The Ultimate Vass (Footwear) Thread (Pictures, reviews, sizing, etc...)

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by luk-cha, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. Fred G. Unn

    Fred G. Unn Senior member

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    Wow! Any experience with either of them? If I'm going to pick up one, which should I get?
     
  2. venividivicibj

    venividivicibj Senior member

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    i don't have any personal experience, but i do believe that both are more based upon traditional bookmaking, and not typical "dress shoes" as we see in most of these threads, so if that is what you're looking for, you might want to look elsewhere. (of course there are areas of overlap)
     
  3. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Actually I've written three but they are all detail oriented tutorials through different styles of boots--cowboy boots. Interesting if you are determined and ready to get into making boots but perhaps not so interesting for someone just looking for a broader base of knowledge.

    If you are interested in how shoes are put together, I would recommend both the Thornton and the three volumes of Golding that I scanned and recognized and placed for free digital download on the The Honourable Cordwainers' Company homepage. Thornton is more modern and factory oriented, Golding is older and a bit more dedicated towards hand work although not exclusively so.

    In the left hand frame you'll see the heading "Resources". Under that there is a link to the Guild Library. Click on that and a listing will come up in the right hand frame. Near the top...second section...is "Digital Downloads". Thornton and Golding are listed and linked to download in pdf format. These are not photocopied or simple scans. They are recognized and cleaned up. No yellowing pages , not skewed or blurry text and they will copy and paste and even print out for your every referencing need. :)

    (And FWIW, representing over three years work, part time, for each volume.)

    Again, four books, free for the download. And a whole lot of other interesting stuff although not all of it free.

    --
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  4. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Boo[COLOR=FF0000]t[/COLOR]-making. No bets taken here. :D

    All that's true as I outlined in my previous post. But the real issue here is the word "traditional." At one point in time all competent bootmakers were also competent shoemakers and vice versa.

    So, at bottom, there's really very little difference between the preferred techniques necessary to making a "traditional" man's dress shoe and those used in making a "traditional" boot. The big difference is in the way the patterns are derived and assembled to create the uppers. After that much, if not everything, is the same.

    On the other hand, there is a significant difference in the way "typical dress shoes as we see in most of these threads" are put together (and the materials used) and the way a traditional, handwelted, bespoke man's dress shoe is put together.

    --
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2013
  5. sstomcat

    sstomcat Senior member

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    I would like to know how much similar or dissimilar VASS is to a Traditional bespoke men's shoes? Particularly the differences will be worth knowing.thanks
     
  6. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Not custom last. Lack of arche support. Same pattern upper for all lasts. Non customizable patina. Insole lining to conceal handwriting dimple.
     
  7. sstomcat

    sstomcat Senior member

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    It was more in reference to "how these are put together(manufacturing techniques) and materials used and not the stuff that you mention that I'm well aware of.
     
  8. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    Depends on the Tradition--English/Austro-Hungarian. And whatever differences exist between them are really quite trivial. Mostly a matter of refinement and style.

    Let me state unequivocally, I have nothing critical to say about Vass bespoke.

    The thing is that I was quoting venivedi and referring to "typical dress shoes...in most of these threads." Wasn't about Vass, at all.
     
  9. mimo

    mimo Pernicious Enabler

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    As I understand it, Vass bespoke is really semi-bespoke, i.e. an adaptation of existing lasts. But that's by the way. Of course a ready-made last and a ready-made upper are taken as read for a non-bespoke shoe. But in terms of actual construction i.e. lasting, welt and sole stitching, etc., are their any significant differences between the methods used by the likes of Vass, and a bespoke maker?

    As a layman, my assumption is "not really", in that both are hand-welted, hand-soled and use traditional materials. I'd expect a bespoke maker to perhaps go rather further on the attention to detail, care and finishing, but in techniques, is there anything in it? Straighten me out, DW...
     
  10. DWFII

    DWFII Bespoke Boot and Shoemaker Dubiously Honored

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    No need to straighten you out, mimo. You've got it in one.

    People make a lot of fuss about lasts...and rightfully so. But the image of a wizened old gnome in the basement taking a block of wood and carving the last from scratch is seldom the whole story. A maker might carve the last, ala Anthony Delos, but if he is truly doing bespoke, that's often just the beginning. More than likely, that last will be further reduced or even built up using scraps of leather or some other material....all after the initial fitting

    On the other hand many makers begin with a "stock" last in a stock size and go on to modifying it for a specific customer and a specific pair of feet by reduction or addition--rasping away or building up with scraps of leather. I suspect that there is no significant difference between the end result regardless of whether the maker begins with a shapeless block of wood or a block of wood shaped like a last. The fit is the issue. Period.

    I don't know Vass' operation. How do they handle bespoke? Who measures the customers? How extensive, and what kind of information is collected?

    If Vass is doing bespoke, they are offering to make a pair of shoes to the specifications of the customer both in terms of fit and styling. No bespoke maker does more than that. Some do it better than others. Some concentrate on fit, some on offering a nearly bewildering array of leathers and styling variations.

    Bespoke is a magic word...with all kinds of portentous implications (let's hope it remains that way)...but it is possible to make a pair of bespoke shoes using non-traditional techniques and materials--such as gemming, cement construction, celastic for toe and heel stiffeners, or leatherboard for heel blocks or insoles , etc., etc.. Not an ideal situation nor something I would aspire to, but possible.

    That said, the likes of Anthony Delos, Lazlo Vass, and Jan Petter Myhre, are not representative of the makers extolled on this forum...most of which are manufacturers who have, to one degree or another, abandoned Traditional techniques and materials.

    To come back around, from what I've seen Vass represents a good to excellent value--they make good shoes, period. And any lack in "attention to detail, care and finishing"...or even variations in technique...can, in my opinion, be ascribed more to the Austro-Hungarian School of Making/Traditions than anything else.

    Hope that helps.

    --
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
  11. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Quote:Good stuff Mimo. That was a question worth asking for sure. And your understanding certainly accords with my own.
     
  12. SuitedDx

    SuitedDx Senior member

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    After talking to half a dozen FedEx agents... I am VERY happy with the initial impressions: #89 New Peter Last [​IMG] #75 U Last [​IMG] After about 20-25 miles of wear I should get a good feel of how these lasts really work for me. The New Peter's fit feels good with the heel to ball aligned well to my foot. The F is obviously not as generous as the New Peter, but the proportions feel right. I will give feedback in a few weeks how it works out.
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
  13. RogerP

    RogerP Senior member

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    Congrats my man, two very fine additions to your impressive collection. That F-last certainly looks like it fits you well.

    From the pic, I would have guessed U rather than F from the toe profile,
     
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2013
  14. stmaier

    stmaier Senior member

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    Very nice. Did you go with the same size in the New Peter and F lasts?
     
  15. sstomcat

    sstomcat Senior member

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    Its certainly not F, more U. Looks good though congrats.
     

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