All posts in Footwear

Boat Shoes & Socks?

Ragg Wool Socks & Boat Shoes

As warmer weather draws near our thoughts turn to colorful madras, cool wearing seersucker, and of course the eschewing of socks. Today marks the first day of spring, but the weather has a mind of its own and has decided that we will have to put our warm weather gear away for at least 1 more week. If you have already been sporting your boat shoes without socks you may need to add a pair for the upcoming chilly mornings.
Boat shoes with ragg wool socksIf you are still reading after I suggested that you wear a pair of socks with boat shoes let me explain. I am not suggesting that you add a pair of dress socks or white athletic socks. I am suggesting a rustic pair of socks with texture that will turn your warm weather friend into a cool cold weather shoe.

Ragg wool socks are an Ivy/Trad staple. They have all of the traits that Trads value. They are simple, well crafted items that work well, but unlike many Trad items they are also affordable. Ragg wool socks can be had for around $10-$15 a pair. My go-to brands are L.L. Bean (Bean Ragg Sock) and Wigwam (Wigwam El-Pine), but there are lots of other companies manufacturing ragg wool socks so be sure to look around. I also recommend stopping by your local TJ Maxx/Marshalls as these are great places to find ragg wool socks for cheap.

Soon the weather will be too warm to even consider wearing socks with boat shoes. Yes, that statement means that I am strongly against the wearing of socks with boat shoes outside of what I have described above. Even no-show socks. The sock-less look (and feel!) is not for everyone, but neither are boat shoes. For those of you that want to wear socks with your boat shoes I suggest a pair of Camp Mocs (like the ones on the left). These will not look out of place with socks just don’t wear them with socks and shorts!

The Summer of Moccasins

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This summer is looking to be all about moccasins. I added a pair of LL Bean Signature camp mocs to my line up a last month, but it didn’t stop there. This time I turned to something even more casual.

What could be more casual than a pair of camp mocs you might ask. The answer is, probably nothing. What I meant to say is that I was looking for additional pair of camp mocs that are closer to traditional moccasins than shoes. My requirements were simple. I want a moccasin that is unstructured, flexible, and has a sole that allows for outdoor wear.
Summer MocsAfter some quick research I got my list of options together. I could purchase from Quoddy, Arrow, Russell, or Minnetonka. The prices ranged from $50-$300. I was leaning closer to the $50 side. The soles also ranged from a boat shoe style to double leather bottoms. I stayed away from boat style soles, because I wan’t looking for another shoe, but at the same time I was concerned that leather soled mocs wouldn’t last long with all of the abuse I was planning on giving them.

In the end I landed on a pair of classic drivers from Minnetonka (see here). This moccasin fit the bill perfectly. First and foremost, it had a great moccasin shape. Exactly what I was imagining. It also had a nub bottom s0le that will allow for me to wear them outdoors. I know that this will shorten their life span drastically, but I went into this purchase knowing that I was looking for a disposable shoe . The $58.95 price tag makes it manageable. If these mocs become the love of my life I may look into a more expensive version in the future. Until then these should do the trick.

The Myth of the Bass Weejun

Myth of the Weejun

It is no secret that I am a big fan of the Bass Weejun. Even when I try to step up my footwear game I end up coming right back to the it (All About that Bass). That is why when I read Arnie’s comment about the myth of the Weejun over at Ivy Style (See the article here) I thought that it deserved to be highlighted.

In this comment Arnie explains how the Weejun that we all think of as a very casual shoe was derived from the shoe that Norwegians would wear to formal events. When I was re-reading this comment it reminded me of the ‘Plausible History of the 3/2 Roll‘ post and how the true origin of things are often altered by time…and marketing. I am not sure if this version of the Weejun story is true, but it is certainly
worth thinking about.

Arnie | October 23, 2015 at 2:30 am |

The myth around the Norwegian origin of weejuns deserves a comment. Here in Norway similar looking shoes called “Aurland sko” have never been used by so called poor peasants. On the contrary – the Aurland shoe is used by Norwegians when we wear our national costume “bunad” (a very formal dress that can replace white tie ensemble e.g. at royal banquets and other events that call for formal wear). But when Americans discovered the shoe in Norway back in the early midst of last century they modified it by removing the silver buckle and created what is known as the loafer or penny loafer. As in so many cases we should be thankful for American modification and invention. But in Norway, the traditional loafer with a silver or metal buckle, was an expensive shoe back in the old days. And it is not suitable for wear in a tough, cold and harsh climate. Most people wore boots or sturdy shoes year round in the late 1800’s and early twentieth century. Only the ones with money (and remember that Norway was, together with Ireland, the poorest country in Europe) could afford an Aurland shoe. I had to get this of my chest, or off my foot… That said – the American penny loafer is popular in modern Norway. We owe a grateful thought to the Americans who made them affordable and available in modern, wealthy Norway. CC, keep up the great work on Ivy Style. Greetings from the far northern corner of Europe where we only wear the original weejun at formal occasions, but the penny loafer all other days when we aren’t snowed down!

The Search for Classic Golf Shoes

Golf Shoe Search

I am back on my golf kick. While I am by no means a natural athlete I usually pick up sports pretty quickly. At least well enough to not embarrass myself. Golf on the other hand has turned out to be a whole different story, but I am making progress. In fact, I got my fist par last week! Now that I am getting comfortable enough to get out on the course more regularly I need to invest in a pair of golf shoes.

I spent some time last week hunting down a pair of classic golf shoes. It turns out this not an easy task if you want something saddle-like in brown leather. Which of course I did, I even found a pair for or two in the $200 range, but my current golf game is not yet deserving of such nice shoes. Below are my top 3 picks for classic looking golf shoes and my runner-up .

1. Allen Edmonds First Cut Golf Shoes – $295
Allen Edmonds makes some of the best classic dress shoes around so it is no wonder that they do the same when it comes to golf. These classic saddles have a rugged distressed look which is great for the course and are eligible for recrafting adding some lifetime value to the purchase. Allen Edmonds First Cut Golf Shoes2. FootJoy Custom DryJoys Tour – $230
I used FootJoy’s My Joy custom online program to whip up these saddles. There are numerous color options to pick from, but this pair which consists of a waxy bomber brown base with a brown smooth leather saddle are gorgeous. If it were not for the futuristic sole these may have been my #1 pick. FootJoy DryJoy Custom3. FootJoy City – $190
These FJ City’s are reminiscent of a pair of dirty bucks with their tan base and brick red sole making them a natural choice for the trad golfer. Coming in at under $200 dollars they also don’t hit the pockets quite as hard as the first two. FootJoy CityRunner up – Footjoy Superlites 2-13 Closeout – $59.99

Last, but not least is the pair that I purchased. Before you start thinking that I am in bed with the people at Footjoy I am not (FootJoy people, call me!), but they do seem to cater to the traditional crowd more than most. I chose this pair, because the style and price all lined up. I can’t give a detailed review t this time as I am still eagerly waiting for them to arrive. Footjoy SuperlitesI am going to settle for the white & tan saddles at the moment. As I said, my game needs a lot of improvement before I can make justify dropping $200 or more on a pair of golf shoes, but it is good to know that there still are some classic looking golf shoes on the market.

It does seem that there are very few companies targeting the traditional/classic/heritage market. The two biggest players appear to be Footjoy and Allen Edmonds (don’t forget to check the AE shoe bank!). Are there any golf shoes that I overlooked?

Penny Loafers in Print

Penny For the Chap Image

Two weeks ago I received an email from a reader letting me know that a UK magazine called The Chap had used one of my images. I had never heard of the magazine, but the readers described it as a, “tongue in cheek “journal for the modern gentleman.” ” You can never be too sure, so I quickly looked it up to see if it was about menswear or some other fetish. It is the former.  Penny Loafers in Print This post really isn’t about The Chap magazine image, but what the incident led me to think about. I thought about my blog in general. I was humbled that a reader recognized a relatively old image of mine in a magazine and then took the time to tell me about it  (Thanks again, Stephen!). At times it is hard to know if people are enjoying the blog, but interactions with readers like this are a much appreciated reminder that many do.

Last, but not least I thought about the fact that they chose an image of the Bass Logan Weejun for their article. I haven’t actually read it, but it looks like a short-history-plus-how-and-where-to-buy article. In my opinion, this is just another piece of evidence to confirm that the Logan Weejun has the classic penny loafer shape.

On that note, Bass doesn’t currently offer the Logan in brown on their site (only black & burgundy), but you can pick a pair up at Zappos, but with contrast stitching (see here).