I read a few things on shoe-making lately that make me want to react.
When I decided to launch TiNNSON I had in mind to limit the product range to 1 single item: the chelsea boots.
I did not feel I could do well on more than 1 product at a time – if I really wanted to have an excellent shoe.
One of the first decisions concerned the sole construction. What material, what kind of assembly, what kind of stitching? I chose a full leather sole.
Why? Because I want a refined shoe with a very sleek profile. As I explained elsewhere the silhouette of my client is what matters to me the most. The narrow trousers end with the narrow boots and the thickness of the sole plays a role. I do not want it to look too thick.
In addition I want a boots close to the foot, light, flexible, so flexible that after a few months it will comfortably wrap the foot.
The TiNNSON boots are designed for this closeness to the foot. They should feel like a second skin. This is comfort. If I use a thick sole it will have to be worn and worn and the risk is high to never make it really flexible.
I remember buying a pair of double buckle John Lobb. I never managed to overcome its rigidity. What good is it to have an indestructible sole if you can not wear it in comfort and lightness?
If I use a material other than leather for the sole I can not reach the level of quality/performance required. If I use rubber or foam I immediately need more thickness and I compromise the silhouette. Rubber (or polyurethane …) is strong but heavy. The foam is light and flexible but fragile. Leather is the best solution.
Why did I choose blake stitching? Obviously the shoe lover is always tempted by the goodyear welt which is a bit like the Holy Grail of the shoe, historically. The goodyear is super strong but it requires thickness and it makes the shoe stiff, if only because of the additional welt piece and the very tight stitching. I made prototypes in Goodyear but I think blake is an easier going product. Certainly the goodyear also guarantees insulation, especially when it is raining. But if you spend several hours under pouring rain the water will cause damage to your shoe much beyond the sole and even if the sole is perfectly waterproof (not easy to realize, believe me) this is not recommended.
You can have an unbreakable sole but if the leather of your upper is not perfect? You really have to find the balance in the design and use of the materials. My advice to TiNNSON customers: if you want to use your boots for many years you ask your local shop to stick a rubber pad so you protect your leather sole and when the pad is worn, you replace it. You can keep your boots in a very good condition for a long time. Obviously you must take care of the upper part of the shoe with a nice wax such as Saphir.
As you can see there is no such thing as a better way of making shoes. My philosophy is the balance between quality, comfort and elegance. I am not trying to make an academic boot. I want the best compromise. And lasting satisfaction.
I will talk about leathers in a future article.