Reconditioning bespoke shoes

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Kaga, May 10, 2005.

  1. Kaga

    Kaga Senior member

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    If my memory serves me correctly, in England's famed Princes Arcade and in Japan there is a store owned by a man named Saxby, who has collected classics of bespoke clothing for resale to a discerning palate, I mean public. The Japanese website of his store features many examples of beautiful old bespoke shoes from such makers as Maxwell, McAfee and Poulsen Skone.

    Many of these models are justifiably well used. So I have a question to put to you: is there a way for such acquirors of "pre-owned" footwear to have their purchases reconditioned by the makers? IMMSMC many ready-to-wear makers offer such services, but of course in bespoke footwear there is a certain awkwardness to returning footwear likely numbered for the original purchaser for such work.
     


  2. Fashionslave

    Fashionslave Senior member

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    Sounds intriguing-can you post the link?
     


  3. AlanC

    AlanC Minister of Trad

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    I would think a discreet inquiry to the maker would do the trick.
     


  4. Kaga

    Kaga Senior member

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  5. pejsek

    pejsek Senior member

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    Not only might there be a certain akwardness, but Maxwell and McAfee no longer exist except (perhaps) as appendages to other names. I've had a similar question running through my head for a while. Over the past several years I've been lucky enough to acquire a large collection of Henry Maxwell shoes that fit my US 9.5-10 d feet quite nicely. The shoes came from two individuals and were all very well cared for--easy to rotate properly when you have 15-20 pairs. One of these guys, though, looks to have been persuaded in his later years to replace the original leather soles with the kind of lightweight sole you see on things like Rockports. You can't look a gift horse in the eye, of course, so I've just been wearing those pairs as is, say, when it rains. The operation seems to have been done very competently and it has crossed my mind that these lightweight soles may have been cut precisely to fit the shoes, which may be a far better thing than just plunking bespoke shoes down on a standard replacement sole. I do occasionally wonder about restoring these pairs to their full original glory some day, but I'm awfully reluctant to just take them to the local cobbler. Any suggestions?
     


  6. maxnharry

    maxnharry Senior member

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    Does anyone know if Oldhat in England has a website?
     


  7. dah328

    dah328 Senior member

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    Where are you located?
     


  8. RJman

    RJman Posse Member Dubiously Honored

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    Well, Henry Maxwell does exist in a sort of cohabitation at Foster's, the way James and James and Davies and Son or Wells and Johns & Pegg live together and have Siamese-twinned websites. I believe that one can order bespoke shoes made up with the Henry Maxwell or the Fosters name -- as Francis Bown (the bespoke buffoon) attests. Perhaps you and Kaga can pool resources and make an enquiry?
     


  9. shoefan

    shoefan Senior member

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    Maxwell is indeed a part of Foster & Sons; AFAIK, they have remained in business in an uninterrupted fashion, so perhaps the lasts have remained with the business. You could always call and inquire.

    Of course, the problem with this solution is that the cost of having the shoes recrafted on the original last will probably be around $500, if I had to guess.

    If you want the shoes resoled, but they don't need to be rewelted, then any competent shoe repairer should be able to do so without distorting the fit, I should think. If you want them hand-sewn with a channeled sole, drop me a line and perhaps we can figure something out.
     


  10. pejsek

    pejsek Senior member

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    Well thanks for all the responses. I live in San Francisco (which might sound promising for shoe care, but the last place I went to chased me out the door with the words, "Now if you brought some Allen Edmonds in here..."). I suppose one reason I've just been sort of letting this lie is a vague understanding of the real costs that might be involved. Most of the shoes are in very good condition and wouldn't, I think, need to be rewelted. "Hand-sewn with a channeled sole"--Now that sounds like what these shoes might deserve, Lance. Of course I'd also be curious to hear your expert opinion as well. I will drop you a line in the next day or two.
     


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