Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by DWFII, Aug 23, 2014.
That upper leather looks very thin...
Rick Roman--Romango Shoes, IIRC. Not sure Craig Corvin is still working but a good choice if he is.
In the Midwest, by chance, could you name a few in or around Minnesota?
I spent my teen-age years in Minnesota. I rack my brains but cannot come up with any names for you.
The problem is that we don't value quality in the US ...we value cheap and fast --"Americans know the price of everything and the value of nothing."
So there's little incentive to be a bespoke shoemaker. There's no money in it simply because there's no interest in bespoke ("not at those prices!")
And even if there were, we are so fixated on cheap and fast that there's no real support industry, to speak of.
I got into the Trade through making bespoke boots--cowboy boots. Oddly enough there is (or was) a market / demand for bespoke boots. It's part of the Western culture and lifestyle.
But even there, the lack of grinderies and other sources of supplies prefigures a long slow decline for those making bespoke boots. And the manufacturing sector...as with mass manufactured shoes even in Europe...is moving overseas where wages and materials cost less. And not too surprisingly, all the subsidiary industries follow.
edited for punctuation and clarity
and especially of
it is more about
(and a 'me too'
fitting in with
and that trumps
at least this
part of sf
has not yet
level of the
of leather and
use of iron nails
are lauded for
giving a desired
well north of
Thanks DWFII and Chogall. I'll start with the names provided. If you do recall anyone in the midwest, please shoot it to me.
Yr. Hmb. Svt.
Thanks DW. I think Vass does not use that fabric anymore in any of its shoes. It is very rare.
i love how we are able to discuss the true quality of shoes, but in the end there are only a few things that matter, with the most important being what the customer wants. if they are well informed on the differences between their options, it them comes to them to make the final decision. the problem is that many are not well informed at all.
For some people bespoke is the only way and is above all else. For many it is too much and a higher end GYW is enough for what they wear them for or they may not care anyway. As long as they know the difference like we discuss on SF, it comes down to if they really care about shoes like we do. For many people, AE is enough because that is what they can afford and they want something comfortable and the last that they choose may fit them well.
unfortunately, there are many who can't afford shoes over $300. Yes I'm aware of the math in that looking at cost for a pair of $300 shoes over the years with care and resoling vs $100 pairs of shoes or cheap $50 pairs, the $300 pairs save money over time and still have a superior quality. Unfortunately, that value declines around $400-500, so unless people have disposable income or really care about shoes like us, they won't even make a move for upper quality (by our standards) even if they were well informed.
In the end, isn't fit the most important thing of it all? Of course a good bespoke will have the best fit, but there are fake bespoke shoes or just poorly made ones that really aren't true bespoke and may not fit as well as RTW shoes. That is a factor for people buying RTW GYW shoes too. Yes GG may be very superior to AE, but if the AE lasts fit the person better, the quality may not matter to them.
There are just so many factors involved, but I feel that the ones of us who do know these differences are the ones who should be enlightening our fellow members about these factors so they can decide on their own. They should know how HW is superior but the readers need to choose if that matters to them. They can learn who uses better materials and what differences those materials even make for the shoe over time from us. For many, above a certain point, they won't care or notice a difference, even though we do.
AE and Alden are the two most popular shoe brands on SF by a long shot and price is a huge factor for them. They are affordable and can last a long time with care. Most people don't notice the difference between the fine details in stitching, finishing, etc. It is a shame but most don't notice it at all. The normal person does not notice the last shape, even though we care about that as one of the most important factors. They usually look at the general style and the color. That is really a shame, but that is what society in American generally does. I have patients from the poorest of the poor to the extreme wealthy, and the most common comments I get are on the color or style of shoe. Very few mention the shape or details. We do and I hope that we can teach more about those details over time, but many don't care in the end. Everyone can make their own checklist of what details a shoe has to have for them.
Many people who have some top quality shoes (myself included) started with AE and still have some pairs around. Not to be a snob, but I still have some to use as bad weather shoes so I won't damage my nicer pairs, but I baby my shoes. I found a last by them that fits me quite well, so for certain style/last combos, I like AE and still recommend them to many people who want to start to appreciate "fine shoes." they are a good stepping stone and still support the US jobs for people who care on that note as well.
Sorry for a bit of a rant, but I feel that as long as we do our part in teaching and discussing in a respectful manner, we are doing our job and leaving the final decision up to each individual person. But when we post some amazing pictures of our top shoes, I hope that will sway them our way.
In terms of US bespoke, there are many different people as long as you are willing to travel to them. NY has quite a few as well and New England. Then of course we know about DW, and the others out west. Texas has many bookmakers who still are involved and willing to try out some of our crazy ideas!
Here are a few North American people you can look up. I don't know them all and don't know how many of them are true bespoke vs just making custom one off shoes. You could contact them if they are in your area but I know that many of them do offer custom lasts and bespoke shoes. I know that not all HW the shoes, but if you find ones that you are interested in, you can contact them and report back.
Some have orthopedic experience as well, so they can work on unique foot types as well. Obviously the styles that they work on may not be to everyones' taste (there were a few that were quite horrid in my opinion), but to each his own. I have spoken with a few of them and all of those were very open to trying things out of their normal work and style as well. Of course quality will vary so not all with be at the same level as the top few on the list.
Perry Ercolino (PA)
Paul Davies (Virginia)
Oliver Moore (NYC)
Craig Corvin (Seattle)
Daphne Board (Massachusetts)
Exit shoes by Jeff Mandel (Oregon)
Brooklyn bespoke shoes
hark weber (St. Paul, MN)
loveless custom boots and shoes (Oklahoma)
James sommefeldt (Chicago)
kika bespoke (NYC)
Crary custom (Oregon)
David Ulan (NY)
Tim Goodrich (Michigan)
Al's Attire (San Fran)
T. O. Dey (NY)
Der Dau (NY)
And two in Canada:
Peter Feeney (Toronto)
Several of these people were students of mine....happy (and proud) to say.
that is great to hear and i added a few that i originally forgot to type off of my own personal list of them.
Couple of others off the top of my head...
Rick Roman, Oregon
Dan Freeman, Vermont
Francis Classe, California
Shoefan (who posts here on SF), makes whether he takes orders or not, I dunno
Nasser Vries, Toronto
Jon Grey, Nova Scotia
Brandi Devers, Chicago?
DA Saguto, Virginia
These are all shoemakers.
edited for punctuation and clarity
Separate names with a comma.