All posts in Footwear

Wallabees in the Wild

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A pair of Clarks Wallabees may not be one of the first shoes that come to mind when one thinks of Trad, Ivy, or Preppy shoes. In fact, it may remind some readers of one of the most non-traditional decades in terms of dress the 1970’s. However, Wallabees have been a part of my wardrobe since the mid-90’s and there is something that I find classically casual about the shoe.

It is true that most classic casual shoes such as the penny loafer, bit loafer, tassel loafer (probably a few more loafers), and of course their brand cousin the desert boot are all pretty sleek. The Wallabee is not a sleek shoe and may have more in common with a long wing gunboat or all weather walkers with its chunky sole than its casual counterparts. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Sometimes hearty clothes such as wide wale cords, a flannel shirt, jeans, or even a thick sweater can use an equally chunky shoe to balance out the look.
Authentic-Wallabee-Clark-570x300

If you are looking for an alternative to the boat shoe or camp moc I think that the Wallabee can make a nice addition especially in the spring/fall months. For those that are still on the fence I have included a few pics that may help to win you over and remember to always look for the real thing (Clarks Wallabee vs Clarks Padmore).

Wallabees in the Winter

Wallabees for Business

 These may not be Wallabees, but they could be.

Cords-Shetland-WallabeesMens Club 1981 via Heavy Tweed JacketWallabees and Sweater

Weejun Repair Part Two

Brown Weejuns

It was time to get new soles for my brown Weejuns. Well, not just soles, the heels are wearing down, too. Basically, they need an overhaul. The last time (and my first time) that I took a pair of loafers in for new soles I walked away from the situation a little disappointed. I planned on changing that this time around.

Before I start discussing my experience I am sure that many of you are wondering why am I spending money to repair a pair of Weejuns?  After all Weejuns are generally considered to be throw away shoes by anyone who has any experience with quality shoes. My reasoning is actually quite simple. They fit well and they are comfortable. These are two attributes that should never be overlooked.

New Weejun Sole

Weejuns-with-New-SolesNewly repaired Weejuns on the top. Previously repaired Weejuns with half-soles on the bottom.

Armed with the knowledge that I gained from my previous experience I headed to the cobbler. This time I went to a different cobbler that I had heard good things about even though the shop was 30 minutes away. It’s not that the previous cobbler did a bad job, but I wanted to see if there was a difference in the experience and quality of work.

When I showed them my shoes the first thing the man said was, “Well, we have a few options.” This was music to my ears. He presented both the full sole and half-sole options and explained the benefits of each. This is exactly what I felt that my previous experience lacked; the advice of an expert.
Brown Weejun Comparison PicWeejun Comparison Burgundy 2I went with the full sole and heel replacement. I was not disappointed. The shoes were returned to me looking brand new unlike the prior half-sole replacement. You can see this in the image above. The newly repaired Weejuns are on top and the previously half-soled Weejuns below.

The biggest difference is that the sole of this loafer did not gain bulk like the ones that received half-soles (see above). Also, because the entire sole was replaced there are no remains of the previously cracked sole (see below) like there is on my other pair. The full sole repair cost an extra $15 (a total of $60), which was well worth it in my opinion. However, I have a feeling that having a half-sole repair done here may yield better results than those done by the other repair shop.

Cracked Sole

One of the main goals of this blog is for me to make mistakes which will hopefully save the reader from having to make the same mistakes. Now I know that many of the readers of this blog possess a level of knowledge about clothing that I may never attain, but I am sure that many readers like me are still learning the ropes. My hope is that posts like this help to speed up the learning curve.

An Entry Level Tassel Loafer: The Bass Eddington

Bass Tassel Loafers

I am a big fan of tassel loafers, but I know that they are not for everyone. Some people think that they look too ornate which directly conflicts with the Trad ethos of utilitarian simplicity much like the always controversial horse bit loafer(Just read through the commments). However, to me the Alden or Allen Edmonds (AE) tassel is a shoe that says you have arrived. Unfortunately, I have yet to arrive and these sleek tassels are still out of my price range, but I did find an affordable alternative that I think is a good fit for me. This tassel is the Bass Eddington.
Allen Edmond Grayson Loafer                                  The more sophisticated and sleek AE Grayson Tassel Moc for comparison.

The Bass Eddington has a different shape than the Alden or AE tassel. It is much more of a casual loafer. They feature contrast stitching and are only available in a rich brown color. They wouldn’t look appropriate with grey flannel trousers and a blazer like the other two, but they look right at home with a tweed sport coat, cords, or even chinos and a sweater which is exactly where my wardrobe lives.
Bass Eddington Tassel w Argyle SocksBass is not known for producing high quality footwear, but I really like these tassels. The leather is supple and they are comfortable right out of the box. I think that the fact that Bass uses a Blake welt stitching construction is a big part of why they are so comfortable. To top it off, I picked them at the Bass outlet for around $75. If you are in need of an introductory tassel the Bass Eddington may be worth checking out.

Questions For Your Cobbler

Questions for your cobbler

Not too long ago I posted  about the hole that I had worn in the bottom of my Weejuns (Penny Loafers for Penny Pinchers). I thought that my loafers were done for as the damage had made its way through the cork, but due to the encouragement of my readers I took them to my local cobbler for an assessment. It turned out to be the best choice as he was able to repair my loafers, but I was not as prepared as I prefer to be in such situations. I thought that I could use this experience to help those of you who like me are inexperienced with shoe repair to have a few questions prepared for your cobbler.

My Local CobblerMy Local Cobbler

My loafers were returned to me repaired using a different method than I had expected. Expecting, but not requesting, or at least inquiring was my first mistake. I only asked if they could be repaired and that was it. I should have asked how he was going repair them. There are two types of shoe repair, full soles and half-soles. Both methods are exactly what they sound like. Full sole repair involves replacing the full sole and half soles; you guessed it, half soles.

Weejuns Before RepairWeejuns before repair. Notice the finished stitching.

Most people tend to recommend half soles for cheaper shoes and full soles for a quality shoe. Full sole repair involves replacing everything from the toe to the heel.  Half sole repair is when the toe and instep area are replaced. You can think of full sole repair as replacing a tire while half sole repair is more comparable to mending the tire. However, many have indicated that a half sole repair can hold up if well done.

Weejuns with New Half SolesWeejuns after repair. Here you can notice the absence of stitching.

I expected a full sole repair, but I received a half sole repair. I also expected the soles to be stitched, but they were only glued. Now all soles are glued, but I expected stitching as well, because that is the way they were originally finished. Was my cobbler wrong for using this method, I don’t think so, but I would have appreciated being consulted or at least informed as to how he intended to repair the shoes.

My Repaired Weejuns

The new half soles are thicker than the originals

Despite being surprised by the finished product this was a good learning experience. I now know that if I want a full sole shoe repair I should ask for it. I also know to inquire about the possibilities of resoling my shoes. Will they finish the shoe with stitching?  If not, why? What other options are there? I hope that my experience can help those of you who are thinking about visiting a cobbler for your first time. Remember there are no stupid questions.  I am looking forward to wearing out the soles of my Weejuns for a second time.

My White Bucks

White Bucks

Summer is quickly coming to an end and I wanted to break out my white bucks before it completely passed me by and the chance was lost. White bucks are not a shoe that I would have purchased for myself, but the nice people over at G.H. Bass & Co. sent me a pair (unsolicited), of their Buckingham white bucks, which is very much appreciated (Thank You!). While I have shied away from such a bold shoe, white bucks are quintessentially American and there is no shoe that says summer quite like a pair of white bucks.

White Bucks in EsquireFrom Esquire Magazine via The Weejun

Wearing these shoes presented a challenge. I generally try to construct outfits that fly under the radar and this is hard to do while wearing bright white suede shoes. For my first outing, I paired them with a poplin Brooks Brothers 3/2 sack blazer, chinos, and a light blue/pink repp tie. I thought that pink/blue tie complimented the shoes and added a touch of playfulness to the outfit. Overall, I was comfortable in the outfit and I received multiple compliments on the bucks, but I thought that I could do better.

White Bucks Outfit 1Outfit #1

My second outfit was actually inspired by an old picture of Joseph Kennedy, Joe Jr. and a young JFK. My outfit was very different from theirs, but it was the casual sophistication of their outfits that I wanted to capture. This time I paired my white bucks with chinos, a white OCBD, Uniqlo linen jacket, and blue tie with red/white stripes. I thought that this tie added more contrast to the outfit as I had previously planned on wearing a pink Gant tie. In my opinion, this outfit was a success. I felt and looked at ease, exactly as you should on a sunny summer day.

White Bucks Outfit 2Outfit #2

Inspiration PicKennedy Inspiration Picture

White bucks have won over a new fan. As I previously said, I was apprehensive about wearing such a bold shoe, especially considering that I try to avoid rather than garner attention. However, the tradition of the shoe along with their association with summer inspired a laid back attitude in me which overcame my fear of looking like a dandy. I am actually a little disappointed that I waited so long to give my white bucks a try, but next summer is not as far away as it seems.