This boot was an interesting project. The boot itself started from a customer, that requested a smart whole-cut walking boot for use in urban environment. But true to the tradition the construction and the materials of the boot are based on the very boot, that Edmund Hillary climbed The Mount Everest. Luckily I was able to liaise with the esteemed company, that built the said boots.
The construction of the boot is traditional Austro-Hungarian Goyser stitched method, that on its own right will guarantee double waterproofing for the soles. Teamed up with a nice heavy piece of best quality baby calf. And the lining of the boots in natural baby calf and interlined with natural felt material to give the quarters their rigidity. All of the above will ensure a great boot ,that is as comfortable to wear as it's able cope with most terrain, that you throw at it.
One of the first things for a shoemaker's apprentice to master is skiving. It's one of the staple skills used across all parts of the process, from last making through to closing and finishing. Skiving is the technique of thinning down the leather, making it easier to work and reducing bulk by allowing two pieces of leather to sit on top of each other, flush - vital if you're constructing a shoe from so many different components.
With factory made, 'bench-made' shoes the leather is skived using machines, but for our handmade bespoke shoes this is done as it was hundreds, if not thousands, of years ago, using no more than a deft hand, a sharp knife and a piece of marble or glass. Mastering this takes some time, it's a delicate balance of holding the knife at the right angle and applying just the right amount of pressure - too much and you'll slice through the face of the leather - in the early days of an apprenticeship there's a lot more slicing than skiving!
At Cleverley's we use many different types of leather, tanned in many different ways and you have to develop an understanding of each one: Kidskins, often used for lining shoes, are very light and flexible, which can play havoc under your knife as it dances about under the blade. Box calf is heavier and puts up a bit of a fight. Russian leather - a dream - the knife glides right through it - there's more than one reason why the 18th century leatherworkers considered it to be the finest in the land!
Direct from our London workshop is this unique double monk strap shoe made in tan alligator. Made for our stylish friend in Texas, this special shoe has received our new "blackening" technique by our very own Mr. Adam Law. This process is achieved entirely by hand with several layers of polish being applied over a 3 / 4 week period. This unique finish is something which is possible only when applied by hand and gives a beautiful patina which shall age superbly. Both the before and after photos have been taken on our workbench to give you full appreciation of the craftsmanship.
I'm sure I don't need to remind you how wonderful shoe trees are and how their use will keep your shoes in excellent condition. However recently I've been asked by several customers what the bespoke trees are made of and how are they so lightweight? Well, the wood in question is Obeche, a hard fibrous tree from the palm family. Found in Africa this impressive tree stands tall and lean with a high crown. With an impressive strength to weight ratio, this light wood is great to shape up into the bespoke lasted trees, perfect for each individual pair. You'll also notice a hole through the shoe tree, this acts to reduce weight even further and also to circulate airflow. All in all designed to keep your Cleverley's in perfect condition. Obeche is also used to make gun butts and guitars- Fender of Japan have even produced limited edition guitars with this special wood, so it's truly punching above its weight.
I hope you all had a great Christmas and are really looking forward to the New Year!
And I think what a better way to look into The New Year than to feature one of the stars of the current year.
The Russian Hides popularity was unprecedented in the year 2013, in small leather goods as in shoes. And also we saw many a new inventive designs that you came up with.
But just for this feature I'd like to champion one of the original styles of the Russian hide. I've always been a big fan of giving the material a chance to speak for itself. Keeping the design relatively plain and classic gives more focus for the material to be the centre of attention.
On this particular model one can see all the beautiful variations of shades and the colour on the skin, from lovely light honey colour to the darker depths of brown colours. Also the beautiful variation in hand printed cross hatching is in clear view on this model.
I know this model will be a very special pair for its owner. He will look after this model particularly well and in return it will only look better with age with all the wear and patina on it. Happy New Year To You All Into The New Year 2014!
Here is another double monk style, slightly different from the Sample X seen in one of the first article of BSTW. With this shoe everything was kept simple and classic. No perforation on the toe, no caps. no broguings. The shoe is kept plain to its simple aesthetic so the eye can really focus on its shape and lines to appreciate the effort of the last maker spent in crafting such a beautiful and neat chisel toe. Also the work and effort spent on the closing to be able to maintain the essence of a double monk without the heaviness usually present on this style.
The one that really caught my eye this week. Is the the anthracite grey alligator casual with plain band over the instep. There's such a beautiful depth of colour in the alligator. It's almost as if individual scales of the skin would have been polished one by one to achieve such a beautiful range of colours(from lovely platinum silver to dark charred black).
The style itself very elegant but versatile casual shoe. Firm favourite for the dance floor and not a stranger even to your dressier events. Although this versatile number would come on it's own in casual no socks type of use as well; what this particular pair seem to be destined for. The way you wear them is entirely your decision as long as you remember, that these beautifully handcrafted shoes do enjoy it best in a mutually inspiring atmosphere.