Pair Number 24

Pair Number 24These were a long time in the making and the first pair out of my new Portland studio. As such it was fitting to work together with one of the many fine people I have met since moving to Portland. I’m calling these “garden shoes.”

This pair was a birthday present for my step-father (his birthday was last June, but I’ve been busy). Having spent much of his professional career hob-knobbing in Allen Edmunds shoes raising funds for colleges of arts and sciences, he now mostly spends time raising beds for planting tomatoes and salad greens. I succumbed to pressure for a more casual shoe, and one that would be more resistant to the moisture of a walk on the wet lawn than my preferred vegetable tanned leather dress shoes.

I used water repellent permeated veg-retan pig suede leather from the Wolverine tannery. The liner and insole are vegetable tanned cow. The sole is a Skywalk cup sole made in Italy.

Let me say a word about cup soles. Cup soles are a bit of an all or nothing proposition. You get the shoe ready, get the sole ready and you have one chance to stick the whole thing together. If you put the cup sole on skewed, the shoe won’t sit right, or walk right and you’re back on the bench making another pair of shoes. Putting this together is not my specialty and I could not have done this with out the great skill and patience of Matt Menely of Mountain Soles.

I went looking for a cup sole when it was clear to me these needed something more rugged than leather dress soles. It was a great excuse to get to know Matt, who I’ve been meaning to meet for some time. He was a pleasure to work with and shares generously his specialized knowledge of rock climbing and hiking boot repair. He’s also just around the corner from my shop. I am very fortunate to have such a great resource so nearby. Check him out!