Friday, May 25, 2007

Today's Shoes

Since it's Friday, I wore the same pair of shoes all day. Imagine that! These are Mephisto Marlon plain-toe bluchers in chestnut pebble grain, purchased yesterday from Harold's, where they had been special-ordered for me. Mephisto has managed to develop quite a reputation as the world's finest walking shoes, and I decided to see how well-deserved that reputation was. Unfortunately for me, they are also the makers of some of the ugliest shoes that I have ever seen. These Marlons aren't exactly earth-shakingly beautiful, but they're not that bad. They're also from Mephisto's Goodyear-welted line, and they represent the best that Mephisto has to offer.

You can't see it from the picture, but the last that these shoes are on is butt-ugly -- it's bulbous and blobby with no shape or line. It's even uglier than Alden's Barrie, and that's saying a lot. The only thing saving these is that the plain-toe blucher design doesn't call for much sexiness (although it can be sexy). I really hate the little Mephisto tag on the quarters, but that's nothing that an X-acto knife can't fix.

The construction appears to be pretty standard Goodyear with a storm welt. The number of stitches per inch on the welt is not particularly high, but I don't get the feeling that these are cheap or going to fall apart. The stitching on the upper is regular and tightly-spaced. One feature that I particularly like is that the leather around the throat of the shoe is folded under, meaning that there are no exposed leather edges there. It's a minor touch, but it shows that someone cares about the shoes. The rubber soles are light-weight, similar to microcellular Vibram soles that one sees from time to time.

I can't say that I walked a ton today, but what walking I did do was very comfortable. The rubber sole and other construction elements provide a great deal of cushioning. I don't know if these will turn out to be the most comfortable walking shoes money can buy, but they promise to do very well. The only real complaints that I have are that the heels are lined in suede, which I hate because the suede grips one's socks and causes them to irritate one's heels, and that they run very wide. I don't have narrow feet, but I could have taken a narrow width.

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