Side-gusset shoes also known as lazyman shoes have quite a history. According to Anita Capwell a Victoria&Albert Museum volunteer this model is linked to Joseph Sparkes Hall (1811-1891) author of a book entitled ‘Book of the Feet’.
According to Anita Capwell “Sparkes Hall’s development of the elastic boot went hand in hand with 19th century industrial inventions and innovations in rubber and elastic. He had been making waterproof over shoes (galoshes) made with rubber since 1830 and was interested in developing and incorporating new materials into his footwear.
Slipper-like shoes worn at the time were difficult to keep on and laced or button-fastening boots were time consuming for the wearer. Initial experiments were a failure because the early elastics were simply not elastic enough however using wire and India rubber he eventually succeeded. In 1837 he had patented his first design for a slip-on boot with the gusset made from tightly coiled wire and cotton and three years later he created the first patented boot that incorporating what we would today recognize as elastic.“
Until recently I had no side gusset shoes in my wardrobe. Despite their history I do not like them in particular and they do not match my taste. Although brothers of loafers, they claim an outfit that is a bit too pretentious for me, as I am a good friend of sport jackets and chinos trousers. Nevertheless, I have to admit that I have been amazed to notice that they lack almost entirely from the offer of the RTW producers.
For several years now, the range of models has broadened and now we are able to buy, for instance, button boots, but it appears that side gusset had not yet convinced the producers that it deserves to be included on their list.
Until recently though, when, probably under the pressure of the Asian market (because shoes are usually taken off indoors in Japan for exemple), Yanko brought them in light, and now you can buy them from websites like Skolyx. The RTW model in the image has a half- rubber sole and is a brother of a boot model with an almost Victorian air pictured below. Both are made on the same Yanko last – 915.
Yanko is an interesting producer for which Toni Llobera announces important modifications in the branding policy. News are long in coming though for some time now. In the meantime, however, you can pay a visit to Skolyx in order to see some currently available models.