Need info on "Cats Paw" sole on thrifted Fred Norton, made in England shoes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Britexpat, Aug 6, 2011.

  1. Britexpat

    Britexpat Well-Known Member

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    Hi

    I just picked up in a thirft store a pair of mens dress shoes with a Cats Paw sole. The shoes are benchmade from Fred Norton, Irthlingborough, Northampton, England.

    On the sole it says "Cats Paw" but there seems to be screw holes or rivet holes scattered across the sole. Is this for perhaps winter walking or has the previous owner converted these dress shoes to "golf shoes?"

    Any info would be appreciated

    C
     
  2. Marcellionheart

    Marcellionheart Senior member

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    Cat's Paws were like an old sort of topy, really.
     
  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Not really. Cat's Paw was/is a well-known and respected brand of rubber product for shoe repair and shoemaking. They do make a Topy analogue...which I think is actually better than Topy...but they also made a full range of heels and outsoling.

    At one time, Cat's Paw was the one of the most prevalent and iconic brands.

    It's kind of funny...years ago when people in the Trade got together, casually and joking around, it was almost a secret code--you'd make a flat fist to resemble the cats' paw below and swipe it through the air with a short "meow." And then everybody who was in the know would say "Cat's Paw!"

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
  4. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    C.P. was a great brand of rubber. As far as I know they have been defunct for about 20 years now.
    I heard mention that an Oriental company bought the name and is attempting to resurrect the brand. We'll see....
     
  5. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Nick,

    I mostly use leather for outsoles and Vibram for heels, but I just got a large sheet of Cat's Paw sole guard. Is it old stock? I doesn't feel like it's old...doesn't have that dry, UV oxidized surface.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2011
  6. Nick V.

    Nick V. Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    DWFII--

    I just confirmed this with my main supplier. Most of it you probably already knew:

    Decades ago their were a few large rubber companies manufacturing for the shoe repair industry. Cat's Paw and Biltrite were among the largest.
    About 25 years ago Biltrite bought out Cat's Paw. About 10 years later, Quabaug (they manufacture for Vibram) bought out Biltrite. Quabaug has been manufacturing sole guards with the Cat's Paw name. So, as you know, the sheet you recently purchased is fresh stock.
    I just learned that in October, Quabaug will stop making that sheet with Cat's Paws name on it.
     
  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I knew Quabaug had bought out Biltrite. I used to get a two layer 18 iron sheet heel material from Biltrite. It was exactly the same thickness as a cowboy heel and had a thin, harder, layer bonded to the underside such that you could seat a nail on it and it wouldn't pull through. You could cut any size heel you wanted and it wore well. When Quabaug bought Biltrite they quickly moved to discontinue that product.

    I think Quabaug has a sole guard they make under the Vibram name. I have used it once or twice...it's a little more resilient than the Topy but harder than the Cat's Paw. Fortunately, I use so little of the sole guard, this sheet will probably last me the rest of my life.
     
  8. Jaygatsby28

    Jaygatsby28 Senior member

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    Nick,

    Figured this might fit under this thread. In the picture, are these taps extinct as well? Or are they part of the Cats Paw heel? I took this photo from ACL article from Monday: looks like a shop in Japan called Brass Tokyo puts them on their re-sole jobs.

    Are you able to get your hands on them? If so, I'd be interested.

    Thanks.

    [​IMG]
     
  9. KountyKobbler

    KountyKobbler New Member

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    Odds are they were rebuilt with Cats paw brand half soles the little bumps are where clinch nails are used to anchor the shank at a splice between old and new soles I've rebuilt shoes for the past 35 years in Western Ky USA and Cats paw products are still available from my wholesaler mainly sheet goods and toplifts for women's heels the washered heels were well known for the twin grip wear indicators two white circles on the outside aspect of the bottom of the heel when you wear out the white insert its time to replace the heel before you loose the shape of the upper of the shoe American Builtright at one time bought out Cats Paw rights and I'm not sure if they totally dropped the line since its still in suppily and i haven't seen any dry rot in the rubber goods
     
  10. MyOtherLife

    MyOtherLife Senior member

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    A lot of my older shoes have Biltrite Heel pads and a few pair have Cats Paws. They are (were?) excellent product but the Cats Paw are so cool looking. I hope they are resurrected.
     
  11. KountyKobbler

    KountyKobbler New Member

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    [FONT=arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif]That pattern & amber color was orignaly the pattern used by goodyear on their chemigum sole intended for work boots and some work dress shoes was on lots of red wing shoes the cats paw picked up the design as a chevron brand name the stitch pattern appears to be both an outsole stitch and a mckay stitch er use the mckay is inside the shoe thru the mid-sole while the out sole stitch is either thru a mid-sole or a welt depending how the upper style was built [/FONT] [FONT=arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif]The secondary middle of the sole stitch is the belt and suspenders idea that is if they used lower quality cements it helps hold the sole as the bond between gets weaker their are some logical reasons for that type of extra work if the shoe are used in areas where they get overly heated like a foundry area where the cements bond is compromised till it cools and re-bonds would keep the sole inline or someone that works a t a fueling station where occasional spills would act as a solvent to break the glue bond between the upper and sole Other secondary sole companies make a look like this sole The original chemigum sole had a n excellent durometer (wear factor) it was a bit slicker than [/FONT] [FONT=arial, helvetica, clean, sans-serif]The secondary middle of the sole stitch is the belt and suspenders idea that is if they used lower quality cements it helps hold the sole as the bond between gets weaker their are some logical reasons for that type of extra work if the shoe are used in areas where they get overly heated like a foundry area where the cements bond is compromised till it cools and re-bonds would keep the sole inline or someone that works a t a fueling station where occasional spills would act as a solvent to break the glue bond between the upper and sole Other secondary sole companies make a look like this sole The original chemigum sole had a n excellent durometer (wear factor) it was a bit slicker than Neoprene [/FONT] but stands up to gasoline and desil fuels mixed while Neoprene tends to break down with that blend they stand either single chemical fine but not that mix/​
     

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