Why do we choose bespoke shoes instead of factory MTO or RTW? First of all – Comfort. The comfort and the support offered by the shoe are essential for bespoke shoes. All the rest falls on the second place. No matter what leather you use and no matter how finished is a bespoke shoe, if it doesn’t make you forget that you have it on your foot it is all for nothing. Sometimes though, you might be lucky to discover shoes that amaze you. They are not bespoke but the feeling is. I had this luck with two pairs of brogues – a RTW Tricker’s (perfect shoes for cold Autumn – lot of space for warm socks) and a handmade MTO – Rosznyai, to whose last I didn’t bring any improvement. (The Rosznyai fit is excellent).
A Romanian essayist and diplomat, Alexandru Paleologu, said once that intelligence is not a continuous state. Considering that I like to think of myself as intelligent, I discovered my limits some time ago. The occasion was given by an inoffensive brown brogue – Tricker’s Kensington. I had a preconception regarding Tricker’s, generated by the discussion with a friend who cataloged the shoes as being oldish. Since I had the chance to befriend other shoes since that moment I put this brand in a closed locker. This type of stupid preconceptions can bring big drawbacks, especially if you are not open to verify your petrified beliefs.
I now have four pairs of Tricker’s Kensington in my wardrobe – three Espresso identical and one Beechnut. The first two from Pediwear, the next two bought from Tricker’s store in 67 Jermyn Street. I like everything about this shoe. First of all it is a quite wide shoe that provides an extraordinary comfort in the cold season. I usually wear them with thick wool socks so a little space it’s a must. I feel that the leather is of great quality (it ages very nicely) and the channeled soles are great. Someone would argue that it doesn’t compare to C&J regarding the lasts and the urban aspect of models. I do think C&J lasts are much more elegant on the whole, but the question was about quality and comfort, not about aesthetics. In the case of Tricker’s, one can see the country origins. Tricker’s makes nicely sturdy, rather conservative shoes, but their 1829 collection is quite urban. Tricker’s is seriously underrated when reading forums or talk to people. My Tricker’s give me the feeling of handmade although they are factory made shoes, a feeling that I haven’t recently had since Dinkelacker brogues. It pays a lot of attention to details, the air of dull shoe being compensated by the attention for each detail, see the reverse stitch and the beauty of the medallion.
The next pair will be Regent in Beechnut from the same Pediwear. They carry a large collection of Tricker”s and Mike Small is a great guy to buy from, especially if you have questions or if you need supplementary information on which to base your decision to buy. Plus, you’ll get free shoe trees and free worldwide delivery. Which for me is great.