Friday, November 9, 2007

Today's Shoes

Alden long wing bluchers in tan small-scale Scotch-grain calfskin (Alden calls it alpine) with a reverse welt and double leather soles (Barrie last). A week can't go by without me wearing one of my two pairs of long wings. The criticism that I usually make of Alden is that their lasts lack elegance or aesthetic appeal. It's true: compare a shoe made on Alden's Aberdeen last (the sleekest of all of their lasts) to one made on Edward Green's 82, and you will be struck by how brutal the Alden shoe looks. Of all the Alden lasts, Barrie is the most brutal-looking, and I have always hated to see good-looking models made up on Barrie. Over time, though, my opinion has softened somewhat. Barrie is relatively flat across the vamp, and the walls and toe slope steeply up to that plateau. In some respects, it resembles classic central European-style lasts like Vass's Budapest, although the walls aren't perpendicular to the sole and the toe isn't slightly upturned. So I guess that it's appropriate for shoes that are similar to central European-style shoes in scale, and the Alden long wing is nothing if not a shoe on a scale similar to most central European shoes. I continue not to like to see Barrie used for things like the split-toe blucher (Aberdeen works so much better) and the chukka (Plaza would be better on that, as well), but I can appreciate the style it brings to the table on a shoe like the long wing.

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