Sunday, November 11, 2007

Today's Shoes

Gravati high-vamp penny loafers with a twin-needle stitched apron in dark red-brown grained calfskin (Gravati calls it Tibet -- the color is 39) with single leather soles (15477, 701 last). These shoes were special orders that I placed with Harold's in the Heights sometime in the early summer, and they came on Friday. 701 is a new Gravati last. It has a soft square toe that is rather flat on top, and it runs large. I had to order a half a size down to get an appropriate fit. Tibet is somewhat similar to Lama in its grain pattern, its softness, and its ability to take a high shine. I gather that both are shrunken calfskins, with the shrinking process producing the grain pattern. Most Scotch grain calf has the grain pattern stamped onto the skin, which has to be thick to take the pattern appropriately. Hence, most Scotch grain calf is stiff and rugged. Not this stuff. The color is beautiful, too. It would do wonderfully on a split-toe blucher -- maybe a split-toe blucher ankle boot.

In its regular stock, Harold's (well, actually, Jim Pierce, who owns the shoe concession at Harold's) has the same 15477 pattern on both the 500 and 640 lasts. While I was picking up the shoes on Saturday, Johnny Mykoff, who is the manager of the shoe department and who is also quite an accomplished photographer, took several pictures of the two Harold's versions and my version lined up side by side. I'm hoping that I can get him to send me a copy because it will provide eloquent testimony to how the same model of shoe can appear completely different depending on the choice of leather and last.

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