All posts in Footwear

It’s Your Thing

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I found Christian Chensvold from Ivy Style’s post on Beatnik Prep refreshing. It’s not so much that I loved the style, but that I liked seeing someone inject their own point of view, interests, and style into the look whether that look be Ivy League Style, Prep, or Trad. One way that I do this is with my sneakers.
Polo Shirt & Sneakers
patagonia and sneakersI love running sneakers. I especially love running sneakers from the late 80’s-90’s. Even though I have weaned myself off of sneakers over the years they are still a part of my life. I primarily wear these sneakers for errands (especially when too cold or rainy for no-socks), neighborhood walks, hiking, canoeing, urban exploring, and the most casual of social events. Like Christian I even have a name for this style which I call 90’s hip-hop cross country team prep. Not a real thing or very catchy I know. I take a pair of khaki chino shorts and a polo shirt or chinos and a blue OCBD add my sneaks and there you have it.
Nike Icarus
OCBD Sneaker CollectionThis style is clearly not for everyone, because it is extremely tailored to me. This is in fact my point. This inclusion of running sneakers speaks to my personal interests and experiences. It makes my style my own and not just rules from a book, but still keeps the Trad vibe or at least I think it does. It also speaks to a great comment that a reader Fred left on the Modern Trad blog post,

I’m glad to see that you are looking at a modern take on trad. Trad was in its hey day around fifty years ago. Trad has evolved and I don’t want to dress like it’s 1966. I want to take the trad ideas and evolve them into today. That’s the intellectual challenge. What is the modern equivalent of trad. What does it mean to be trad in 2017?

While I may disagree with Fred about Trad existing in 1966 I think that his underlying point is spot on or at least the point I took away is. This point is that you cannot stop growing and changing which I truly believe. My other point is that it is okay to incorporate non-trad articles of clothing that you like into you Trad wardrobe. It does not make you less Trad. Just don’t try to convince others that these items are the Traddest and everything will be fine.

Camp Moc Overview

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Since posting about my Sperry Camp mocs I have received quite a few questions surrounding camp mocs from, “Can I pull them off?” to ,”Where do you find them?”. The answer to these questions is, yes and everywhere.
IMG_4061Let’s start with the pulling them off question. If you can pull off boat shoes you can easily pull off camp mocs. I see camp mocs as the less preppy cousin to the boat shoe. It’s a little more rugged than its cousin and doesn’t carry the country club connotation that some connect with boat shoes, but it offers all of the advantages of the boat shoe. It also looks fine with socks which makes camp mocs wearable year round.

Everywhere may have been a bit of a stretch, but you can easily find them. The L.L. Bean’s handsewn Camp moc is the quintessential camp moc. It has a great shape, price, and is always available. I opted for their Signature version which for only $10 more dollars features much nicer leather. If you are looking for something a little nicer you can choose from Quoddy (Canoe Moc) or Rancourt (Gilman Camp Moc). These options are both priced right around $250. Last, but not least are the Sperry’s gold cup mocs. They don’t have the best shape, but their comfort level and fit made up for that.

Basically, camp mocs are awesome. These low-key mocs allow you to go sock-less in the summer and look great with chunky wool socks in the winter. They also won’t break the bank (unless you go top of the line) and with their tradder than prep appearance they may be just what you are looking for this summer.

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!