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happypebble

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Question: I have a pair of white loafers on the way. Should I wear white socks with them, or black for contrast?
 

happypebble

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Question 2: what's up with shell and cracking? Is shell overly prone to crack? (I don't have a pair in shell, so no experience with it) There seems to be a lot of cracking going on in this thread, but much less so with calf.
 

wasmisterfu

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My early 80's Johnston & Murphy Crown Aristocraft shell shortwings were starting to develop two teeny tiny cracks in the broguing at the top of the back of one of them. Cobbler Steve from Odessa really outdid himself, with both the reinforcing job and the color match.
View attachment 1416536View attachment 1416537
The original design had broguing all the way around the back, but I don't mind this change. Pants cuffs cover this area anyway.
View attachment 1416538View attachment 1416539
I think these will be good now for another 35 years or so.
View attachment 1416540
Damn, that’s a really well executed repair. Looks factory... as in part of the upper pattern.
 

wasmisterfu

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Question: I have a pair of white loafers on the way. Should I wear white socks with them, or black for contrast?
General rule is socks should either match the pants or the shoes in some fashion. With a loafer, I often go sock-less, so that’s an option. I think white loafers with chinos would look extra sprezzy without socks (or no-show socks). However, I’m kinda leaning towards contrast if you’re going to wear full socks.

That said, I wear LWB’s with shorts... to the beach... so maybe I’m not a good source of advice on such matters.
 

happypebble

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Contrast all the way. (And pics, of course...)
Oh, of course. These are vintage Florsheim horse bit loafers--Como, I think. Date code is FJ for those fooling around with the Vcleat date finder.
 
Last edited:

woofmang

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Question 2: what's up with shell and cracking? Is shell overly prone to crack? (I don't have a pair in shell, so no experience with it) There seems to be a lot of cracking going on in this thread, but much less so with calf.
I'm sure there are better answers out there, but I think it's just that shell is a material that's more susceptible to drying out with age and neglect than calf. I say "age and neglect" because I have a pair of Alden 994s that I bought new around 2004 that have been well maintained, and have aged very well - no hint of cracking (of course, they're less than 20 years old, but still...).
20200524_994s.jpg
I also have a pair of AE Bristols that are ~25 years old that are similarly aging quite well, which I attribute to them having been well cared for (I got them from fellow enthusiast @Lmrjfud, who had taken very good care of them).

20200625_bristols.jpg


I'm hoping somebody with more knowledge than me will step up to give a better answer than this, but it gave me an excuse to post pics of two of my favorite pairs, so there's that... ;)
 

woofmang

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My early 80's Johnston & Murphy Crown Aristocraft shell shortwings were starting to develop two teeny tiny cracks in the broguing at the top of the back of one of them. Cobbler Steve from Odessa really outdid himself, with both the reinforcing job and the color match.
View attachment 1416536View attachment 1416537
The original design had broguing all the way around the back, but I don't mind this change. Pants cuffs cover this area anyway.
View attachment 1416538View attachment 1416539
I think these will be good now for another 35 years or so.
View attachment 1416540
That's really outstanding work! And a beautiful pair of shoes.
 

suitforcourt

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Question 2: what's up with shell and cracking? Is shell overly prone to crack? (I don't have a pair in shell, so no experience with it) There seems to be a lot of cracking going on in this thread, but much less so with calf.
I'm sure there are better answers out there, but I think it's just that shell is a material that's more susceptible to drying out with age and neglect than calf. I say "age and neglect" because I have a pair of Alden 994s that I bought new around 2004 that have been well maintained, and have aged very well - no hint of cracking (of course, they're less than 20 years old, but still...).
I also have a pair of AE Bristols that are ~25 years old that are similarly aging quite well, which I attribute to them having been well cared for (I got them from fellow enthusiast @Lmrjfud, who had taken very good care of them).

View attachment 1416792

I'm hoping somebody with more knowledge than me will step up to give a better answer than this, but it gave me an excuse to post pics of two of my favorite pairs, so there's that... ;)
I've had a few pairs of shell crack on me. 2 pairs were in the eyelet area. So going forward, all vintage shell are getting grommets to reinforce the eyelets.

Another pair cracked in the vamp area. Why? From what I understand, while shell is very durable, it is susceptible to cracking if not cared for, or went through extreme conditions.

I try to condition shell before each wear. And even then, the one pair cracked at the vamp. I assume they were pretty dry already.

I think cracking of shell is inevitable, no matter how diligent the care regime is.
 

stook1

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I think cracking of shell is inevitable, no matter how diligent the care regime is.
I'm not sure anyone knows the answer to this for sure (at least I certainly don't) but what about shell that has been consistently maintained since new? Perhaps the shell is weakened if it's allowed to dry out during its lifetime.
 

madhat

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I'm not sure anyone knows the answer to this for sure (at least I certainly don't) but what about shell that has been consistently maintained since new? Perhaps the shell is weakened if it's allowed to dry out during its lifetime.
I think the drying out (typical of ebay finds) is the big killer. I've seen people seriously using their shell with no ill effects. Way more wear than anyone here puts on a single pair. There's a few in the "Alden Army" that basically wear their shell everyday as work boots for years, and they look magical.
 

stook1

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I think the drying out (typical of ebay finds) is the big killer. I've seen people seriously using their shell with no ill effects. Way more wear than anyone here puts on a single pair. There's a few in the "Alden Army" that basically wear their shell everyday as work boots for years, and they look magical.
That's my thinking too. But I'm talking about a way longer time horizon. For example, lets say someone out there has a pair of vintage shell that were bought 40 years ago, worn every sunday, and properly maintained. Still good? I think - yes. But I'm not in a position to give any kind of authoritative answer on that considering the oldest shell that I bought new is still only 5-10 years old.
 

madhat

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That's my thinking too. But I'm talking about a way longer time horizon. For example, lets say someone out there has a pair of vintage shell that were bought 40 years ago, worn every sunday, and properly maintained. Still good? I think - yes. But I'm not in a position to give any kind of authoritative answer on that considering the oldest shell that I bought new is still only 5-10 years old.
I think so too. The pairs that were slathered in wax and then thrown in a closet for 20 years are the ones that suffer.
 

stook1

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I think so too. The pairs that were slathered in wax and then thrown in a closet for 20 years are the ones that suffer.
I have another curiosity for you. I recently flipped two pair of vintage NOS shell shoes. Despite one pair being from, if recollection serves, 1980 (?) and the other from the early 90s, neither of them were even remotely dry. Both supple. Perhaps more supple even than some of my very new shell. I'm not sure how to explain that. While it's true that I was not the original owner, it seems unlikely that someone had been maintaining them all these years. Anyway... I guess time will tell for my own pairs. I'm a believer in routine-ish maintenance (ie. conditioning).
 

friendlygoz

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The 5 is the 65, aka boulevard last. It’s the same last that they use today. Personally, one of the things I like about collecting AE’s, is that certain lasts (the 65, 97, 73, etc.) have remained consistent. My 97 last shoes made in the late 60’s fit essentially the same way my 97 last shoes made in the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s and 00’s. What you have to watch out for is last numbers (single or final digit numerals) get reassigned. The current 511 or 108, is not the same as the 1 and 8 last from the 70’s.

That said the 73, 65 and 97 are the same, with models like the Fifth Ave and MacNeil having been built continuously on those lasts.
You never cease to amaze me with your AE knowledge. Thanks for this. I can’t do the 65 in my normal size. I guess I can’t do the boulevard last either then.
 

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