Soles of comfort

. he first shoes were little more than soles, constructed from leather or wood Roughh shaped w ithout designation to the right or left foot, they were secured by straps or similar fas tenings thai kept them from falling off I earlier proved durable, readily available, and more pli able than wood. When shoes became enclosed, leather's prominence increased because it was one of the few coverings that allowed air to circulate w hile affording the foot maximum protection against the elements.

I hough the early male shoddings were exposed to rigors unknown to all but the most adventurous ol modern men, durability in modern shoes is still a key feature A well-made and properly looked after pair of" leather dress shoes can prov ide several decades of fine service lop drawer footwear has uppers (the top part of the shoe) made from ^kins no more than twelve weeks old. These hides have a fine grain, taking a high polish. The outer sole also made of leather, should be "welted to the rest of the shoe. Welt construction dates back to the fifteenth century in Western In rope and consists of sewing a strip of leather in between the edge of the sole and the turned-in edge of the upper. This process yields an elegantly durable shoe in which the sole can be removed and repaired repeated!} w ith minimal damage to the shoe's upper

I he soles ol the best shoes are vegetable tanned for longevity and coolness their stitches hidden in a special!) cut channel around the sole. Insoles and linings should also be constructed ol leather, because they absorb perspiration without conducting heat, allowing the foot to breathe and the shoe to mold to its shape. Well crafted heels are made from !a;.ers e: leather nailed together w ith brass pins, a sandw■idling effect that provides the greatest cushioning. support, and strength. Finally, the shape of the first class shoe should follow the i»>ot itself -straight on the inside and curvcd 011 the outside, w ith the instep pointing toward the big toe rather than the shoe's centerline. If* the shoe's last (the wood form on which the shoe was crafted) fits the w earer's foot well, there w ill be little need for the ritual breaking in that is usually associated with the new-shoe experience.

In his lifetime, a man may walk as many as 1 IS.OOO miles No wonder that 1 eonardoda Vinci, an artist of epic importance and a master of anatomy, called the toot a masterpiece of engineering and a w ork of art." Its impossible to spend too much on a finely craf ted perfectly fitting pair of shoes. Unlike man s own two cuffed works of art. these new artifacts will improve with age.

PREVIOUS PAGE: Adolphe Menjou in front of hisfootwear stable. Given his expanse of custom-made shoes, not to mention his collection of riding boots, whoever coined the term "clotheshorsc" must have had him in mind.

0 0

Post a comment