These oxfords were made for a young woman who wanted a no-compromise scholarly classic shoe for all seasons. No hothouse flower, she wanted all the benefits of a full thickness leather sole, but didn’t want to expose it to the elements without some protection. Covering the sole of the forefoot is some thin but tough Vibram composite material. It has good grip and will minimize absorption of water from the street when there’s rain on the pavement. She’s tough on shoes, so I secured the Vibram under the heel to protect it since she is as likely wear loose with the pedals of her bike as scrape it off stepping on a shovel.
There is very little welt extending beyond the profile of the shoe as seen from above and yet it is full welt sewn construction. One small benefit of sewing the welt to the outsole by hand is the ability to place the stitches very close to the upper. Most machines need more clearance, thus the welt tends to be a bit wider when it is actually sewn.
I’m calling this a full brogue even though there are more opportunities to brogue this upper — like along the quarters and the top line. I thought it was enough brogueing already.
The client who requested this design also designs fabric herself. The footbed liner is covered with a fabric that she designed. The design itself came from a model she chose from a book I have called “Women’s Shoes in America, 1795-1930.” Women’s Shoes in America is really an outstanding resource. I have found it very useful. From the publisher:
In an engaging narrative history, the beautifully illustrated Women’s Shoes in America investigates an aspect of American material culture not previously examined and provides a detailed reference for dating women’s footwear.
In style from 1923-25, the design she chose was a T-Strap from autumn 1923. She was unable to wear a heel as high as the original design featured, so I made this low heel version just for her. The closure uses a button post. There was no hole in the strap yet when I took this picture because punching the hole is really a one shot deal. Using a button, there is no adjustment like you have with laces, or a buckle. To make a prefect fit, it needs to be marked while she is wearing them. With the strap on the post, it looks like this.
The upper is hand dyed top finished vegetable tanned Italian leather. Blue quarters and tongue, black toe caps, vamps, and backstraps. This pair was built using cement construction. These shoes are unlined with sewn in heel counters and toe boxes. Leather sole and heels, Virbram rubber heel cap. I used this pair for my “All the Pieces” infographic.
These shoes were for a female client who wanted a woman’s shoe without compromises. She likes knitting and needlepoint so I tried to put something special into the design for her. This derby design with English quarters features an ornamental stitch similar to a wheat ear embroidery stitch on the wing tip toe cap and bottom quarter lines. Welted construction, Italian vegetable tanned dark red leather upper and vegetable tanned leather liner. Vegetable tanned leather insole and outsole. Natural finish leather heels. Braided outsole stitch.
Classic Derby design with English quarters. Welted construction, brown Italian vegetable tanned leather upper, leather insole and Rendenbach leather outsole. Check out the natural color braided hand stitching on the welt. (Thanks for our friends at A&E for the hand sewing thread) Top line is extra high to allow for orthotic insert.
Upper is green and brown vegetable tanned leather with an iridescent finish. Classic Gibson boot design. Welted construction, leather insole and Rendenbach leather outsole. The making of these boots was featured in Tim Becker’s Life at Large segment for KOIN TV.
Vegetable tanned kangaroo upper, vegetable tanned calf liner, cement construction. Vibram composite sole. These are custom shoes with an extra hidden feature for riding a bike with clip and strap pedals.
Deep green upper, vegetable tanned calf liner. English welt and single stitching. Italian Nubuk soling leather. These use the hidden stitch technique on the sole side of the welt. The thread is embedded but not visible.
Green Italian vegetable tanned leather with an iridescent finish. The lining is vegetable tanned calf. Italian soling leather, leather heels, cement construction.
Blue Italian vegetable tanned leather with an iridescent finish. The lining is vegetable tanned calf. German soling leather, leather heels.