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Men’s quality shoes

Shoes

Men’s quality shoes

 

Loake was founded in 1880 by the brothers John, William and Thomas Loake, who started making shoes in Northamptonshire, England. Already from the beginning, the brothers used fine materials for their shoes; calf leather, cork insoles and sturdy cotton thread in the seams. The shoes were made with brand new Goodyear Welt construction, which became hugely successful, surprising both the Loake brothers and the inventor Charles Goodyear. The Loake 1880- and Shoemaker series are still being made at the original factory in Kettering that the brothers built 140 years ago. The process of making a quality shoe is long, taking between 8 and 10 weeks and including many different work phases that require special knowledge.

We started offering Loake shoes to our customers in 2010. The reason for choosing Loake was their long tradition in producing quality shoes, combined with an attractive price point and a product line extending beyond traditional evening and business shoes.

When talking about shoes, the usual questions are: what kind of different shoe models exist and what are their intended use? This article gives you a small glimpse into some shoe models that we believe are good to know.

Oxford

The Oxford shoe is traditionally one of the most formal styles, and can be worn with a dark suit, tuxedo or with a business suit. Oxford shoes are known for their traditional “closed” lacing and a horizontal seam on the front / toe part of the shoe known as a “toecap”. Oxford shoes are usually made of three pieces of leather, making up the front, the sides and the back of the shoe. Traditionally, a formal Oxford shoe does not have decorative elements such as brogue detailing. There are oxford shoes with more decorative elements but these are stylistically less formal. Slim last shape and leather outsoles are traditional choices for a classic Oxford shoe.

Derby

The Derby or the Blucher is a more relaxed shoe. A Derby shoe has an open lacing and typically does not have a toecap. A Derby can have a decorated toecap but a so-called plaintoe derby is the most usual model. A more robust last and a sole made of rubber or double leather, combined with a more prominent welt, is typical for a derby. The derby shoe goes well with a suit and depending on the last and the colour of the shoe, can be suitable also for a more casual party or event. The shoe is in its natural habitat when combined with chinos or flannel trousers as well as jeans.

Brogue

The Brogue shoe is more relaxed to its character. There are a multitude of variations, that are named differently depending on the pattern and wing seam length. The most common models are the “full brogue” (or wingtip), where the seam of the toe spans half the shoe, and the “half brogue”, which has a horizontal decorated toecap and seam broguing. At times one stumbles upon a so called quarter brogue that resembles the Oxford style, with no other decoration than a brogued toecap seam.

A rare, but very elegant model is the longwing brogue, which has the nickname “Gunboat” due to its sturdy appearance. The “Gunboat” has wings that extend the full length of the shoe. When it comes to lacing, brogue shoes can either have Oxford or Derby lacing, the former being more formal and the latter being more relaxed. Typically the quarter brogue has closed-up lacing (oxford) whereas the fullwing brogue usually has open lacing (derby). The lasts on brogues are sturdier and radiate historical English countryside charm. A brogue shoe is typically equipped with a rubber sole or a double leather sole. A formal brogue might have a more sleek, tad Italian design, with a delicate last and a leather sole.

Monkstrap

The Monkstrap or monk shoe is a plain shoe model that lacks laces and is instead fastened by one or two straps and buckles. My personal favourite is the two strap model, which is usually made with a toecap, whereas the one strap model is typically made with a plain toe without a horizontal seam on the cap. Monkstrap shoes rarely have brogue detailing or decorative elements. When it comes to formality, the monkstrap sits between a more casual laced shoe and a loafer, and that is why it is a great companion for more relaxed suits and different blazer & trouser combinations.

Loafer

The Loafer is one the most traditional men’s casual shoe styles. The best known are the tassel loafer and the penny loafer. The penny loafer is fairly plain with the traditional model having a slit decoration on the vamp. The name is said to originate from the fifties when Ivy League students would hide a penny in the decorative part of the shoe for good luck. Regardless, the penny loafer is a staple shoe in the offering of English and American shoe makers. The penny loafer is typically fairly round to its design and the soles are usually made of leather. The shoe itself is often brown, burgundy or black in colour, but different shades of suede are classic alternatives as well.  The penny loafer is at home when combined with shirt and chinos as well as a jacket.

The more flamboyant American cousin of the penny loafer is called the tassel loafer. Invented by the shoe maker Alden for the purpose of having a loafer with more details (the tassel and lacing on the sides) and a more sleek design. The enormous success of the tassel loafer has resulted in that the tassel loafer has been seen in every imaginable material and colour, but black and brown have been in vogue through decades. Although the tassel loafer is a familiar sight on Wall Street combined with a suit, it is still worth remembering that it is a casual shoe and always less formal than laced alternatives.

Boots

Boots are a stylish choice especially for the fall & winter season. When it comes to formality, the boot is much like the loafer, that is, less formal than a lace-up shoe. The best known boot styles are the Chelsea boot, Chukka boot, Desert boot, Brogue boot and different variations of the Military boot model. In men’s classic fashion the Chelsea boot is probably the most popular and has been seen on the feet of The Beatles’ as well as the Storm Troopers from Star Wars. As the Chelsea boot does not have laces it is very practical and minimalistic to its styling and thus fits many different occasions. A lighter shade of brown with a round last, a sturdy welt and a thick rubber sole is perfect with chinos or corduroy trousers, whereas a Chelsea boot with a shorter ankle part and a more slender last goes well with flannel trousers or a sturdier winter suit.

The Chukka boot is also a stylish and traditional boot model that is typically made of three pieces of leather and usually has 2-3 eyelets. The models made for fall & winter wear are often made of darker shades of suede or a nice “grained” leather and have rubber soles. The summer versions of the chukka boot are usually lighter in colour, and have a more graceful welt and often leather soles as well. The Chukka boot can be well combined with a suit, like the Duke of Windsor or Gianni Agnelli did. However, it is good to remember that as you´re wearing a rather casual shoe the suit should be on the more casual side as well. Chukka’s cousin, the Desert boot, is one of the most relaxed ankle boot styles and are traditionally made from sand coloured suede, have two eyelets and a crepe rubber sole. The desert boot is at its best when worn casually with chinos or jeans, just like Steve McQueen used to do.

Brogue boots are a traditional English boot model, which are basically a full brogue shoe with a longer shaft. Brogue boots typically have derby lacing and a Dainite or Victory rubber sole. Usual colours are different shades of brown, light tan and a reddish “oxblood”. As the brogue boot has its heritage in the countryside, the boots go especially well together with tweed, corduroy and waxed jackets. The classic military boot is typically very much like the brogue boot, but the broguing is replaced by a horizontal cap toe-seam. The lacing is usually of the derby style and the boot has no or very little decoration on it. In some models the upper eyelets have been replaced by small metal hooks that give the shoe a more rugged look. The sole of the military boot is usually more prominent, for example a Commando or a Dainite sole.

Although this article mentions a few classic shoe models, it is worth remembering that it is in no way all-inclusive nor does it cover all the details of the shoes, but gives you a basic understanding of the most popular models and their design.

You are warmly welcome to come and discuss shoes with us at our flagship store in Helsinki.

With stylish regards,

Anton

 

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