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Interviews

Daniel Porcelli (Cobbler Union) II

May 12, 2014

Please give a quick run-down of the whole process…

Most of your readers are very familiar with the shoemaking process, so I won’t bore them with details. Worth mentioning, I suppose, is that we work in close partnership with one of Spain’s oldest shoemakers. Our artisans, some fourth generation shoemakers, are among the best in the world.

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Another point worth mentioning is that all of our shoes are Goodyear-welted (the gold-standard in the construction of luxury footwear) in small batches. This may be an obvious choice for the true shoe connoisseur. It was a non-negotiable priority for us when we started Cobbler Union. No other construction method gives you the integrity, sturdiness and durability a Goodyear-welted shoe gives you. We’ll use other techniques to introduce lighter loafers in the future, but our dress shoes will always be Goodyear welted.

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All of our leather is sourced from the world’s best tanneries in France and Italy (to a lesser extent). Regardless of its origin, we only buy top-grade calfskin. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to source great leather, but we work hard with our partners to ensure we have the best leather available.

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What about the available Cobbler Union lasts? Tell me more about the signature feature- fiddleback beveled waist…

For our inaugural collection, we chose seven lasts that we thought gave us good versatility and range. Aesthetically, we wanted a classic, elegant look. Comfort was paramount for us as well. Customers will notice that even our boots are extremely elegant and classy. We want to spearhead a huge boot revolution. Most boots in the market today are too rugged. Our boots are for men who want to live a stylish life all year round, wear boots to work – not just on weekends.

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Glad you asked about our soles! Coming from the world of bespoke shoemaking, we are obsessed with things most shoemakers don’t really care about. In combination with great leather, the sole, we believe, is what separates a true luxury shoe from all the others. Why? Because all the hard technical work happens between the inner sole and the sole.

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The level of refinement we seek is simply a matter of attitude and taste. Most of our shoes have a fiddleback beveled waist we finish by hand. It took us months to get the lines and harmony we were looking for. We also had to train our cobblers to understand that our customers really value their craftsmanship. The closed-channel stitching process gives us yet another quality touch. Only a handful of shoes (most of them very expensive ones) have soles as sophisticated as ours.

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What are your favorite models and why?

I’d have to start with the Spectator. Just imagine living in the great Jazz Age. The one thing about the Spectator is that it has to be done right. I love ours and wear it all the time. I’d then pick two Oxfords: the Gilbert and the William. I like how a classic shoe can be transformed by simply adding a bit of patina. My next two pairs would be a Noah and a Julius. I’m also a huge fan of monkstraps and grain calfskin. No surprise that the Francis II is in my closet too. For a loafer, I ‘d take a Smith and a Thierry. And as the air cools off in the fall, I have no ideea… I love all of our boots.

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What are the top five advices that you would give to a young Gentleman that is in searching for shoes?

1. Throw away your old, unrepairable, crappy shoes!

2. Buy the best quality shoes you can afford.

3. Invest in 7-10 pairs. Always keep a classic black Oxford perfectly polished to close the big deal (whatever that is) – make everything else brown, burgundy, tan, blue. Keep your collection classy and classic.

4. Buy the right shoe accessories (your shoes need love): shoe polish, creams and shoe trees, most importantly. You’ll enjoy your shoes for years if you treat them well.

5. Buy high quality clothes (that fit!) to complement your new shoe collection.

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What is your favorite word?

Trust.

What is your least favorite word?

War.

What turns you on (creatively, spiritually or emotionally)?

My wonderful wife and awesome kids inspire me to try my best. My friends remind me to laugh. Great cities fuel my imagination. Sports clear my mind.

What turns you off?

Mediocrity.

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What is your favorite curse word?

Piece of s___t. It seems to work well with my accent.

What sound or noise do you love?

Nothing sounds better than hearing my kids laugh.

What sound or noise do you hate?

None in particular.What profession would you not like to do?

I wouldn’t like to be a politician. But that’s not a profession, is it?

If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates?

Well done. Please take those nice shoes off and relax.

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