Dear Readers,

If you are reading this text, that means that you are on the old version of my blog. I have changed platforms and am now using Wordpress. You can find the updated version of my site at:

www.theshoesnobblog.com

Sincerely,

Justin, "The Shoe Snob"

Friday, August 2, 2013

New Webpage For The Shoe Snob

Dear Readers,

This Blogger version of The Shoe Snob is no longer active from this day forward.

The new The Shoe Snob Blog will be located at:


Thanks as always for your continued support and I hope that you enjoy the new layout

Sincerely,

Justin, "The Shoe Snob"

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Blog Makeover + Shoe Goodness




Dear Readers,

Well the day has finally come that the blog will undergo a bit of changes through a new platform (wordpress) and a new design/layout. However, this means that in the morning, tomorrow (GMT time), the blog will be down for a few hours as the transition takes place. I hope that you all will enjoy the new updated feel of the blog and I look forward, as I hope that you do too, to the new The Shoe Snob and all that the future will bring!! I have been thinking of new things to start doing and while it will take time to put it all in place, I am sure that it will all be worth it when the time comes. To give you a hint, the idea is to bring all of you more exclusive shoes, not only with my own brand but with others too!!

In the meanwhile, enjoy some random beauties below, in black/grey!!

Sincerely,

Justin, "The Shoe Snob"

Corthay

Carmina

Carmina

Septieme Largeur

Septieme Largeur

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Cleverley Tassel Loafers - Could Be Best Ever!!


It truly is amazing to undergo mental change and understand it as it is happening. What I mean by that is the fact that when I used to work for Nordstrom, I used to hate tassel loafers but now I love them. Then again, the selection there was limited to the Cole Haan pinch tassel, some boring Allen Edmonds tassel and maybe one of those old man Santoni's loafers. That being, there was not much to really appreciate nor like and thinking back on it now, I realize that still hate them all.

But having come to Europe and seeing what they make here, mainly in England and France, has helped me realize just how beautiful a tassel loafer can be if done right, nailing the proportions and last shape. For example, this Cleverley tassel loafer is probably one of the nicest options that I have ever seen in my life. Everything about it is bang on, and quite possibly the color makes me like it even that much more. This is how they should be done, and to the companies out there doing them way differently than this, well...take note!

Giving it a second look, I realize that the reason that this one in particular is so nice to my eyes is due to the fact that fundamentally, it is a wholecut loafer with all of the  bits added after the fact....what a beauty!!

Monday, July 29, 2013

Managing Your Shoe Purchase Expectations

G&G, the perfect shoemaker. When buying these they should be flawless, but that is what you should get for +£700

I recently had a nice cab ride here in Central London with a lovely fellow who used to play professional football (soccer) back in the early 70's. We got to chatting, so he asked what I was doing living in London and I told him that I was a shoe designer. He then began to tell me of how he appreciated a nice shoe and how he once bought a pair of handmade shoes from Foster & Son back in the early 60's for £150, which presumably back then was a lot of money. These days £150 won't get you much in terms of handmade shoes, let alone a good factory made shoe yet people think that for not too much more than that they should be getting top notch quality. Talking to this gentleman, plus thinking about the posts that I have recently done about leather quality and reading all of the comments that people make about Meermin shoes on Style Forum (the complaints are what I am referring to here), got me thinking that many people these days expect to get gold for the price of copper and something has give. Having now been in the industry looking at it from the inside out and thus spending more time with others in the industry too, has certainly gotten me to see things that I did not see before and understand the realities of it a lot better than I ever could have.

Meermin Mallorca, some of the best value for money shoes around. Not perfect, but well made and definitely worth the price!



1st grade, what you find in most +£600 shoes. 2nd grade more used on the £200-£400's, with a bit of 1st grade too for the cap's and vamps...

The plain and simple fact is that if you look hard enough (almost as if you are wishing it to be there, just for the sake of complaining), then there is always going to be something to pick out of a shoe that is sub £400: a small wrinkle in the leather, a 1-2mm off center facing line (where the laces are), a wonky welt stitch, a medallion not centered or in the exact same spot as it's partner, a crooked cap, a top line not cleaned up so nicely, a slightly crooked center heel closing stitch, a bit of sloppy edge dressing etc. But none of these things take away from the actual quality of the shoe, only the perfect aesthetic side of it. Yet these are the things that people love to complain the most about. It is not enough to simply get a well made shoe, it now has to be well made, cost less than £300 and be spotless under a microscope.

Many people's expectations have gone so far off that I can't imagine how they buy anything anymore without complaining about it or asking for a discount and to me it is just plain silly and quite disgusting if I might add. The amount of crap that I read on the Meermin Mallorca thread on Style Forum makes me feel sorry for Pepe and the likes having to deal with people who are simply never satisfied and almost just want to complain for the sake of it even though they are getting among the best deals in footwear. Were else can you find a handwelted shoe with good grade leather and clean finishing for sub £250? Nowhere, that's where!! Yet people love to complain about every little detail that is slightly off. It does not make sense.While I am the self proclaimed "Shoe Snob" and therefore do look at every single detail myserf, I do so with reason and common sense in mind, knowing that I cannot judge the Meermin the same as I do the G&G, as well as ask myself whether the flaw that I notice affects the quality of the shoe or simply an aesthetic part that only I will see?




Shoes are a funny thing. They forever in time have been the product that people will spend the least on (when it comes to their wardrobe) but also be the thing that people complain the most about. Do the same people that complain about every minute detail, do the same thing when buying a house or a car or a meal at a restaurant, wanting to spend a fraction of the price yet get the top quality? It's weird, but I really feel that many many people's expectations when it comes to shoes are just so far skewed that it is going to start ruining it for certain brands out there. You don't expect to buy a £17 filet mignon and it to taste like the one at the most posh restaurant in town that cost £80. If you do, then you are a fool. Just because they are both filet mignon doesn't mean that they are the same cut, quality of meat, or cooked in the same way. Same for shoes. Just because a shoe is made from Europe and is goodyear welted, mean that the Meermin at sub £250 should be just as flawless as the G&G at +£700. That is ludicrous.....yet so many people expect it.

So people, realize that in the world we live in, where quality of leather has gone down due to the amount of vegetarians (could not be true but it sounds good ;-), among other reasons and thus the loss of trade in the industry due to decreasing demand toppled by a growing consumer market that continually wants the best quality at the lowest cost in the shortest amount of time possible, that shoemakers are now resorting to using as much of the leather hide that they can (meaning grades 2-3) as well as cutting corners to produce more and more to please the consumers. That means that quality is inevitably going down, while leather prices continue to go up (thus as well as retail prices) all in order to supply the masses that want perfection at the bottom dollar.....it's a vicious spiral, but it will only end if we start to manage our expectations and be patient for our custom made shoes.......

All pictures courtesy of Style Forum

Friday, July 26, 2013

Sartorial Footwear - The New Slipper Company to Watch Out For!



The slipper shape/pattern is definitely among my all time favorite looks. It is just so non-fussy, simple and versatile, and due to these brilliant factors they can be worn with virtually anything casual to smart-casual. While I would personally love to wear bespoke suits everyday (and thus bespoke shoes), I simply cannot afford that lifestyle and am subjected to simply being as smart casual as I can be (which I also love) and it just so happens that a slipper shoe goes with everything that in this category, which I think is precisely why I have always been so attracted to them. I don't find myself wearing the thinner soled versions as much (even though I have a few pairs), not because I don't like them, but mainly because I have quite roughed up feet and personally really need that support on my arch for the 'ol plantar fasciitis. Had I not had this ironic problem, I would probably be living in slippers morning, day and night!!!




While you will find a lot of slippers companies these days hashing out customized this and that, I must say that while some have cooler designs than others, you find that they all quite look and feel the same. What apparently separates Sartorial Footwear from the masses is the personalized construction and high quality of the materials used. While the company is still quite small, this means that the majority of the work is still done by the founder. And what he does, is hand-last each pair. That being, while the construction of the sole is cemented, the product as a whole is still theoretically a "handmade" shoe as everything is done (put on) by hand. And to top it off, they sourced materials (i.e leather) from the same suppliers that many of the top-notch Northampton shoemakers do too. So, instead of having the 'ol run-of-the-mill velvet, you are getting top grade suedes, fabrics and linings to back it all. While I personally have not had the experience of testing them out, I am already eye-ing up those green herringbones in the background of the above picture and will let you all know as soon as I do, how the quality compares to others!

(p.s. they even have ladies one's, and they are really cool!!!)


In the meanwhile, I hope that everyone has a great weekend!!

Sincerely,

Justin, "The Shoe Snob"









Thursday, July 25, 2013

What I am Working On



I am a bit busy here in Spain so can't really write much but just thought that I would share with you what I am working on while here. Not everything you see in this post will be available right away, but some of them will be coming this winter, like the new suedes!! Hope that you all enjoy what you see....great things coming soon!!

Sincerely,

Justin, "The Shoe Snob"





Tuesday, July 23, 2013

J.FitzPatrick Spring/Summer Now in Stock


So needless to say it's been quite a learning experience understanding the ropes of turnaround/replenishment times from the day that I place an order to the day that I receive the order in full. Some things come as quick as 6-8 weeks, others as slow as 8-14 weeks. It can be quite frustrating at times, but I believe that the new found delay has been due to a more strict quality control put in place at the factory. Which means that instead of sending me a 2nd (or worse), they will bin it at the factory and remake me the shoe. However, this then causes delays, especially if a lot of shoes need to be re-made. But nevertheless, it is still Summer, particularly here in London with  this horrible heat wave that we are experiencing, which means there is no better time to get a new pair of loafers! ;-)






As you can see my new loafers are all cousins to my Laurelhurst loafer, being on the same exact pattern and last, only changing details like a tassel, material or sole. The suede tassel loafer is called the Ravenna and it currently comes in two colorways: snuff & navy suede. The sole is made of rubber, but still welted like my leather shoes. The rubber sole however is thin, allowing for a profile of a leather sole, and thus being able to wear in a smart manner. The denim loafer with leather sole is called the Laurelhurst II and is currently a limited edition shoe (depending on how well it does!), with only 10 pairs in stock. Unfortunately I was not able to do size UK12 (US13) in these models as money was a bit tight when placing the order. So they only go up to UK11 (US12). They are all available at Gieves & Hawkes and will also be available through my company via Paypal, by emailing me, should you live outside of London and wish to obtain a pair. The prices are £295 for the Ravenna in suede and £285 for the Laurelhurst II in denim.



I have always been more of an A/W man myself. I like the idea of heavy things i.e. flannels, layering one's clothing, overcoats, boots etc.. That being you can see that my new summer collection is quite small, but tomorrow I will be at my factory to place my order for my A/W collection (set to arrive Nov/Dec). This order will be a big one, mainly replacing most of what I have currently on sale, that being a few new boots, a new oxford brogue on a new last, some new colorways on existing models and even possibly something else up my sleeve.... So, enjoy the loafers now and stay tuned for more!!

On another note, Edward Green has teamed up with Drakes and Mackintosh to have another summer sample sale with product going out the door for up to 70% off. It starts tomorrow so get there early before all of the good stuff goes!! Check out the mail out below:

The Haberdashers' sale - up to 70% off

Edward Green are joining together with Drake's and Mackintosh for a special sample sale this week in Hoxton.

It's always a pleasure working with such icons of British menswear, particularly so given the pop-up will be in Drake's new workshop.

This is an opportunity to choose from the stock normally available at our own Northampton factory shop. Shoes will be selling at significant reductions - up to 70% off normal retail. There is a wide variety of shoes available, as we clear good quality odd and imperfect stock.

Of course there will be a wonderful range of ties, scarves, shirts and coats available from Drake's and Mackintosh.

Make sure to pay a visit - this really will be the sale of the year for London's sartorialists.


3 Haberdasher Street, N1 6ED
Wednesday 24th to Saturday 27th July
Wed. 10- 8pm | Thurs. - Sat. 12-6pm
-------------------------------------------------
Maximum of five pairs per customer. Personal shoppers only.
No shoes can be sent out. Cards are welcome. No returns will be accepted.

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