Wednesday, 23 January 2013

English Shoes: Timeless Classic Symbols of Elegance*

There is undoubtedly a special feel to high-tier, well-made English gentleman’s shoes, particularly when they are made using traditional materials such as well-sourced leather and stitched to match. They have a distinctive, timeless feel to them that is just as fashionable and suitable for the modern man as they were in the twentieth century and before. 

Photograph by Thai Pham (via Flickr)

The process for making quality shoes is a deep and involved one; at Crockett and Jones, for example, uppers and linings are cut by hand (after the leather is minutely examined for any defects) before the uppers are then closed (using different methods such as punching holes for brogues, or perhaps machine stitching and the fitting on eyelets. The insoles are then cut and attached to the rib of the material before stitching. After this point, the separate constituent pasts are tacked and pulled together carefully by machine, before hand stitching completes the main body of the shoe. Finally, the heels are attached, trimmed and smoothed, the edges are trimmed and the uppers are hand polished. Hot wax is used on the edges of the heels and soles to make them waterproof and shinier than they would otherwise be. 

Knightsbridge is possibly one of the most famous retail districts in London for high-end fashion items, with a particularly high concentration of shoe suppliers. One of the most well-regarded names in the fashion and designer clothing industry, Harvey Nichols, has been based there since 1831, and is now one of the most well-established department stores in London. Knightsbridge shoes are routinely of high quality, and frequently have stylish accessories made for them: shoe trees, for example are usually a good idea when acquiring luxury shoes so as to help them maintain their integrity.

Taking care of luxury shoes once you’ve purchased them is occasionally more demanding than more casual wear; as well as using shoe trees as mentioned above there are other techniques and items you can use to prolong the life of your footwear. For example, using good quality wax polish on the uppers, careful use of a suede brush made of rubber to remove dirt, avoiding damp conditions initially after purchase and afterwards allowing the shoes to dry away from sources of high heat (such as radiators). In addition, shoehorns can help protect the heels, as well.

Photograph by Fgfoot via wikimedia

* Guest Post

 

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