All posts in shoes

Moc Talk: Sperry Camp Mocs

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Like many of you I have been scanning my closet to find any holes (and not moth holes this week!) in my warm weather wardrobe. Overall my closet is in good shape, but my shoe line up could use some help. My Sperry Topsiders are falling apart and my L.L. Bean Signature mocs don’t fit me sans socks the way that I had hoped.
Sperry Camp MocsDuring this exercise I found a pair of Sperry’s Gold Cup Authentic Original 1-Eye Boat Shoe online. While they call it a boat shoe us Trad’s would call it a camp moc. What I liked about this shoe is that I knew that Sperry shoes fit me well sock-less, it featured premium leather, and I snagged a pair for under $100. They retail for $159.95.

There are things that I don’t love about the shoe. The shape of Sperry’s camp moc is a little off. The tongue is a little wider and the toe box looks a little elongated. Basically they look like a boat shoe/camp moc hybrid, but lean more towards the moc side. They also feature more branding than I care for which is none, but from afar it is not noticeable. I can live with both of these things since the fits is so good.

I will have more to report as I wear them in over the spring and summer, but as of know I think that they were a good buy. The fit is good, they are lightweight which is perfect for going sock-less, and the quality is at least one full step above standard Sperry products. If Bean camp mocs don’t fit you well and Rancourt’s are too rich for your blood these may be worth a look.

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!

Summer Sneaks

Tretorn

Last summer I picked up a pair of Vans Authentics in white canvas. I have nothing bad to say about the shoe, but it lacked the support that I want in a tennis shoe. This is probably because I grew up in the Nike era of sneakers opposed to Chuck Taylors.
Tretorn NyLiteThis is summer I purchased a pair of Tretorn Nylites in natural canvas. This shoe has all the pedigree of a Trad sneaker such as being featured in the Official Preppy Handbook (however, they didn’t make Billax’s list), but with sleeker lines and more support than other plain canvas sneakers.

I only have a handful of wears in at this time, but so far so good. The price is right at $65 and they are widely available. However, I have heard that they aren’t what they used to be. To that I say, “What is?”
Tretorn Image

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?

Billax’s made up rules for TNSIL apparel – Shoe impact

Shetland Herringbone Tweed with AE loafers
This post is a reprinting of a post on a forum that is frequented by Billax. Billax is not only one of my style role models, but a friend and a man that was Trad back when it was called Ivy League.

Hypothesis/Justification for trousers – cuff/no break and tapered leg casual pants.

I’ve worn the cuff/no break (see here: Cuff, no break)look for 56 years. I’ve also worn tapered-leg-opening casual pants for the same number of years. It’s a deeply ingrained preference for me, but can one work backward to an analytic justification for that look? Maybe.

I’ve been speculating on a set of principles that might/could justify the “look” of the pants I’ve worn so long. I’m at a point where I’ve stopped grinding on it, so I am writing it up to have thoughtful guys tear apart my principles and reasoning. Here goes:

There is one practice I always follow. If you can’t buy in to it as part of this thought experiment, what follows will make little or no sense. Here’s my practice: When standing, while wearing a jacket and tie, I button my jacket, except when wearing a vest or waistcoat. This practice (right or wrong) comes from my principles (up until recently completely inchoate)

Here are my three rules:

1) In TNSIL Men’s apparel all cinches, closures, and adjusters are invisible when standing.

2) In TNSIL Men’s apparel all ornamentation is exposed when standing.

3) When rules 1 and 2 are in conflict, rule 1 takes precedence.

So, what are cinches, closures, and adjusters? Firstly, they are NOT the top layer of apparel. Here’s a partial list:

  • arm bands to adjust sleeve length
  • braces
  • belts
  • shirt buttons
  • tie bars (when used exclusively for promoting tie arch and verticality)
  • shoe laces

All the above serve to organize, adjust, and hold the relative positions of one’s garments. They are not seen by others during business, professional, or formal settings.

Now, what are ornaments?

  • cufflinks & studs
  • Tie Bars that express one’s interests or have a ornamental design element
  • Tassels, horse bit, or penny straps on loafers
  • Lapel pins

 All the above are designed to attract the eye

Issues that come up with my hypothesis:

  1. Shirt buttons are not covered by a bow tie. While I am not a bow tie wearer, I am a Bow tie fan.
  2. Monogrammed and otherwise fancy belt buckles are ornamentation on belts. When standing, while wearing a jacket and tie, a buttoned jacket with TNSIL rise trousers won’t show the ornamented buckle. (Rule 3)

Now, getting to trouser length and leg opening taper, here are side views of a classic dress shoe and a classic loafer. It is not necessary to like or dislike these shoes in order to make my point.
Dress Shoe 1Tassel Loafer 1

I’ll add a black rectangular overlay to represent trousers as they touch the dress shoe and the loafer.

First, a very dressy captoe – Allen Edmond’s Park avenue. To meet Rule 1, the leg opening must cover all the shoe laces on this 6 eyelet shoe. This shoe widens the required leg opening, and because of the high quarters on dress shoes, exposes no sock.
Blocked Dress ShoeSecond, an ornamented loafer – Allen Edmond’s Manchester. To meet Rule 2, the trouser leg must be both more narrow and sit a bit higher on the shoe. In addition, the low quarters on loafers will expose a little sock at the requisite height for ornamentation to show.. Whether the ornamentation on the loafer is a penny strap, a horse bit Gucci, or a tassel, the same result occurs – trou are narrower and sit higher on the shoe when wearing the more casual shoe.
Blocked LoaferException 1: Monk Straps and double Monk straps require trousers to drape lower on the shoe than any other footwear, so as to not violate Rule 1, which states that all cinches and closures must be covered when standing. No getting around it, monk straps are problematic for the TNSIL guy. Maybe that’s why I have never owned a pair.

Exception 2: Venetian loafers have no ornamentation and no closures, thereby having no min/max point for trouser height or width. Fifty-two years ago I bought my first (and only) pair of Venetians. I could not make them look “correct” with trousers of any height or width. That was the first time I ever thought to myself that, “There should always be some natural suggestion as to the relationship between apparel elements.” Still think that.

So, loafers with their ornamentation and lower quarters look best with a slightly narrower leg opening and sit slightly higher on the shoe. Laced dress shoes require trousers with a slightly wider leg opening sitting a little lower on the vamp. Socks will show with ornamented loafers, given their lower quarters. Socks will not show on dress shoes. THIS IS A DESIGN FEATURE, NOT A DEFECT. Any way, that’s my story and I’m sticking’ to it!

 Thoughts?