Tuesday, September 24, 2013

"I Like Sole -- With a Capital S" (Apologies to the soul band, Tower of Power)

With men upgrading their footwear more and more, new aspects of shoes have become grist for the design statement mill.  Generations ago, the different shapes of shoemaking lasts were sculpted mostly to fit differently shaped feet -- i.e. high or low arches, long insteps or high insteps, long toes or short toes...  Somewhere along the way, differently shaped lasts -- offering choices of rounded toes, flat toes, square toes, extended toes, flat vamps, sloping vamps --  became a key design variable for the sake of a "look".

These days, it's the sole, the leather textures and colors, and the sidewall finishing that allow for new design statements.  Over the past three years, we've introduced several new styles with new combinations of “rough” or colored leathers, "toasted" sidewalls that show the lamination layers in the heels, colored welts and stitching, natural sidewalls that highlight the sole and heel as never before, and new variations of rubberized soles for winter wear that still look sleek and elegant.

Mojave Group

New this fall are a few sturdier soles that fit the shoes they're attached to incredibly well.  One of my favorites is the sole on the MOJAVE desert boot style.  This is an update on the shoe that many of us wore in the 1970s, only this version is made of very high quality leathers (buttery unlined suede or glove-like calfskin) and a crepe rubber sole that's like walking on an air cushion.  Accented by a natural double reverse welt all around the shoe, each of the leather choices is a unique look.  It's a perfect "kick around" jeans shoe.

Dainite Sole
Another great jeans, wool flannel and corduroy shoe for the fall and winter is our PINE RIVER.  This rugged double monk strap shoe is built on the same pattern as our very popular "MORA", only the leather used is saddle cowhide, not fine calfskin.  The Dainite sole is a new sole for us, one that I know men are going to gravitate to.  It's already very popular in B. Nelson Shoes – our favorite New York City shoe repair shop, run by our friend Nick Valenti -- as a replacement on still-new shoes.  It's a very sturdy rubber sole with a great traction design, but it's surprisingly lightweight.  The Dainite heel "top lift" allows us to put a distinctive-looking leather layer in between.  Check this one out.  It's one of our most subtly creative new shoes ever.  We're using the Dainite sole on the PROMONTORY POINT boot as well -- the perfect boot for a hike in the fallen leaves, for a day in the stands at a football game or just for raking the yard.

There are some other cool new soles on shoes this fall.  We designed a new walking sole that you can see on our already-popular VOYAGER style.  Our ROTHSAY casual boot uses a cream-colored harrier rubber sole with the traction-savvy wave pattern on it that's more of a hunter's look.  And our GUIDARE tasseled driving moccasins from Italy have a brand new sole on them, too -- a sole that feels like a true driving moccasin but also handles the weather all winter long.  You don't have to give up on durability now to get that driving moccasin feel.

Speaking of the MORA, it's back by popular demand as another of our new styles this fall.  We discontinued the first Mora edition a few years ago because, frankly, we didn't think we had the fit just right.  After quite a bit of pattern work and "fit trials" on a lot of feet, we felt the style was ready for an overdue comeback.  The MORA 2.0 is the result -- a very classy and unique statement shoe for the office or special nights out.

We take new product development very seriously at Allen Edmonds.  It's a never ending process for us.  I hope you like what we've come up with for Fall ’13!

Best wishes,


Paul D. Grangaard
President & CEO
Allen Edmonds Shoe Corporation