- Feb 16, 2020
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Great looking shoes.As I left Paris (see Maison Bonnet visit) for Barcelona, I was interested to visit Norman. The experience was great.
At first I dealt primarily with his right hand man, Scott (US expat who’s been working with Norman for years). I also met two assistants one of whom was largely responsible for the bespoke program and the other for finishing. There is at least one other employee who is in charge of internet sales and technology.
Scott explained a lot and I hope I get most of this right. NV offers a wide array of RTW shoes and boots. You walk in the store, and there they are. They look great and are built primarily on a rounded last or a soft chisel. They are all Goodyear welted. NV also offers a MTO program where he will build the shoe you want on the last that you want with the leather that you want and the color that you want. These, too, are Goodyear welted.
And as my luck would have it, they are rolling out a new product. I can’t remember the name but it is four numerical digits. It is a semi-bespoke product. It is a completely hand-welted and hand-lasted shoe. As my left foot was a great fit for their soft chiseled last (NV looked for gapes, leather wrinkles, vamp closure, etc.) we went with that. Because my right foot is a bit smaller, he’s adding a leather insert to compensate for the size difference. These shoes all can be made with a fiddle-waist or single fiddle (where only the inside half is a fiddle). They can add toe taps. While you can start with tanned leather, the majority of clients choose crust leather that they can color any way that you want. The heel is no longer square as he has moved to a shape that continues the curve of the back quarters. And speaking of back quarters, NV uses an asymmetrical pattern which allows him to avoid the stitch that runs up the back of most shoes. I went with a dark brown cap toe with a simple brogue.
And almost as important as the shoe, Scott and NV were great. NV and I share a favorite soccer team, Boca Juniors, (sorry, @George Red) and we spent some time talking about where he grew up in southern Argentina as I’ve spent some time there myself. Super cool guy. And Scott was not only intimately knowledgeable about the shoes, he was very congenial. We’d both pay a lot right now for a proper burrito!
Finally, NV is having a trunk show with Leffot in NYC right now. I’d go check it out in an instant. The product is great and the knowledge imparted is invaluable.
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