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The Ultimate "HARDCORE" Shoe Porn Thread (Bespoke only)

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by luk-cha, Jul 3, 2010.

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  1. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Wrong. Its very difficult to execute. Very difficult.
     
  2. Tony Montana

    Tony Montana Senior member

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    Nah, it's easy on a wooden last and even easier on a computer. It's difficult to make "the perfect last", but it's easy to deviate from the existing shape in the way bengal-stripe suggested and, in this case, any ablative deviation = improvement[​IMG]
     
  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    People have accused me of being harsh here. But when you're confronted with this kind of attitude it's hard to know whether to laugh or cry.

    In my opinion...the remarks in posts 2537, 2540 and 2542 are both dismissive and disrespectful.

    So let me ask...seriously...how do you come by this knowledge? Set me...all of us...straight. Have you ever tried to modify a last?

    Bengal Stripe has never modified a last...not that I know of (he'll correct me if I'm wrong).

    What prompts you to make such a a statement as well as the previous other two you've made in this regard?

    Anyone can slap a lump of Bondo on a last...or on a car door or a hammer, for that matter. You're right...that's easy.

    Then what?

    What do you think are the constraints that inform what you do with that Bondo? What you do when the Bondo is cured?

    Do you think the shape of the foot print has anything to do with it? Do you think that the girth measurements come into play? Do you suppose that the interior volume of a shoe made around that last is going to be affected? How?

    Does the foot itself--its shape, its volume, its propensity to spread or elongate--make any difference?

    Do you know what a fair curve is? (aside from the definition I provided earlier) Can you draw one? Freehand or with a French curve? Can you translate that into three dimensions so that no turn of the last, no matter how small, deviates from a fair curve?

    What do you know about fitting feet? Just what you've read here on SF or on the Internet? Or what some guy down at the shoe store told you?

    You've never seen the foot in question, you don't have any idea what is involved in solving the mysterie of that particular foot. Neither has Bengal Stripe. I don't have any idea what is going to be involved until I see and measure the foot. I don't know what the the problems, much less the solutions, will be.

    If you cannot provide real, objective, functional answers to all of these questions, what recommends your remarks to anyone? Why should anyone give credence to what you say, IOW?

    --
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  4. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Muddying the waters again? What's got that to do with changing the toe? - That's all we have talked about!

    Yes I have altered lasts! I'm have changed the toe shape, reduced or increased the instep (it's called adding a shover), I have altered a shoe last into a loafer last. Those things are really not too difficult. I can change my lasts, just as I can alter my clothes. But in both cases, I only change aspects of the fit. I wouldn't and I couldn't totally re-cut a suit, nor would I attempt to alter a last in its totality. But I know where to go to for more difficult alterations. So, when I wanted my loafer last copied with a reduced heal pitch to use for slippers, I knew where to go to.


    I might agree with your 'fair curves' for finished shoes, but not necessarily for lasts. Sometimes you might need to model certain parts of the last (like the toes) quite angular, and aggressive, that when they are covered with three or four layers of leather they do not get too soft, indistinct. and wishy-washy.


    Sorry, what is Bondo, some plastic filler for car repairs, I presume? To augment parts of a last I use 'mellow' leather and glue with UHU (because UHU will bond damp materials as well as dry-ones). As Bondo doesn't sound like a traditional shoemaking material, I leave its use to you.

    All we were taking about was re-shaping the toe.
     
  5. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Still dead wrong. See Meermin thread. Or talk to makers. Or talk to ODMs.

    Modifying designs using CAD programs only improves on the process efficiency but does not help at all in improving aesthetics. We would have many more Picassos or Michelangelos if it does, but instead we get selfies and trolls like you.
     
  6. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    I don't think so. Perhaps you missed what I said about this foot and the toe shape. I think that when you ignore qualifiers, you're muddying the waters.

    And yes, I know what a shover is. But unless you're using the word in a way that I am not familiar with, it's just a crude layer of leather with no real attempt to blend it into the lines of the last.

    Good to know. I was not certain--as my remarks indicate.

    You're right about bondo. I don't use it but my last maker does when he is modifying a last and I know some other makers, even abroad, use something similar. I use leather...always have.

    And just for the record---I gravitate to Traditional techniques because I have done a wide variety of techniques, studied the results, and I firmly believe that it is hard to improve upon the old ways--techniques that have evolved over the course of 10,000 years. I don't use Traditional techniques because I think there's some sort of magic associated with them. While I have sometimes been called a Traditional shoemaker, I have never claimed that status myself. If pressed, I would reject it.

    I am surprised that you would focus on such inconsequential issues when you have so vociferously defended non-traditional techniques in the past.

    The point I was making and the point chogall was getting at, is that making those kinds of modifications is really easy in the abstract or on a computer. But what good are they? If you are a shoemaker you have to respect the foot. Every modification has to answer first and foremost to the foot and to fit.

    If you put a shover on the instep and throws the instep and long heel measurements off, what have you gained? If you lower the profile of the toe when a customer has thick heavy toes and he loses a toenail or complains about pain...you've just abdicated your responsibility as a bespoke maker. For what? In the service of fashion and superficiality, is what.

    That's my take away from many years of doing this in real time...and confronting the consequences.

    Is it muddying the waters to point out that you have never seen the foot we've been talking about?

    Is it muddying the waters to suggest that if you...or anyone else...haven't had your ideas and speculations put to the test, they are unreliable at best? And at least outwardly apocryphal?

    Credibility is roughly synchronous with the point in the process when you see the elephant....and what you do afterwards.

    --
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  7. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Just curious if you or anyone else thinks this toe is "high" or "falling down like the Cliffs of Dover."

    [​IMG]

    Slightly off topic...but opportunity beckons...I'd also be interested in what you think of the skill of the guy fudging the welt. I seem to recall you saying something to the effect that in the best shops the workers were trained to hit the space between each stitch perfectly every time.

    --
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  8. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    No, the toe is pulled down low and the shoe has a minimal toe spring. That factory is quite famous for their aggressively styled toe. Do you want me to give you the last number? I have never inspected the last, but I would guess, on the last the toe slopes all the way down to the feather edge.



    This is not a hand-made , but a machine-made shoe. That edge is not fudged but has a decorative wheeling.
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
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  9. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    So you don't see a "hollow" under the front edge of the toe? If the last slopes all the way down to the feather edge, wouldn't the toe shape slope all the way down to the welt? Marcel Mrsan was famous for making that very point. Strenuously, adamantly. Maybe that's why he's no longer here.

    Maybe they were trying for a toe like this and just couldn't bring it off?

    (Click on photo, click on "original" and then click with the magnifier pointer over the toe)

    [​IMG]

    So a bench mounted fudge wheel is called a "decorative wheel" in Britain? :confused: What's the purpose of wheeling the edge of the welt if it doesn't/can't separate and tighten the stitches?

    --
     
    Last edited: Nov 10, 2014
  10. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    No, not necessarily! There is an insole placed underneath the wooden last and in a hand-made shoe you can cut the insole either to continue flaring out (then the slope will go way down to the welt) or cut the insle straight at a right angle, alternatively, you can even undercut the insole then the curve of the toe reverses and you have an under-slung toe.(I presume that under-slung bit is what you call the 'hollow'.)

    In a machine-made shoe, the insole is presumably cut with a die (cookie cutter), so the only way to cut is straight down.



    I don't think so, that firm caters for a more subtle clientèle. I cannot see many shoemakers that would aim for an under-slung toe like the one you present. Obviously the boots, from the design, but in a different size, of course, might be something Dolly Parton would fancy for one of her stage costumes and the under-slung toe goes very well with the garish look. But can you really see many men (unless they are dyed-in-the-wool Republicans from Texas) wanting to cross the streets of London, Paris, Rome, New York, Tokyo wearing a shoe with a toe like this?

    (There is one exception, the classic Austrian 'Haferl-Schuh', sports a raised under-slung toe. But then again, this design is very much confined to Austria and Bavaria.)


    Like most of us, I do have my dumb moments at times and a number of years ago, I fancied a shoe with a high-walled toe like those 'Budapester'. So I augmented a last and came-up with a seamless whole-cut which has a toe abomination that looks like the cliffs of Dover or Table Mountain. Certainly not one of my brighter ideas!

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]



    I don't know if Marcell promotes under-slung toes (there is no history of them in Hungary). You might want ask him. If you miss Marcell from the 'Colloquy, you might have missed the fact that he now has his own shoemaking forum on facebook.

    Why don't you join-up with him and his forum?
     
    1 person likes this.
  11. mimo

    mimo Senior member

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    If you will forgive the deviation, I think that Hungarian-inspired wholecut is splendid.

    Prescribing taste is a fools' game. :)
     
    2 people like this.
  12. Tony Montana

    Tony Montana Senior member

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    Regarding pretty much all those questions you raised:
    I simply disagree with the point you were trying to make, originally. You seemed to argue that the shape of the last, as it is, cannot be changed while still ensuring a proper fit.




    Calm down, no need to get personal [​IMG] I never said it would be easy for you, the dentist or me. I clearly stated I presumed the last had been prepared for the maker (dentist). Therefore, I obviously implied we were talking about someone who isn't an amateur but trained to do these things.

    Every bootmaker I have worked with so far assured me it is quite easy* for them to change the shape of the toebox on an existing last without compromising fit and it has worked out very well for me on subsequent commissions. You might have talked to the wrong people if you really have been told this is "very difficult to execute", who knows.

    *This doesn't mean it won't take some time and effort and they sometimes might need more than one iteration until they have changed the shape exactly to my taste, but they'll always get there without affecting fit.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
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  13. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Agreed with all of that.

    What I don't understand is why those who behold something far less than beauty at this time and in this place are viewed as doing anything different when they express that opinion than those who feel that the shoes are quite lovely. Odd that the blunt and unvarnished expression of a viewpoint is praised as virtue when undertaken by one party, but condemned as vice when originating from anyone disagreeing with said party. Or perhaps not that odd.
     
    2 people like this.
  14. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    In actual practice, the insole is almost incidental. I've seen Marcel cut a feather in a right angle insole and yet not have any "hollow" where the toe meets the welt. I've done it myself. Every time I make a shoe or boot. When the shoe is inseamed the feathered insole add less than 3mm to the thickness of the last and the profile of the toe. And since the welt is tucked up under the edge of the feather the vamp leather of the toe essentially sits on top of he welt.


    Again...what to do, what to do? Your bias and ignorance is showing. The boots in question were made for a Belgian architect...one of three pair all with the same toe...who also took three courses from me, including one in making shoes.

    In fact, the toe shape--the "box toe"--originated in Germany and was brought to this country by shoemaker immigrants in the 19th century who settled in the hill country around Fredricksburg, Texas..

    While a little clumsily executed...IMO...I don't see it like you do. For you it's not in fashion. For me it's a shoe. But both this shoe and the one I posted just above (with the "fudged-but-not-fudged welt) have higher toe profiles in that last 'inch" than the shoe my student made.

    I don't do Facebook. Not a comfortable place for a good Republican. Besides, I'd have to leave you all to the tender mercies of "imaginary shoemakers"-- who read and speculate and fantasize but never do or have done. "Do the name Ruby Begonia strike a familiar note?"

    I don't know if I miss Marcel as much as I miss Janne and Jan Peter and even James was here for a little bit, wasn't he? Real shoemakers seem to have a hard time on this forum--I suspect it's because it's difficult to compete with chimera, reverie, pretense and phantasm.

    --
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  15. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    No you didn't say that. you said it would be easy to do what Bengal suggested (because BS said it)...but I suspect that you didn't read what Bengal (or I) actually said. Because if you go back and actually read i,t you will see that he clearly said he would not extend the toe of the last. In his world, he suggested he might actually shorten it.

    In my response to him and in other posts, I said, that yes, extending the toe, reshaping the toe is quite easy-- slap some leather or Bondo on it and have at it. But for this foot with the thick toes, if you aren't willing or able to extend the last (without making it into something more akin to a Crakow), you're options are quite limited.

    I can take any last (another point you missed) and make it into nearly any shape or size...as long as I ignore the foot. For instance, if a man has a foot with three of his five toes all the same length (give a shout if that describes your foot...whoa! whoa! my ears are ringing) there are two only ways you can put him into a narrow pointed toe--extend the last four or even five full sizes or cripple him.

    I put my work...and my perspectives...out there for people to see. And yes, even critique. I'm not afraid of criticism, I've gain perspective and learned from issues raised here and in other venues. But I make it policy to not comment on the work of other makers because it's too easy-- a cheap shot--especially from those who've never made a boot or shoe or who weren't there. Who, realistically and objectively, don't know what they're talking about.

    --
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  16. j ingevaldsson

    j ingevaldsson Senior member

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    Not what has been discussed the last few pages, but a question I've been wondering. What's the history of the seamless wholecut, does anyone here know (Bengal, DWF, someone else)? The first time that I can remember seeing it was on Marcells blog a number of years ago, and since then it's popped up here and there, lots of bespoke shoemakers do it and some RTW like Saint Crispin's and Enzo Bonafé. Now the next popular thing seems to be the seamless boot, which more and more bespoke makers started to make, will probably also be seen in RTW soon. But I assume that the seamless shoes must have been around for quite some time, is it so?

    Janne, Jan Petter and James all hang out on Marcells Facebook forum, so might be worth it for you to join it.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  17. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Totally seamless boots...pull-on boots...have been made in the past--18th or 19th centuries. IIRC, one was made from the leg of a goat that had been tanned whole. Don't ask me how it was done, I don't know. I didn't think much of the concept. Didn't I see a seamless chukka here on SF somewhere?

    I don't think "lots" of bespoke makers do it. It's not all that easy. There's not a lot of makers who make a "full wellington" either. And of those that do, many use the softest leather...not really "shoe" leather...they can find.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  18. bengal-stripe

    bengal-stripe Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    As I have said, that overhanging toe is the characteristic element of the ‘Haferlschuh’, a shoe style which is part of the traditional costume in the alpine regions of Austria and Germany. Allegedly the toe shape did evolve to avoid the wearer’s toes being wedged in the toe box of the shoe while walking down the mountains.


    [​IMG]

    https://halfs.de/
     
  19. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Real shoemakers talking to real shoemakers...

    But before there was the Facebook forum there was the Crispin Colloquy. It is one of the largest and most authoritative compendiums of shoemaking techniques and knowledge ever put together esp. in modern times. It was created to be just exactly that--to archive and preserve the Traditional knowledge. I had/have a hand in it and I am committed to it and to its mission.

    IMO, Facebook is more a chat room than anything else.

    I have and do correspond with Janne and Jan Petter and James. Janne has said that he might visit me this summer--from Sweden to Oregon??! I don't know why he would want to do that--until you get to Portland (Nike) there's nothing here except sagebrush and microbreweries--but I am excited and will welcome him. That said, I've had Colin Barnsley and Frank Jones visit here, too.
     
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2014
  20. j ingevaldsson

    j ingevaldsson Senior member

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    As I suspected then, thanks. "Lots" is relative, but of the top of my head I've seen seamless shoes from Koronya, Roberto Ugolini, Jan Kielman, Maftei, Antonio Meccariello, F&F, Gaziano & Girling, Cleverley, Il Quadrifoglio, Riccardo Bestetti and Dmitri Gomez, and also then Saint Crispin's and Enzo Bonafé. Seamless boots and chukkas I've seen from Bestetti, Maftei and Meccariello.
     

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