Shoes Of The Week - Alden Collaborations

While I have lots to write about for my trip to Paris, it needs to be organized and the posts are going to be longer ones, so bear with me on these things. For the meantime, I wanted to talk about Alden and how they seem to be such busy bees with their collaborations with other brands. As I have stated in many earlier posts, I believe that this idea of collaborating is the way of the future in the shoe industry. While it has always been about, it seems that it has really taken off, since 2010. Obviously, as most of the world went into recession a few years back, companies had to start thinking about alternative channels of distribution, and it seemed that collaboration gave the best of both worlds, for all parties involved. It gave the designers/shoe brands something new to create and an alternative way of making money, it gave the collaborating brand something different from their usual, and maybe stale collection and all-in-all the collaboration gave the customer another option, in case they were not liking anything at that present moment. That being, I have thoroughly enjoyed all of the new saddle shoe models that Alden has been producing for the likes of Unionmade (pictured above & below) as well as Blackbird (very bottom), which is a very popular boutique located in the neighborhood where I grew up, Ballard, Wa. And while I feel that Alden has done a good job of going relatively outside of the box with the likes of these color combo's, I am hoping that the next time I see this shoe, it might be in green or red or some other non-traditional color. We shall see...

Enjoy your Friday and check back soon for my trip to Paris posts....

-Justin, "The Shoe Snob"

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Today's Favorites - Customer's Shoes

While I feel like it has been forever since I have written, really it has only been almost exactly 48 hours, which is not that long, in fact, to go without a post, especially considering that I am currently in Paris....yup, Paris! Taking a short trip, seeing the sights and doing a couple of things here and there, that you will see and hear about in the not-so-distant future. But as always, I have to keep up my wonderful blog and give to all of you the shoe porn that you so desperately yearn for. And for today, I have decided to honor my comment of putting up the shoes of my readers who send me pics of their collections. So, to lead the pack, I have added a most beautiful spat boot, that would put most boots to shame, and was made by none other than French shoe house, Aubercy. And while I appreciate putting up my reader's shoes, I find myself a little jealous at some of them, especially since I don't own a spat boot, and may have to wait awhile, as no one really makes them, especially not for a ready-to-wear collections. Anyway, you can see the interesting shoes that were given to me via picture and think about the one's that you want to send me to show for future posts!

Wait until you see the shoes that I had commissioned a patina for....simply amazing!!!!

Enjoy.......  -Justin, "The Shoe Snob"

 Custom-made green cracked leather balmoral boot -- unique!

Custom-made scorpion medallion toes -- very interesting..

John Lobb (2), Corthay & G&G -- Not as unique, but nice nonetheless.. (clockwise from top left -- below)

Shoe closets....

High Toe Shine -- Good job!

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Croatian Bespoke Shoes -- Strugar

In the past, one may have never known all of the possibilities he/she may have had when it came to the world of bespoke shoemaking, but thanks to the internet, this all over. Even me, I must admit, would have never thought about going to learn bespoke shoemaking in Croatia, Poland, Hungary or any other country outside of England, France, Italy and Japan, before my entrance into the world bespoke shoes. I guess being in America (especially in the NW far corner), where sometimes knowledge can be limited by naivety, due to it's vastness and detachment from the rest of the world, this is the perception that you get. But having started this blog, learning how to makes shoes, and simply being in Europe, you begin to understand, that the world of bespoke shoemaking is a lot bigger than you may think. And that brings us to Croatian bespoke shoemaker, Neno Strugar from Strugar. From what I gather, it seems to be that Strugar is a family run operation, where Nino might be the son of the founder. But nonetheless, he is making lovely shoes out of Croatia, doing bespoke, as well as made-to-order. And while I can't say that I am a fan of every toe shape, I believe that the combination of leathers, coloring and patinas are simply wonderful!

Stay tuned tomorrow for a long post about my trip to Paris.

-Justin, "The Shoe Snob"

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Paris Part 2 -- Paulus Bolten, The Patina Artist

As many of you who frequently read my blog may know, the art of the patina is something that is appreciated and practiced, as a profession, by several people in France. One of those people, would be the magnificent Paulus Bolten, who is the owner of Patine & Glacage Souliers. So while I was in Paris, I figured that even though I love all of my shoes the way they are, I might as well utilize the service to see it transform my shoes, first hand. And so it did. In reality, I did not have a shoe on me (as I left all of the crummy one's back in the States) that I wanted to change, so I bought these Edward Green's made for Gieves & Hawkes shoes (old ones) from a friend of mine who had never worn them and was looking to get rid of them. Talk about a win-win situation: new shoes + Edward Green's + 75 GBP + shoes for patina = amazing deal & timing! And thus you can see the transformation below....

It's an amazing service that Paulus has created here, as it truly can give you a new pair of shoes. I had been dying for a nice pair of burgundy loafers and never see one that I like or that cost less than 700 GBP, so I was at a loss, until I came across Paulus and his service and he was able to make my shoes not only burgundy, but customized too, by keeping the strap the original color and giving the shoe a bit of character. Since the first time that I put up this service, I know that several of my readers have been to see him or have posted their shoes to him in order to utilize the service and from what I know have thoroughly enjoyed it (pics below). The service starts at about 70 euros and goes up from their depending on what you would like done. But, as Paulus is clearly magical with the patina, you can see that it is well worth it.

To contact him directly you can email him at

Let me know if you do and send me pictures of the before and after so that I can put it up on the blog!

-Justin, "The Shoe Snob"

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