made of leather tanned in France or Italy. The shoes are put together in France, with a few of the women’s models making their way into Tuscany for production. The end result is fairly removed from the ski boots that Heschung were making in the fifties and sixties, but the emphasis is still on utility - even when you’re looking at a shoe done up in pink suede. Largely, it’s the boots that I find most impressive. They’re certainly not for everyone - the classics would never be labeled “sleek” - but they have a real old-world charm that I’m not sure I would call “timeless” so much as “unapologetic.”

There’s a contemporary line of shoes as well, which shows off ideas like sneakers and the slim, modern boots to which I am very particular. I’m not entirely sure where they draw the line between “classic” and “contemporary,” which is probably a good thing - even if the new releases don’t have the reverse-welt of their classic forebears, they still use the same high-quality leather and they’re still blake-stitched. If the classic styles are the ones you’d wear to tromp through the Massif des Vosges, the contemporary shoes are what you might throw in your weekender if you’re headed to the Opera in Strasbourg.

To continue our tenuous linguistic metaphor, Heschung’s creations have a real sense of both fluency and fluidity to them. Mixed materials are common, and many models are inspired by outdoor gear that has been adapted for daily use. It’s that fluency - by which I mean ability to refashion yourself and communicate successfully in response to a linguistic otherness - that seems to define the collection. In fact, one suggestion for the etymology of “Alsace” is that it comes from the Old High German for “foreign domain.” In the case of Heschung, I like that particular theory. It seats the brand as something of an outsider - even if in today's linguistic landscape they are entirely French - forced to adapt itself to the language of the world around it, while holding onto its regional identity. Success? Ja.































 
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Gus

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Ten years ago, before leaving to live in Paris for a month, a US based French friend suggested that I try Heschung shoes. He described them as stylish, very comfortable and a very good value. He bought a pair on every trip back to France. While in Paris i visited three different Heschung stores. I enjoyed that each had it's own look and style reflecting the neighborhood. One was more classic dressy while another was very street-smart style and cool. The third was a mix.

I found the most comfortable pair of waterproofed dark suede, rubber soled wingtips. I wore the hell out of those shoes because the looked great with everything and were so comfortable.

Although they produce "dress" shoes, I think their strength is in rubber soled shoes with leather uppers. They seem to have fewer classic country walking shoes these days and look a bit more street cool. Either way, many will mix well with grey flannels for a relaxed style. Just the thing for sitting at a cafe as you sip your latte or zip up your leather jacket.

Glad to see NMWA is bringing some cool, more interesting looks. Until now Barney's had them but they were all rather plain.
 

LA Guy

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Will Kop. Heschung does mixed materials very well.


Also, it straddles the fine and rugged extremely well. The Malko boot and the Genet chukka are prime examples. The finishing is more refined than the more country oriented Northampton boots, but are more casual and rugged than the more "city" brands.

The Atelier Heschung line reads like Visvim by way of France - less whimsical, more straightforward, modern takes on traditional shapes like hiking boots and hunting moccasins.
 

Fycus

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Will Kop. Heschung does mixed materials very well.


Also, it straddles the fine and rugged extremely well. The Malko boot and the Genet chukka are prime examples. The finishing is more refined than the more country oriented Northampton boots, but are more casual and rugged than the more "city" brands.

The Atelier Heschung line reads like Visvim by way of France - less whimsical, more straightforward, modern takes on traditional shapes like hiking boots and hunting moccasins.

The footwear is far too sterile for me. Slim lasts, shiny materials all give out a formal vibe but the colorways and silhouettes are decidedly casual. It doesn't quite strike a note like the formal footwear which demands a similar price (trickers, sanders, some ae), and would be too hard to dress down. Huge swing and a miss from me. The oamc collab utter failure also indicate the market responded in a similar manner, they can try to do multiple things but none are done particularly well.
 
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ManofKent

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Nice article as usual. Not a brand I'm familiar with, and I'm not sure I'm tempted, but I'm glad they're still going.
 

LA Guy

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The footwear is far too sterile for me. Slim lasts, shiny materials all give out a formal vibe but the colorways and silhouettes are decidedly casual. It doesn't quite strike a note like the formal footwear which demands a similar price (trickers, sanders, some ae), and would be too hard to dress down. Huge swing and a miss from me. The oamc collab utter failure also indicate the market responded in a similar manner, they can try to do multiple things but none are done particularly well.

Google the Cultizm styling. The boots can go perfectly with jeans, for example. A lot of good use of suede, wool, and other decidedly rugged materials, as well as lots of chunky lasts. Having plenty of those other brands, particularly Trickers, I find muscle reaching for my Suede Malkos instead.

Also, financial failure is not always an indication of anything but where the market adoption is at. I can name lots of brands that are a success now that had problems catching on, from Vass to Engineered Garments to Carmina.

That said, there are definitely misses. Some of the stuff looks great, but some can be clumsy.
 
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Gus

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The photos in the article are a bit edgy and from a trade show where most brands like to display how far they can take their aesthetic. However if you look at the following two photos from the No Man Walks Alone website, I think you will see another perspective of Heschung shoes/boots. I find these to be quite wearable and stylish.



 
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Dieg0

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HESCHUNG SHOEMAKERS AT PITTI UOMO 86 (AND 85)

Words and pictures by Jasper L



Heschung isn’t exactly an unknown quantity. They’re an old, respected brand, they’ve done collaborations with forum darling Yuketen, and they’re carried by forum affiliate (and favorite) No Man Walks Alone. That’s great and everything, but I was sitting at my computer thinking “What the hell can I really say about Norwegian welts?” and at first, I was having trouble thinking of anything. Well, I can tell you that it’s a technique originally used for waterproofing heavy-duty mountain boots - which is, coincidentally, how Heschung got started, up in Alsace, which is currently in Northern France (this has not always been the case). But it’s probably more interesting and informative if you read about stuff like welting elsewhere - or maybe not, considering how dry people manage to make subjects like shoemaking.

Instead, let’s talk about linguistics. Heschung is from Alsace, where they speak (surprise!) Alsatian, which is (surprise!) in decline - even though a relatively large number of people still speak it - and French nationalism, linguistic and otherwise, is a prickly subject. Alsatian, like many other regional languages in France and elsewhere, has faced something of a crise over the last couple of centuries: globalization demands homogenization and modernization, and Heschung, to an extent, is a physical nod to those particular tensions: how do you stay true to your roots while ensuring your relevance?

Well, it’s a skill. Most of Heschung’s offerings comprise the “classic” shapes: a reverse welt, a heavy sole, and an upper made of leather tanned in France or Italy. The shoes are put together in France, with a few of the women’s models making their way into Tuscany for production. The end result is fairly removed from the ski boots that Heschung were making in the fifties and sixties, but the emphasis is still on utility - even when you’re looking at a shoe done up in pink suede. Largely, it’s the boots that I find most impressive. They’re certainly not for everyone - the classics would never be labeled “sleek” - but they have a real old-world charm that I’m not sure I would call “timeless” so much as “unapologetic.”

There’s a contemporary line of shoes as well, which shows off ideas like sneakers and the slim, modern boots to which I am very particular. I’m not entirely sure where they draw the line between “classic” and “contemporary,” which is probably a good thing - even if the new releases don’t have the reverse-welt of their classic forebears, they still use the same high-quality leather and they’re still blake-stitched. If the classic styles are the ones you’d wear to tromp through the Massif des Vosges, the contemporary shoes are what you might throw in your weekender if you’re headed to the Opera in Strasbourg.

To continue our tenuous linguistic metaphor, Heschung’s creations have a real sense of both fluency and fluidity to them. Mixed materials are common, and many models are inspired by outdoor gear that has been adapted for daily use. It’s that fluency - by which I mean ability to refashion yourself and communicate successfully in response to a linguistic otherness - that seems to define the collection. In fact, one suggestion for the etymology of “Alsace” is that it comes from the Old High German for “foreign domain.” In the case of Heschung, I like that particular theory. It seats the brand as something of an outsider - even if in today's linguistic landscape they are entirely French - forced to adapt itself to the language of the world around it, while holding onto its regional identity. Success? Ja.





































Are you sure about them made in France? I thought Heschung delocalized to eastern europe, only their collection "Atelier" being made in France.​
 
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Synthese

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Are you sure about them made in France? I thought Heschung delocalized to eastern europe, only their collection "Atelier" being made in France.​

Sorry, yes, they do also produce in Hungary. To my knowledge, the Atelier collection is made in France, but I don't know if that's the only line made in l'hexagone, or what the ratio of shoes to production areas is.
 

gdl203

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Not just the Atelier line. AFAIK, a lot of the Norwegian welted footwear is made in Alsace, while most of the goodyear and other constructions are made in Hungary.
 

Bryer Leather

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I love the quality and the feel of these! It's always amazing what you can do when you work with your hands. I continue to strive to create great products that keep craftsmanship and traditional principles at heart, it really surpasses mass production with everything: quality, feel, look and even durability. Thanks for sharing!
 

DuckOB

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I tried some on last year, great boots and materials. I just needed a half size and only full sizes were available. I hope to get to a store that carries them one day and dial in the right size

Bryer. Nice stuff in your shop. I like that camera strap
 

Gus

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I tried the boots and chukkas (shown above) on yesterday in San Francisco. They are both available in half sizes. I found both of them to be an easy, comfortable fit. I usually need a roomy 10.5 or an 11US and both of these in their EU size 9.5 were an ideal fit.
 

Kochegar

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This thread seems dead, but I haven't found a proper Heschung thread at Styleforum, so I will post it here.
I have recently bought Genet chukkas from Heschung.

Firstly I saw them in internet I thought they were too bulky, but in real life they look really balanced with this round toe, at least for casual shoes. They are built on the last called "Odeon".
I think these boots are true to size or may are slightly big. The last is comfortable and have enough room to accommodate my feet)
Boots are made from dark brown suede of good quality ( "Hydrovelours"). This type of suede is water-resistant according to Heschung's website.
These boots have crepe soles of black color opposite to milky crepe on Clark's or Sanders. As I was told in the shop, this crepe goes through treatment and is more wear-resistant and sturdy.
The soles provide very good cushioning for welted shoes. The tongue is light padded. I don't know whether these are made in France or Hungary (Heschung has two factories) as it is stated "made in EU".
The only thing I want to complain is number of eyelets : only two. Little bit hard to lace the shoes tightly. Otherwise great and very COMFORTABLE shoes. Looks like Heschung makes shoes for walking)
 

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