I would like us to go a little into the personal area now. How many pairs of shoes do you own? Who is the shoemaker with whom you get along the most?
In the past 30 years I have owned probably something like 100 pairs of welted shoes. I started buying them as a student at reduced prices and later most of my budget was spent on clothes. From my early twenties on I mostly wore Church’s shoes, my favorite last was the old 73. I owned more than 20 pairs of Church’s shoes plus some from Crockett & Jones and Tricker’s.
Around 2000 I was introduced to the Peduform last designed by Peter Eduard Meier for EdMeier München and on that day I knew how a ready-to-wear-shoe should fit my feet. Since then I wear shoes made on these lasts 8 times out of 10, I own about 20 different pairs from their different ranges.
They offer both hand welted and Goodyear welted shoes but they are all made on their lasts. Peter Eduard Meier is in my eyes the best designer for lasts for RTW shoes, he was among the first to promote asymmetric shapes, in fact many English companies followed his example in the nineties after they initially ridiculed his ideas.
My first bespoke shoes were made by Larson & Jehan in London in 1999. They were very good and they even made trial shoes which is usually not the case in London. Unfortunately they retired shortly after they finished my second pair otherwise I would probably stayed with them longer. I still wear these shoes by the way.
I didn’t order new bespoke shoes for a long time after I started wearing EdMeier München but started trying a couple of makers about ten years ago, both out of personal interest and for research reasons. I never mention the companies that didn’t satisfy me because I didn’t order the shoes for a review.
In Germany I tried Vickermann & Stoya recently and they made a very nice pair of brown Oxfords, in fact I you can see them in the forword of my new book. I have also tried some companies in from middle Europe but I cannot speak about the results yet. I will order another pair from Kay Gundlack in the next weeks, we are exchanging some interesting ideas in the moment. He never does any trunk-shows although he does visit customers frequently. I simply love the comfort of the shoes he made for me.
Is there and outfit to which you are emotionally tied? Suit and shoes…
Unfortunately the first pair of welted shoes from Church’s is long gone but I still remember them. I bought them in Hannover and Michael Jondral, who then worked for the best outfitter in town, would probably remember them. My favourite pair were the dark brown suede Ryder from Church’s with a crepe sole, I wore it to pieces when I was a student (although it never fell apart). And then the first suits that I ordered in Savile Row from Tobias Tailors, I still own and wear all of them.
What is your dream pair of shoes?
I don’t dream about shoes, all the shoes that I wear frequently are excellent. I think that my next pair from Kay Gundlack will be very interesting!
From your personal point of view, to what shoemaking tradition do you feel more attracted: British, Austro-Hungarian, Southern?
30 years ago I preferred English shoes and I wore English shoes most of the time until 2000 when I was converted to EdMeier München. In the last couple of years I found Viennese shoes most attractive because they combine excellent fit and elegant shapes. Nevertheless I presently order in Germany because I believe in regional production. It takes me 30 minutes by car to see Kay Gundlack, it makes so much more sense to use a local craftsman.
To be continued…