Friday, September 28, 2007

Today's Shoes

Alden split-toe bluchers in Color #8 shell cordovan with double leather soles (model 2210, Aberdeen last). There are four canonical American styles of lace-up shoes: the wholecut plain-toe blucher, the long wingtip blucher, the saddle bal, and the Norwegian split-toe blucher. This is not to say that these styles necessarily originated in the United States (although some of them might have), just that they were popularized here and that there was a time when every American shoe manufacturer had all four models, and all four were among their top sellers. The highest expression of all of these styles was in Color #8 (deep burgundy) shell cordovan. Alas, all decent American shoe manufacturers except for Alden and Allen-Edmonds have either shut down or moved production overseas and are now selling a sadly diminished product. And Allen-Edmonds has lamentably retired some of these models (the saddle bal and the Norwegian split-toe) in favor of trendy-wannabe new designs. Alden not only still makes all four; they still make all four in shell cordovan.

Shell cordovan cannot be stretched over the last like calfskin can be. Consequently, shoes made from shell cordovan tend to fit slightly more loosely than shoes made from calfskin in the same size on the same last. The result of this is that even though Aberdeen is Alden's narrowest last, these shoes are still a bit loose in the heel. They're killer, though, in a good old fuddy-duddy American way.

No comments: