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Shoe questions

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by mack, Jan 11, 2004.

  1. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Yesterday must have been Norwegian vamp day (no, they are not seductive females from northern Europe); as I got my Edward Green "Hallifax" boots yesterday as well. They were my first venture into special order territory (only one step down from bespoke).

    The boots turned out as I had hoped and look very nice indeed. They also were ready more or less in the promised time: "about 3 month"; they took 3 ½ with Christmas and New Year in between. While I'm writing this, I ogle fondly down at them (wearing them around the house, but as the weather is absolutely foul, they won't get an outing today.)

    Jcusey: I assume both your new EG "Dover" and your JMW "637" fit equally well, which size did you get in either shoe? Weston shoes are not available here in England and I've never been to one of their French stores. But whenever I've come across the odd pair in a thrift shop or so, their sizing struck me as absolutely weird and way out (running about a whole sizes larger than comparable English shoes).
     
  2. TimelessRider

    TimelessRider Senior member

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    Congratulations. Can you post pics?
    bengal-stripe: I hope to order the exact same boot when EG visits New York in a couple of weeks. It'll be my first pair of EGs. Very exciting. What combination of last/leather/sole did you get?
     
  3. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    I'm glad to hear that they turned out well and that you got them in a reasonable amount of time. I've been e-mailing the Burlington Arcade store, and I'm probably going to deal with them for special orders from now on, both for the price and because it seems that they get the attention of the factory more readily for special orders than the American retailers do. I'm thinking about doing the Stowe (the asymetric monk strap that they did for Ralph Lauren a couple of years ago) next. And I'm with you: I wouldn't go tromping around in foul weather in my brand new $800 boots, no matter what jrh says. [​IMG]
    I've only ever tried on three different Weston models (the 180 Signature Loafer, the 598 demi-chasse, and the 637 demi-chasse), so I'm hardly an expert. However, those three shoes were enough to confuse me completely. I'm an American 10 D, which translates pretty well into EG 9 1/2 E. The 180 loafers that fit me the best were marked 8 1/2 D. My 598 split toes are 9 1/2 Ds. The box for my 637 split toes says that they're 9 1/2 Ds, but the shoes themselves are marked as 9/ Ds. I don't know if that / is supposed to be a half and the Weston people just got lazy or what. In any event, based on what experience I do have, it seems that there is much more size variation in JM Weston lasts than there is in the lasts of other major manufacturers.
     
  4. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    The shoes arrived today, and I have to say that they're even nicer than the pictures would indicate.
    Congratulations. Can you post pics?
    Alas, I don't have a digital camera, and I spent all my money on the shoes. [​IMG] Seriously, I've been researching the camera, which means that I'll probably buy one here before too long. If and when I do, I'll post pictures.
     
  5. jrh

    jrh Well-Known Member

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    The Halifax is a great boot.  Not getting it wet is like the owner of a retriever show dog who is afraid to let it swim.

    Or the cooped-up chicken with no character.  The free-range bird has much more taste.

    Be protective of such a great boot, but let it be what it is.

    I must let you know that I understand your reluctance. Several years ago I special ordered a Weston spilt toe boot (semilar to demi chasse, but a boot). I made it up in the all weather leather commonly seen on the golf shoe, with storm welt, and rubber soles. I was assured by Weston, it was a field boot and worthy of such use and abuse. It took me a while before I let the boots get muddy. They are now my stormy day town boots.

    Likewise, I haven't had the nerve to get my Hunt Derby blucher wet and have owned this historic hunting shoe for 2 years. I think it is time to let them become free range.
     
  6. TimelessRider

    TimelessRider Senior member

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    Yes the "/" denotes a half-size. Sometimes on the sole they have a "-" to denote a half-size.
     
  7. T4phage

    T4phage Senior member

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    Originally posted by jcusey:
    You're most welcome.  Very nice shoes aren't they.  Very slim waisted too.  I would love for Bengal-Stripe to see the waist and how the shoe is lasted since you can see the welt from toe to waist, then it disappears into the shaping/narrowness of the waist.  They also seem to use a different shoebag for these, grey instead of yellow.

    Now all I have to do is to wait a few more weeks 'til my Perry's arrive.

    Did you order the standard pair, not a special order?  That would explain why yours has come so quickly..

    By the way, the / does mean a half.

    Originally posted by Bengal-Stripe:
    Very nice looking shoes Bengal-Stripe, what type of leather did you get? How about the exterior welting?

    As for sizing, in Green 606 I take a 8.5 E, 202 I take a 8.5 F, and in Weston 8.5 E. My one RTW Cleverley is an 8.5 E
     
  8. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    They were indeed a standard pair. I don't know enough about the lasts that Weston uses, the leathers they offer, and the styling possibilities that exist to justify the wait, the hassel, and the 20% surcharge of a special order.

    I love the waist. It's somewhat similar to the John Lobb Paris "beveled bootmaker" waist, although the bowing is not as pronounced on the Weston as on the Lobb. I wish that the welt extended all the way to the edge of the sole, and I wish that they had done a better job of closing the channel on the sole; but they're excellent shoes nonetheless. I think that bengal-stripe would approve, although he would probably still be partial to Edward Green.

    Have you ever seen the Perry 632 monkstrap? If so, what do you think?

    Waiting for special order shoes has helped to build my character and ameliorate my inborn impatience.
     
  9. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    My "Hallifax" are in mahogany country calf, last 808, with a double leather sole, narrowly cut; set-in iron on toe, and  "Ralph Lauren Special" heels (straight rubber edge and lots of brass nails). The overall look is a very elegant town boot not the country look featured in the catalogue.

    I have no problems with shoes becoming wet, but you are supposed to start wearing new leather soles in dry conditions, for the fibres to compress and the pores to collect grit and dust. That's what all the guidelines about shoe-care say. Who am I to argue?

    I can only recommend dealing with the London shop. They are very accommodating and allow you to change the details as you please. All right they probably will not make a new pattern for you, but if you like the "Stowe" with a medallion, a toecap, or an additional row of broguing they will do it. I once discovered a (Japanese, of course) site with EG special orders where they had at least 3 variations on the "Stowe". I never saved, only book marked, the site and it's gone now.

    The enigma of JMW's lasts continues. EG size 8 E fits nicely in the circumference, but is a touch too short in the toe. I look now for 8 ½ D, that just gives a bit (4 mm) of extra length. A few weeks ago I saw a (second hand) pair of JMW signature loafers, size 6 ½ D. Normally I would never bother with that size, but as they looked big, so I tried them on. I could get in, but they were too short in the toe, but the width was fine. I would have needed them a whole size (8 mm) longer, but not wider: i.e. 7 ½ B. Strange. Maybe the loafers are made on an entirely different last to the dress shoes.

    Definitely this spring I will go to Paris (if it's only for the day on the Eurostar train) and check out all the shoes, which are not available in London: J M Weston, Aubercy, Corthay and Albaladejo. I'll report back here.
     
  10. TimelessRider

    TimelessRider Senior member

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    Please explain "narrowly cut".
    Yes the signature loafers are made on a much larger last. The general conversion from American size to Weston loafer size is to subtract 1.5, and keep the width identical. Actually, some of the boxes in the NYC store are labelled with both Weston and US sizes this way. I'm a 9E or 9EE American, which means my loafer size will be 7.5E or 7.5F. From actually trying this shoe on, 7.5E was the best fit.

    For dress shoes (e.g style 600 - cap toe balmoral), I believe the conversion is to subract 0.5 and keep the width identical.

    So if you're a 8.5D in EG, that probably means 9C in US, and 7.5C in Weston loafers.. Of course, this is merely speculation and until you try on a pair you'll nver know for sure.
     
  11. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    A narrowly cut sole does not, or extends very little, beyond the sidewalls of the shoe. Unlike the Lattanzi shoes, which you have posted earlier: here the sole extends maybe ¼" all round the shoe.

    Quite a few Italian makers use an extended sole as a design feature. Equally many English and American shoes employ a storm welt or split reverse welt for their heavier shoes. Here a leather strip is fitted to prevent water penetration. That strip needs to be accommodated and the sole will be wider.

    One of the quality signs of an elegant shoe is that you cannot see the sole if you look straight from above at the shoe.

    Thanks for the information on the Westons, when I get to Paris I will established my size.
     
  12. jrh

    jrh Well-Known Member

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    Bengal-stripe I have no basis for rebuttal.  Just wondering about:  "... for the fibres to compress and the pores to collect grit and dust.... I condition  new shoes and boots before wearing them, and directly after determining they fit properly.  This is to preserve the new leather from the impacts of the elements on the first spin around the block; particulary to prevent the pores from collecting grit and dust. Perhaps a different situation and not he same type of boot, but with heavy field boots many guys soak the boot in water and wear it until dry.  I must admit that the boot manufacter doesn't suggest this.  Not the gentle touch and I have never done it. I also must admit that wearing a new fine new shoe or boot (such as EGs or JMWs) in the rain the first couple of days is for the insensitive person.  Enjoying the new master piece should be savored at first.  Even taking tender care such as first wearing new shoes in dry conditions.
     
  13. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    That thing about compressing the fibres and having grit work its way in, refers to new leather soles, and the soles only, not the uppers. Here is a section that I've lifted from Oliver Sweeney's web site:

    6. Grit your shoes
    Try not to take your new shoes for a walk in the rain on day one. Far better to wear them in the dry, and ensure a layer of grit works its way into the sole leather. This acts as a protective shield, and makes sure the soles last longer.

    Actually today is rather a nice morning here in London, the shoes will be taken out for a walk later today.
     
  14. jrh

    jrh Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the clarification.

    As a young guy purchasing my first Edward Green's leather soled shoes Paul Stuart (too many years ago), I was advised by the sales woman to drag the new slick and slippery soles against the street curb to prevent me from falling on my head.  (The abrasive NYC method.) These days I look for some sand in the street gutter to break in my new leather soles.  Same principle as you are suggesting.

    A bruttle concept, for new shoes that are such a piece of fine craftmanship.  However, good for both the shoes and your head.  On the otherhand, when I worked in Manhatten in the 1980s many people had office shoes that never saw the outside, only the carperted office floors.  The soles always were slick and so were the fashions of those Junk Bond years.
     
  15. T4phage

    T4phage Senior member

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    Originally posted by jcusey:
    I think it was unfair that you were charged an additional 20% for a stock shoe that they did not have in the store. You mentioned that you did not do any modification, so there should have been no charge. Contact the main Weston office in the U.S or France and file a complaint. [​IMG] I had to pay an extra 20% because the shoe I wanted was only special order, plus I had a steel tip put in. As for the welt not extending to the sole, apparently that was a design feature specified by Perry (this according to the manageress in Antwerp). The Perry monk is also very very nice. Same toe and waist shape. The striking feature is the large buckle, which in my eyes lends it a casual air. Somehow the movie "Pirates of the Carribbian" pops into my head. I would have bought the monk too except I have too many casual shoes.
     
  16. jcusey

    jcusey Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    That's not what I meant at all. I paid normal retail price for the shoes. All I meant is that is that if I had put in a special order, it would have been a waste of money due to my ignorance of the possibilities available.
     
  17. T4phage

    T4phage Senior member

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    Originally posted by jcusey:
    Oh, okay. Myriad possibilities for customisation for Westons. My Weston special orders: a demi-chasse done in brown kidskin, my Perry's are done in med. brown kidskin (plus metal tip), croco signature loafers in brown croco. Thinking about the Perry chelsea boots in brown boxcalf with ridgeway soles.

    Most of the time the added cost is about 20% extra except for the more exotic skins.
     
  18. jrh

    jrh Well-Known Member

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    For what it is worth:

    When I first bought shoes at JM Weston (15 years ago), when the NY store was on 57th Street the customer service was very good and accommadating. Shoe strings and wax were gatice. They even through in shoe trees once or twice. They offered to change heal inserts on ready made shoes from steel to rubber and place steel inserts in the sole tips without charge

    The guys in the store changed shortly after they moved to Madison Avenue. I bought two pairs of shoes (one being the Hunt Derby) about two years ago. An attitude change had taken place in the store. They were not very accomadating and nickle and dimed me for laces. I am a big fan of JMW shoes, but franky their arrogant attitude is getting in the way.

    In contrast Edward Green sends extra laces, heals, and wax without charge to me. It seems EG has a Can I Serve You approach without bleeding the customer.
     
  19. TimelessRider

    TimelessRider Senior member

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    I can't comment on how the service used to be in the NYC store since I've been going there for less than a year, but I can say that they were definitely not arrogant. They were actually polite to the point of obsequiousness, offering coffee/water at every trip, and spent a lot of time trying several different sizes to get the best fit. They were equally accomodating when I went to exchange a pair I decided I didn't like.

    Having said that, I did get the impression that they were trying too hard to sell multiple pairs, which wasn't enjoyable. I also didn't ask or expect any extras, but I can see where if you're used to that level of service, anything else would be inadmissible.
     
  20. Cpal

    Cpal Well-Known Member

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    What's the general price range for Westons? My general assumption is that they are a little pricier than E. Greens - is that accurate? If so, what is the "value added" in your opinions? [I guess general style would be a factor but I was under the impression also that there is more handwork done on the Weston?]

    Thanks.
     

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