I have heard many things about Heinrich Dinkelacker, but until a year ago, if I’m not mistaken, I hadn’t seen any shoe made by them. Unfortunately, the first model I saw was a big and clunky Budapester with heavy braided Goyzer stitching and thick, sturdy sole. Since I’m not a fan of this model (I’m not very fond of the Frankenstein look of Budapesters) Dinkelacker went completely out of the range of my preoccupations. Back then I had entered the Vass period, a producer for whom I have a great admiration. Vass diminished my interest in other shoemakers. The F and P2 lasts seem hard to match by most of the German producers, whose imagination regarding the last design borders suicide. On a market where design and reinterpretation of traditional models make the difference, the German conservatism is hard to understand. Although they use good leather and have a qualified shoemakers, most producers refuse to see beyond the traditional German client. Some of the Hungarian and Austrian producers had the same policy, but globalization and the success recorded by Vass with the new Italian lasts, and especially the increase of the online sales weight modified their perception. In Vienna I saw some models that were unimaginable some years ago.
Some months ago though I saw a Dinkelacker pair (not Budapester) worn by a friend of mine, and the shoe seemed quite interestingly built, plus I received quite a few review requests from my readers, so I decided to dig more in this direction. Did Dinkelacker have other models to arouse my curiosity or it was just a good old style German – Hungarian brand?
To my surprise, the official site presents an impressive selection of models, lasts and leathers, Budapester being one of them but not the only one. With 11 available lasts it is hard to not find one that would suit your style. To me, the chosen one was Luzern, a last that is balanced and very close to my urban style, and the model was a derby brogue.
The first impression, when you take a shoe out of its box, is very strong. In that moment you like it or you don’t. There are no half measures. If you expect to see a perfectly finished shoe that would remind you of a museum exhibit then you will be disappointed. If, however, you expect to see a shoe that would breath craftsmanship through all its pores, your waiting will not be betrayed. When you hold the shoe in your hand you can feel the leather smell from the workshop, you can hear the beats of the hammer on the last and you can see the leather fitted over the last. The leather is superb, almost unimaginable for an RTW and even MTO.
They look fantastic on the feet, photos don’t really do them justice. The fit is superb. They are the perfect every day shoes. The little imperfections take no edge off their charm, bringing a plus of originality – they are an extra argument to the fact that this is not a series product. Dinkelacker are shoes of which I’m sure they will age beautifully. For a long time now I haven’t had such a pleasant surprise, my enthusiasm being confirmed after the wearing, since Luzern is a highly comfortable last. And the fact that I started with a preconception in judging some shoes that proved to be splendid is a lesson of life which I intend to learn.
I gave a great deal of thought about Dinkelacker in the days that followed the first wearing. What made me so enthusiastic? Some of you will say that the little imperfections shouldn’t have passed the quality control, others that, after all, Luzern is a last with a very special shape. I won’t deny all these aspects. I’m aware that maybe I’m blinded by a love at first site. I believe that the answer resides in the fact that these shoes bring to my mind the shoemaking workshop, as it used to be once. An, above all else, they remind me that shoes are made to be worn on a daily basis, and not displayed in a glass case. And with the Dinkelacker shoes, I’m not afraid of the length of the road.