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St. Crispin's Appreciation Thread

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

  1. Ecstasy

    Ecstasy Senior member

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    It is good that you read everything a person says in order to answer. I just cannot read like 20 of your posts just to respond to a point you made in your latest post, if that is indeed the number of posts you made regarding this subject (on this thread and others). As far as journalism goes, forgive me for being blunt, there are readability issues with many of your posts (at least for me).

    Edit: I am not of the Twitter generation, but thanks for yet another remark of the sort.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  2. Mifune

    Mifune Well-Known Member

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    Cork/rubber/neoprene is the impermeable barrier, and it appears to cover 90-95% of the area between the foot and the leather sole for a gemmed shoe (eg. Crockett & Jones).

    If the cork covers 90-95% of the area between the foot and the leather sole, then not much moisture from the foot is going to wick away via the leather sole, is it?

    ---------Foot----------
    >>>>CORK>>>>
    ---Leather sole-----


    An analogy - cotton is a breathable fabric. If I wear a plastic shirt (impermeable) underneath a cotton jacket then the cotton jacket is not going to be wicking away much moisture as the moisture would not make it past the plastic shirt.

    This is nothing to do with "know the cost of everything and the value of nothing." I want to genuinely find out whether "breathability" through the sole is an actual benefit of leather-soled shoes that contain gemming.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
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  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I'd say probably not much...simply because of the cork filler. But I wouldn't count on much through the upper either. Moisture coming off the foot is going to pool under the foot. Gravity alone ensures that.

    If there's a decent leather insole, it will wick away some of it. If not, the shoes will be hot...just like running shoes tend to be. And smelly, just like running shoes tend to be. And incubators for whatever bacteria or fungus's are on your feet or you pick up at the gym.

    If a good leather insole is bottomed with a good leather outsole, the wicking will be augmented...the amount of moisture moved away from the foot increased.

    Don't take my word for it, ask any bespoke shoemaker. Ask them what they're wearing...and why. Or ask a mere 200 years of shoemakers. Read the literature. Golding, Swaysland, Bordoli, Plucknett, Rees, Leno, Thornton. Think about the shoemakers who taught me or James Carreducker. And the shoemakers who taught them. And who taught them and the generation before them. And think about all the work and thought and study and collaboration and trial and error that went into evolving the techniques and the philosophies that come down to this day.

    Or better yet, there's a whole thread about breathability on SF that includes links to studies that specifically point to "occlusive" footwear as one of the prime agents of foot disease.

    --
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  4. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I have no aspirations to be a journalist...sorry, I don't meet your standards.

    That said, I do take the time to explain why I say things; to give reason beyond nebulous unsubstantiated speculation and near hysterical defensive "feelings." I walk people through the reasoning and the logic and the mitigating facts.That's respect, pure and simple. To take people for what they are or what they present themselves as and to take them seriously.

    If that's too much trouble for you, I have to assume that you really don't want to know anything that cannot be encapsulated and swallowed with one gulp of kool-aid.
     
  5. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Cheers SoGent - I do take your point.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  6. emiristol

    emiristol Senior member

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    I have spoken with Mr. Gaziano regarding this exact topic, and it is his opinion that adding a topy/having a dainite/rubber sole is of absolutely no concern to the "breathability" of the shoe. Since I'm no expert, I have no idea how correct or incorrect this is from a shoemaking perspective, but for what it's worth, I've never noticed any difference in terms of shoe "breathability" between leather and rubber soled shoes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
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  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Next time you see Tony, ask him what he's wearing. Ask him if he ever puts Topy on any of his personal shoes. Or wears shoes with rubber outsoles. I bet there isn't one in a hundred shoemakers that wears topy or danite or any kind of rubber.

    That's no accident...care to speculate why that is?.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  8. emiristol

    emiristol Senior member

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    I prefer to take people at their professional word rather than engage in baseless speculation, particularly when I have not even the slightest reason to suspect his motives.
     
  9. emiristol

    emiristol Senior member

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    Also, whether or not the shoemakers themselves wear rubber/topyed soled shoes is of no relevance--without further information, a conclusion cannot be drawn. Perhaps they see rubber soled shoes as a bastardization of the craft, or perhaps they simply don't mind going through shoes quicker than normal by wearing leather soled shoes all the time, just because they have the ability to make shoes for themselves. In any case, it simply doesn't make sense to speculate and draw conclusions so hastily.
     
    4 people like this.
  10. Ecstasy

    Ecstasy Senior member

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    Alright, that's fair.

    Just let me say this. About respect, at least try not to suggest that I should not be posting in this thread, that I am stubborn in my thinking, and that I am from the Twitter generation with short attention span. I read a couple of your posts before this, and I quoted the ones that I wished to discuss. I mentioned that I did not read all your posts on this thread simply because you asked how I arrived at my conclusion from your comments on breathability, which was from another post that I did not intend to discuss. I have not been 'feeling' any respect from you since my first post on this thread. But I digress...



    With that aside, let's look at leather versus rubber. I understand that leather outsoles have been used throughout the history of shoemaking. However, that is no basis for saying that leather outsoles are a good material for the outsole. In fact, the history for the use of leather outsoles is predominantly in the west, and only certain areas of the west. Any history of leather outsoles in the tropics is practically non-existent. Possible reasons could be low availability of leather, but more importantly persistent wet weather.

    There seems to be disagreement about how well leather holds up in wet weather. But let's look at it this way - if leather is skin, then the way skin reacts to water would be somewhat similar to the way leather reacts to moisture. From the perspective of a materials engineer, perhaps leather would not even be in the picture when sourcing for an outsole material.

    Now on to the subject of breathability, which I initially did not intend to address. My opinion is that requiring breathability for the outsole is pretty ludicrous. Why would I want a porous material on the outsole when it is supposed to be rigid and long-lasting? I understand and appreciate leather as a second layer of skin that 'brings us closer to nature,' but I would draw the line when it comes to the outsole. If simple gravel paths screw up the soles of my bare feet, I assume that the same would happen to leather outsoles. At the risk of digressing, I would add that callus will form at the soles of my feet, but not on leather outsoles, which will just look like scar tissue.

    IMHO, the quality of an object is related to its ability to fulfill its purpose, at least for a 'functional object.' Of course, the purpose of shoes is subjective. To me, it would be to protect my feet and prevent me from falling down. With this perspective, the use of leather, with properties similar to our skin, would actually decrease the quality of shoes. If the shoes are meant purely for display, then that's a different story.
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2014
  11. Mifune

    Mifune Well-Known Member

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    Not really relevant whether Tony or any shoemaker puts Topy on their own shoes. They can resole their own shoes at zero or low cost. Consumers have to pay a lot of money to get their shoes resoled. Heck, Tony can pull off a new pair of shoes off the production line and write it off his taxes.

    Ask Tony Gaziano whether he uses Topy is like asking Corinne Mentzepoulos of Chateau Margaux whether she ever drinks cheap Languedoc wine. She can just dip out the back and pull out a bottle of Ch Margaux whenever she wants.

    In any case - the issue is being muddied here. Most bespoke shoemakers presumably don't use gemming, hence leather soles in this instance perhaps aids moisture wicking. "Golding, Swaysland, Bordoli, Plucknett, Rees, Leno, Thornton. Think about the shoemakers who taught me or James Carreducker" - these guys I presume did not have gemmed shoes. If gemming is used as part of shoe construction (as is the case with most RTW), then our conclusion today is that a Topy layer doesn't really affect moisture wicking via the sole.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  12. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    emeristol, Mifune - spot on. It is heartening to see that the more overblown condemnation of synthetic soles isn't being swallowed wholesale.

    As it happens I have spoken with Dean Girling about synthetic outsoles and found his take entirely pragmatic and balanced. Similarly Phillip Car of St. Crispin's, who recommended a combination Topy-like outsole for a boot we are planning for the coming fall.

    Instead of asking whether individual bespoke makers wear synthetic outsoles, consider why most if not all premium RTW manufacturers offer synthetic soles as an option to their customers if in fact there is a) no practical benefit to the option and b) a significant net detriment to both the integrity of the shoe and the health of their customer's feet? Seems like a poor business model, to say the least.

    The only suggestion I have ever heard to explain this fact is a massive conspiracy by manufacturers to delude and deceive customers as to the benefits of synthetic outsoles in certain applications, and massively rip them off by employing cheaper materials for the same retail price. Hopefully, this sets off your crazy detector as it did mine. And in any event, the last time this was raised Ron Rider (among others) pointed out that some synthetic outsoles are actually more expensive than their leather equivalents, and in any event, a Topy installed over a standard leather outsole isn't cheaper at all.

    On the blog entry I posted earlier, Justin Fitzpatrik posted images of two otherwise identical ED Dover models, one with a leather outsole and the other with Dainite and posed the following rhetorical question: "Is this top one going to last longer than the bottom one???? Don’t think so….."

    I don't think so, either.
     
  13. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Yeah, I've heard this time and again from people who themselves don't have a clue about how shoes are made or what goes into them, and yet style themselves (pose) as capable of being objective.

    It strikes me as self-serving at best and hypocrisy at worst. You "prefer to take people at their professional word"...well, why not take James Ducker at his professional word?

    You pick and choose who to believe depending on whether it fits your "baseless speculations".

    I've been making boots and shoes for over forty years, full time. You've got me here--you can explore, in depth, the reasons I prefer not to use rubber on the bottom of my shoes (and it has nothing to do with anything but the desire to make my shoes last longer, hold their shape longer and keep my feet healthy. Why not take my "professional word"? Or at least withhold judgment long enough to make a pretense of an open mind? You can grill me and contradict me and bring to bear all your baseless speculation. Where else can you do that? More importantly, with that kind of opportunity, why would you prefer your own baseless speculation?

    I didn't invent shoemaking. Or the techniques that are held in highest esteem among shoemakers. I didn't formulate or influence the long standing and widely held...among shoemakers...belief that leather is breathable and rubber is not. Or the simple proposition that breathability is good for the foot--the more the better.

    Nothing I say is written in stone but virtually none of it is unique to me either. I mentioned the literature, I mentioned the teachers that I had and the long Tradition of passing the Trade down. I'm sure there are plenty of shoemakers that would disagree with me about one niggling thing or another, but I'm here. They're not. And I speak not just for me, not just from my forty years but for and from all the shoemakers who have gone before--the "dead guys", the "elder shoe gods", 10,000 years worth. Because of my training. Because I am at one end of a very long line of masters and students--a bona fide receiver of the "given word"--steeped in the Traditions and the Traditional knowledge; because I've read the literature; because I've done the work, seen the problems that arise both during the work and after the shoes have been made and worn. I channel all those guys to one degree or the other. As does James Ducker, as does Anthony Delos, as does John Petter Myhre, etc.. We can't escape it.




    Of course it's relevant. You are blessed with a critical insight in to the thinking of people who make shoes for a living. Who have an intimate knowledge of the materials that go into shoes and how they work together. And you say it's"not relevant"?!

    Bespoke shoemakers have access to almost every material, and knowledge about every technique that is used in shoemaking...yet even the most vociferous defenders of rubber don't put Topy on their personal shoes. Don't make GY welted, or cemented shoes for themselves. Don't use leatherboard or celastic or corrected grain leathers on their personal shoes.

    And just for the record...it is a lot harder to put leather outsoles on a shoe than to put on rubber outsoles. A lot.

    All the weak, spurious excuses that you formulate to explain why they choose only the best for themselves are simply...as the other fellow said, "baseless speculation." Why don't you ask a shoemaker!? Instead of creating self-serving fantasy worlds?

    That's probably correct. And if gemming occludes the breathability of the shoe...and you're OK with that....then why should synthetic leather or corrected grain leathers bother you?

    --
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
    1 person likes this.
  14. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Are you so vain? Are you the only one in this discussion? Where's that business about not taking it personally, about following the argument? Have you been here for close to 4,000 posts--virtually none of them obsequious, sychophantic ego stroking, post-count padding, meaningless bon bons?

    I don't know or know you, but I speak to you as if you were capable of paying attention. That's my first assumption. As if you were capable of being open-minded. As if you were capable of following a logical train of thought. I make those assumptions despite there being a fair number of people...here especially...who demonstrably, are not capable of anything but self-serving and baseless speculation. I treat you with respect...until you prove my assumptions wrong.

    Shoemaking as a Trade goes back 10,000 years. What did those in the tropics wear before 1937? Why, despite deep cultural biases and singular Traditions not connected to western culture, why do the Japanese and other shoemakers, as well as consumers, in even more tropical environments hold the Englsih/western model of shoemaking in such high esteem.?

    I have no disagreement with that proposition. That's the easy way out for the fishmongers in this thread. They go to hawking all these red herrings every time they cannot answer to the main point. I have repeatedly acknowledged that rubber is more...maybe completely ...waterproof. I've repeatedly acknowledged that it is more abrasion resistant than leather. Maybe you missed all that in your hurry to skim over/bypass my explanations.

    Moreover, the way leather and skin react to water are far more similar than the way skin or leather and rubber reacts to water. Skin is highly absorbent and if you don't believe me spread some acetone on the palm of your hand sometime.

    Again, if you take your philosophy to its logical conclusion, you shouldn't have any problem with uppers made of pleather or naugahyde or even corrected grain leather.

    --
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
  15. Gianni Cerutti

    Gianni Cerutti Senior member

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    Great color and model
     
  16. Mifune

    Mifune Well-Known Member

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    You need to think a little bit outside the box about financial and practical implications for consumers vs a shoemaker/cobbler.

    If a shoemaker states that he recommends keeping 365 pairs of shoes so as to allow maximum time for each pair to recover - well sure, of course this is likely to be a better for maintaining the condition of shoes than a rotation of 7 pairs of shoes...however there is a financial and practical consideration to think about.

    Similarly, a shoemaker/cobbler can afford to not bother with Topys as they do not have the same financial/practical considerations re. resoling or acquiring new shoes that a consumer has. As an example, it would cost me 300 pounds to have EGs resoled back in Northampton. How much do you think it costs Tony Gaziano/bespoke shoemaker to get his EGs resoled? He could either get it done for next to nothing, do it himself, or he could just throw the shoes out and grab another pair of shoes from the back of his shop. Neither of these options are farfetched or fanciful; any of them are a likely reason why Tony/bespoke shoemaker would not going to bother with a Topy. If he himself had to pay 300 pounds for resoling and didn't have access to free/cheap resoles and new shoes, I am sure that he would consider Topy as a potential option.

    At the end of the day, it is a financial and practical exercise.

    Most people would also choose the best/most luxurious of everything in life if they could purchase them at cost / far below normal retail prices.

    Do you buy all your food organic, biodynamic, market fresh, etc? Because that is what most of the top chefs in the world advocate. Guess what though, financial and practical implications come into play for 99% of consumers.


    Re. more difficult putting leather outsole on a shoe - so what? Difficulty in doing something is not a positive attribute.

    Re. "creating self-serving fantasy worlds" - go easy fella. Ideals, the status quo and the opinions of experts should be held to close scrutiny. You have enough knowledge about footwear construction to think rationally about the issue at hand and discuss this properly, without having to resort to silly mudslinging.
     
    3 people like this.
  17. jerrybrowne

    jerrybrowne Senior member

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    Nice looking shoes. I'd like them more if they were saddle shoes though.....
     
  18. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    ^^^ Thanks Jerry. They do have a saddle-ish look to them.
     
  19. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    First, a "cobbler" is a shoe repairman. I am not a cobbler, and neither is Tony Gaziano. A shoemaker is a shoemaker or a cordwainer.

    Here's what the dictionaries say:

    OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY:
    Cobbler: One who mends clumsily; a mere botcher.
    Cobble : A clumsy mending.

    CONCISE ENGLISH DICTIONARY:
    Cobble : to botch, to make do clumsily or unhandily,
    Cobbler : A mender of boots and shoes; a clumsy workman.

    UNIVERSAL ENGLISH DICTIONARY :
    Cobble : To do lumpy work, To mend or make, sew, in a rough, clumsy manner.
    Cobbler : One who mends boots and shoes as a trade; (facetious) bootmaker, especially one in a small way of business; clumsy, bad workman of any kind.

    Second, thinking out of the box is fine but it's not reality and it doesn't address the real issue here.

    Esp. at that level, it is a business for G&G. It's foolish to think that he gets this work done for free. In terms of time and in terms of materials it cost exactly the same for him to have his own personal shoes resoled as it does to resole someone else's. It may not cost him as much as it will cost you but it costs him the same to pay a worker whether it's his shoes or not. And the profit that he would make resoling someone else's shoes is forfeit. It's not coming in the door but the expenses are going out.

    It's not free. It's not even cheap. To think it is, borders on the absurd.

    What's more, if financial and practical considerations are the prime motivation, someone is barking up the wrong tree. Several someones. If practicality and utility are what the shoe is being bought for, then paying $800-$1500.00 is another absurdity ...maybe more egregious than the first. And esp. in the context of StyleForum.

    Let me state this as starkly as I can so there can be no mistake about intent...

    There is no significant difference between the techniques used to construct a $129.00 GY welted shoe bought at Sears and the $800.00 shoe bought in Northampton. None.

    And as far as the materials go, yes, some of the components are a better grade but it is a gradation. Aside from finish and other fripperies, at a certain point leather is still leather. Calf may crease more finely than cow but it is also generally thinner so may wear out faster in any event. Bottom line there is not $670.00 worth of difference...not by by a long shot...and esp. if one factors in the lower cost of rubber outsoles. And if one is so enamored of rubber outsoles and synthetic uppers that the choice between rubber outsoles and leather becomes purely a matter of "practicality," then, at that point, the differences in value, in particular become almost irrelevant.


    Whenever possible...and I'm on a fixed income--it's simply a matter of recognizing value as opposed to cost..


    But it is a measure of caring, of human involvement, of dedication and ultimately it says that if a shoemaker had a choice between putting a rubber sole on his personal shoes and putting a leather sole on them, the work and dedication required to sole or resole in leather is an order of magnitude greater than putting on a rubber outsole. Yet most of us eschew rubber outsoles and the easier path.

    Understandably, people who take the easiest path at any one turning, tend to take the easiest path--the one least expensive in money, time and energy...even mental energy--across the board. If one cannot be bothered to look at both sides, to weight the evidence, to be objective, to respect the professional opinions of people who do not automatically rubber stamp their own opinions, the chances are slim to none that quality or excellence or refinement will have any real part in their lives except as a pose.


    By whom? By people who know nothing? Just because they feel "entitled?"

    From one of my favourite and arguably most well thought out, rational essays....


    There's no mudslinging there...I follow the argument and the logic. If one cannot, will not, spend the "impractical" capital to learn about what one is pontificating about, then all one's remarks are, by default, "baseless speculation.' And all one's conclusions, fantasy.
     
    Last edited: Mar 20, 2014
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  20. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    I wonder if the same equivalence is drawn between $250 hand welted Meermins and $4000 hand welted bespoke. I suspect not.
     

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