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St. Crispin's Appreciation Thread

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by medtech_expat, Jul 22, 2011.

  1. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Here is an article about the "Hillary boot" (singular) which is displayed at Taylor & Sons (Paddington).

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/3007675.stm

    There was once a description of the construction and, if I remember correctly, it is a triple-leather sole (with huge hobnails) and in Norwegian and Goiser construction: (the upper is folded-out and stitched to the first sole. Then a Goiserer welt (laid on and stitched to the outside of the boot) was added and an additional row of stitching goes through welt, folded-out upper, middle sole and the outsole.

    In old Army and walking boots the heavy hobnails lift the leather sole at least 1/4" above the ground, so that nobody actually walks on the leather soles.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  2. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Bengal Stripe,

    Thank you for the link and the explanation.

    And the boots you posted with the triangular cleats? Are they Mallory's boots?

    Of course the logic says that if rubber is such an "advancement" then why fool around with leather at all...for any part of the shoe? If one is consistent in one's thinking--logical, in other words--then leather uppers make no sense. Neither do leather insoles or handwelting.

    Anyone can make the case for dumbing down--the code/buzzword is "progress."

    Soylent Green anyone?

    --
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  3. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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  4. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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  5. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Synthetic and leather soles both have their place. To claim that one is always and in every instance superior to the other is not simply not supportable, IMO.

    There is a reason most dedicated winter boots - and certainly most contemporary military boots that I have seen - have synthetic soles. And it's not because anyone is dumbing down anything - it's because the best material is selected for the intended application.

    One can always pine away for the days of yore and wistfully romanticize the choices of days past to the point where what was is by definition "better" in every instance. But to do so is indeed to depart reality and simply believe what one wishes, regardless of the facts.
     
  6. chobochobo

    chobochobo Senior member Moderator

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    Just to chime in on this slight diversion from the topic, the last time I had a big slip/ fall was walking on snow/ ice wearing a pair of C&J Connaughts with Danite soles. I don't if I would have slipped just the same or more if I had been wearing leather soles :)
     
  7. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    I think for those of us who don't have to deal with 3-5 months of snowy winter per annum, we would slip regardless of the type of soles.
     
  8. PCK1

    PCK1 Senior member

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    My personal preference is dainite for rain/ice/snow.

    When its a serious storm out I have a commando soled boot that I use.

    I also prefer dainite for travel as I find it more practical in what can become very unpredictable situations.

    When I'm just commuting to the office or out walking around or enjoying my weekends and the weather is good I use leather soles.
    When I wear suits, etc. I usually wear leather soles.
     
    Last edited: Mar 18, 2014
  9. thelonius

    thelonius Senior member

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    Seems then that the team which climbed Everest in 1953 took a few different boots with them. The Satra boot was certainly used, as confirmed by a letter from Sir John Hunt to the person who made them at Satra, and in any case Satra describe the construction of the boots in detail. And then there is the model made by Messrs Robert Lawrie Ltd. Intriguing.
     
  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    The real point is that there was a time when vibram did not exist...and people got around fine in all kinds of weather. Vibram did not exist in 1924 when Mallory climbed Everest. Hillary probably did take several pair/kinds of boots...to test them for interested sponsors. Just like today--Tang in space.

    I suggested in an above post that any fool could make the case for dumbing things down---and then someone proceeded to prove me right. Point is, we all know the advantages real or not so real of naugahyde and Pleather and Danite and Topy. And if you buy into the rationale for using these materials, then what's the rationale for using leather...ever? Because what is really being argued...by innuendo, gossip and faint praise...is that leather is inadequate and not up to the task (despite Mallory on the mountain) and ultimately without the qualities that we want for our footwear.

    And what is it we want from leather? For it to be as abrasion resistant as vibram? To be as waterproof as naugahyde? (The shine, the finishes, are trivial and superficial on any material.) Ironically, despite the context and sub-texts of Styleforum (or maybe, for those with another agenda, because of the context) that's precisely what some people do seem to want. It's not too dissimilar to people who come to StyleForum looking for non-leather shoes...but not really--the real agenda is to argue vegan scripture.

    Make the case for leather...am I the only one who sees it? And if so, why are people who can't even here?

    I can't think of one single aspect of life that we associate with "the finer things" that has benefited from being made with more speed, less care, and an eye to making it cheaper and more affordable for those more concerned about appearance than substance. AKA "dumbing down."

    Are two day old curds better than a well aged Stilton? Is a plastic clarinet better than an old ebony LeBlanc? Is a new violin equal, in any way to a Stadivarius or a de Salo or a Guarneri? Will it ever be?

    Is a Big Mac better than aged waigu rib steak? Is a five year old single malt better than it will be at 15? Is a tequila made by mixing agave syrup with white spirits the same as a decent Anjeo?

    What I see in all this is that some people seem to think this forum is the White Castle of men's haberdashery. Or should be. Would, ultimately, prefer that it was.

    If you end up defending the indefensible--defending topy and or rubber outsoles, for instance, while simultaneously saying "I would never put them on my own shoes"--an all too obvious element of hypocrisy gets evoked. Outside observers are forced to suspect motive.

    Again, make the case for leather...those of you who think "progress" and modern high tech materials are superior. Or make the case for Topy and Danite, etc. in unequivocal terms--ones that don't employ weasel words and mitigating circumstances and "leveling" buzzwords.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  11. add911_11

    add911_11 Senior member

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    It is not about real performance.

    It is the fact that no one like the look of distressed leather sole.

    It is the fact that good plastic sole last longer lookwise.

    I think the real enemy is salted pavement and the craziness when people walk over each other in the rain.
     
  12. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Case in point.
     
  13. ezlau

    ezlau Senior member

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    To get the thread back on track:
    Here's a picture of a sketch my friend is working on for my pair of Saint Crispin's

    [​IMG]
     
    2 people like this.
  14. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:Agreed with all of that. No doubt in ancient Greece, distance races were conducted in by-golly-good-enough leather sandals. There are better choices today for Olympic marathon runners. Returning to the subject of this thread - St. Crispin's appreciation - one of the many things I appreciate about this brand is the diversity of sole offerings - a number of different thickness options for leather soles, and a diverse array of synthetic sole options as well. Their endorsement of value of both types of soles in the context of premium footwear carries more weight with me than the impotent fuming of self-proclaimed traditionalists who believe we should all run in by-golly-good-enough leather sandals. Choice is good. Those who wish to wear leather soles exclusively are not lacking for options in this or any other premium RTW brand. Thankfully, others are free to make different choices, based upon their own needs, preferences and experiences.
     
  15. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:Wingtip adelaide? Nice. What colour are you considering?
     
  16. ezlau

    ezlau Senior member

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    These are my pair that I bought from LS 2 years back. They are in burgundy. The sketch is meant to be Black/White to emphasize on the details (creases/wear etc).
     
  17. Mifune

    Mifune Well-Known Member

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    I have read many of your posts and you know way more than I could ever know about footwear.

    However, "breathability" of a leather sole is something I have to question though.

    In the C&J youtube videos, cork is applied to the "cavity" of the shoe. The cork covers probably 95% of the sole. Cork does not allow any material amount of moisture to permeate, so it is unlikely that there is going to be any "breathability" occurring through a leather sole with the cork acting as a barrier. Any breathability in a leather shoe is more likely to occur via the upper.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  18. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:Ah - understood now - nice. You've taken the concept of shoes as works of art up a level. ;-)
     
  19. Ecstasy

    Ecstasy Senior member

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    Would a knife cut through animal skin or a tyre more easily?
     
  20. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    In the first place, a little more careful reading of my post would make it immediately clear that quote is from the Carreducker blog--James Ducker a very well respected London bespoke shoemaker. Aside from his many years of experience, i suspect that he echos the thoughts and philosophies that his teachers and other London shoemakers have evolved over centuries of dealing with leather and making shoes and seeing them perform on a wide variety of feet in a wide variety of circumstances.

    The fact, that I agree with him would be almost incidental...except...except that my agreement is predicated on my own many years of making and the philosophies of those who taught me and passed their wisdom on to me.

    The other issue is that breathability, as it applies to leather, is not equivalent to the breathability of cotton or even your lungs. Air does not readily flow though any leather, not even upper leather. But because there is no impermeable barrier such as there would be with rubber of plastic, moisture can migrate away from the foot and into the leather--leather wicks moisture away from the foot in a way that no other comparable material can. But for this wicking to take place any air that exists within the substance of the leather must be able to be displaced.

    And finally, cork is added in the factory environment because it is necessary to fill that huge cavity created by the gemming without adding significant weight. It is usually embedded in a matrix of neoprene or rubber which further seals that part of the shoe off just as surely as a layer of latex would. Bottom line is that cork filler is not "best practices" except for those who embrace expediency.

    Much of this requires objective thought, and a fundamental understanding of the nature of the materials and the way in which they work together, to avoid falling prey to the marketing hype and the easy fallacies that are promoted by manufacturers and YouTube videos.

    Unfortunately, there are people here...in a community that ostensibly extols quality and excellence...who "know the cost of everything and the value of nothing."

    --
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
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