Photo: Rémy Lloyd / Caldecourt Productions
ABOUT Since teenage I love shoes. I’ve always been sensitive to the way a shoe completes the trousers. Obviously I prefer narrow trousers and especially jeans, whatever their color. I have always looked for shoes that combine harmoniously with jeans. I am allergic to shoes with thick rounded toe box. In front of the FNAC Rue de Rennes, in Paris, where I spent whole afternoons checking records one by one, stood a store called Creeks, trendy at the time, which sold a lot of pretty English shoes, Grenson for example. I was looking for seriously harmonious shape, From a distance I saw a shoe that seemed superb, I approached and there was something that did not work, it was never what I hoped for. I remember the boss of the record store Music Action, Carrefour de l’Odéon. He wore narrow jeans with fabulous cowboy boots that he bought in the US. They were really sharp, I never tired of admiring them. They married ideally with his jeans. It was so smooth, an incredible shape. The music played on enormous JBL speakers that spit out fire. I liked some Alden, Edward Green, Berluti, Church’s, Weston … I was always looking for the perfect shape, the definitive shoe. Experience I had my first job at New Balance where I became the boss for the french market, quite unexpectedly. It was a very small company then. We were a bunch of friends and only the brotherhood helped us get through the tough years. Then success attracted ambitious managers and the good spirit was mostly gone. I no longer felt at home so I left to launch Bluedy: men’s shoes that I was selling in 12 countries after 3 years. The word Bluedy was the opposite of bloody, it meant tenderness and melancholy. The theme obviously was the blue and the logo a drop of water: “the ocean is made of drops of water”. The philosophy was good. Unfortunately manufacturing worries forced me to stop.
I then joined Mizuno where friends and former colleagues from NB worked. A few good years but the slowness of the Japanese multinational bored me. I decided to create a new brand for man and woman, specialized in chelsea boots, playing with colours and materials, in a rock spirit. I called it TiNNSON. We want to be recognized as the chelsea boots specialists.
Tinnson was the nickname given to me by the friends of my brother Christophe when we were teen, an anglicized derivative of my first name Martin. It was Etienne who first used it. Etienne was part of a team of friends in Levesville-La-Chenard, south-west of Paris, all impassioned mechanics who spent their evenings dismantling and rebuilding old cars: DS21, Ford Mustang, Cadillac Deville, Citroen 2CV. Etienne was a force of nature, when he was 14 he brought the bullworker to stop. He ran the French sidecar cross-country championship with my brother, they even took part in a World Championship event in Austria. We were young, carefree and full of hope … Sacré Etienne!
It refers to book titles such as The Blue of the Sky by Georges Bataille, the blue the blue by Melmoth (Dashiell Hedayat). I have always loved the blue colour: blue means infinity, depth, dream, peace, serenity.
The chelsea boots is the shoe with the purest silhouette, the simplest, the most elegant, the one that best combines with narrow jeans. It is the model that illustrates the music with which I grew up. The Beatles, the Stones, Hendrix all wore chelsea boots. I decided to concentrate all my resources on a single model, I do not want to multiply shapes, models and lasts, I only want to offer the one I consider the most elegant: only one model to do the best possible job: the most beautiful model: the chelsea boots. I consider that a brand only makes sense if it has a clear personality in a specific cultural context. I am sensitive to small original brands. The big ones who want to sell to everyone leave me cold. With TiNNSON I combine my love of shoes with my passion for music. The chelsea boots were born in music, it is always there. Just look at Coachella performers. To pay tribute to the musicians who made me discover BEAUTY and gave me so many emotions, the logo of the brand is an electric guitar. Each sole is engraved with the image of a punk band, the essence of rock attitude, energy, speed and loud guitar. It illustrates the brand spirit. I named each model with the first name of one of my favorite musicians. But the priority is to offer product integrity and quality. My philosophy: doing something good, in my own way, modestly. We focus on 1 single type of product, the chelsea boots, in order to be recognized as the chelsea boots specialists. Make each pair of TiNNSON carefully using the best materials to offer an elegant, comfortable and durable chelsea boots over the long term. Select noble leathers, beautiful to look at, soft to touch, natural and sturdy. Choose a stitched sole and guarantee a careful manufacturing by craftsmen willing to do well. I want to provide full satisfaction to those of you who invest their hard earned cash in TiNNSON.
Friends repeated to me: “You should go to Portugal. They have experience at all price levels. You have big factories dedicated to volume but also very specialized small workshops focussed on top quality footwear. You need to search. But the quality is great, people are nice, experienced and efficient. They understand you, they like the job well done. With a little patience you can find the best quality. I visited many factories. One morning, near Sao-Joao da Madeira, I entered a workshop where I saw beautiful materials, beautiful samples, and I immediately sympathised with the boss, his son and his father. 3 generations working together, it was interesting. I found them fair, humble, caring, open, generous. I explained TiNNSON, they brought prototypes of their own production. I showed them my specifications. I mentionned shape and last so important to me, they understood. I saw in production the shoes of a classy British brand. I was in the right place. I looked at the shoes, the machines, the employees, 12 people in all. I felt good, I wanted to work with them. They smiled, we shared the same desire.
For several months we worked on the last to make it as harmonious as possible: comparison, hesitation, difficult balance … I was looking for a shape that is fine without being pointed, that is elegant without being common and that keeps a rock spirit. Harmonious but with character and personality. After a lot of testing we did it. I do not want a round, thick shape. For me the shoe is the continuity and the END of the silhouette so a round, thick or rising tip is a nonsense, a renunciation to elegance. The tip of the shoe must be as close to the ground as possible, so finesse is essential. That is obviously my humble opinion. I see nice things everywhere but I do not understand how one can draw different shapes simultaneously without compromise. Today I have a last which is the result of everything I have loved since teenage. We have defined the best fit: comfort, flexibility, authenticity, durability, a blake stitched sole, a proper counter reinforcer that structures the boots. I selected the materials of the sole, the lining in natural calfskin. During my travels I found excellent skins. I built the collection little by little. With TiNNSON I designed the boots that I wanted to wear.
The product 1- the chelsea boots TiNNSON are cut, stitched and assembled with great care in a family workshop (3 generations) in Sao Joao Da Madeira, in the north of Portugal. 2- the materials and the finishes are chosen by me according to quality and durability. We choose local suppliers as often as possible. We are careful to work in the best spirit with the production team. We fully respect their hard work and experience: it demands precision and vigilance at all times so that finished product is impeccable. 3- I aim for a high quality-price ratio so that every customer is DURABLY happy and proud of his TiNNSON boots. 4- I personally answer to each message, with Maelys help when necessary. 5- I have a simple ambition: an elegant, comfortable and durable boots. And exclusive. 6- We focus on 1 single type of products, the chelsea boots to optimize the quality and performance The price and value for money I am attached to finding the right balance: I will not sytematically choose the most expensive leathers but I want the best quality. For the full lining I chose the most beautiful natural calfskin, it is used on all TiNNSON models. All the prices coexist in the market and it is often difficult to distinguish the quality levels and the true value for money. The leather lining is a key indicator of the true quality of a product. Vachette, pig … or aniline calf? All elements come into play in long-term durability: those seen and those not seen: the quality of the counter is crucial, the quality of the thread for the Blake stitching, the leathers used in the sole… I work constantly with the workshop to improve the product quality, whether it is assembly or materials, even if it costs a little more, there is often way to improve. By concentrating the range on a single model and on a single form, I optimize the work of the team, which makes it possible to maintain a favorable price. Sell online / sell in stores Many of the messages you send us start with: Where can I try your boots? It would be convenient to provide you with a list of stores so long that no one needs to do 20, 50 km to see the range, touch the boots and try them out. Unfortunately it is complicated for a young brand today to develop a network of partner stores. Stores, whose economic situation is often difficult, require trade terms that are virtually impossible to satisfy for a brand with limited means and which aims at quality rather than quantity. Today, by offering two-way shipping, no shipping cost – free return, we allow everyone to try our boots without any commitment. Trying at home is the best way to get an objective opinion on the product. We will see in the future whether we can partner with stores who share our values. I believe in the store if the passion, the human and the advice are the engines, but not at any price. I like the human element. Quality / quantity I’m not talking about volume. I want to build a brand modest in its economic dimension and strong in its relationship with its customers. Thanks to the quality of our boots, thanks to the integrity of our relationship with each of you. I want to do something good. With your help. If we do quality we will eventually get the quantity that will allow us to balance our accounts. If we seek quantity we will never do anything truly beautiful.
pics I shot all the product pictures. No photoshop, no retouching, just a Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor DX 18-105 and an industrial trimming. Be kind.
JIMI is the heart of the range of TiNNSON boots, calf suede in colors. I chose several bright colors to illustrate the psychedelia of Jimi Hendrix in the late 60ies. DEDICATED TO JIMI HENDRIX Why I named it JIMI JIMI’s technical details
Mens Chelsea boots made from black full grain leather. The IGGY chelsea are directly inspired by the boots of the Sixties in black leather. DEDICATED to IGGY POP why I named it IGGY IGGY technical features
With the JOHNNY I wanted to create a more rugged boots. The sole is reinforced and strengthened in all directions to provide more protection to the upper. DEDICATED to JOHNNY RAMONE and JOHNNY THUNDERS why I named it JOHNNY JOHNNY’s technical features
PLEASE READ CAREFULLY BEFORE SELECTING YOUR SIZE: Warning: TiNNSON has a rather generous sizing. For instance: I wear 9.5US in New Balance, it is equivalent to 43 in Europe sizing and yet my size with TiNNSON is 42. My advice: choose a size smaller than your usual size If you wear 44 in general you must choose 43 in TiNNSON.
To choose the right size please measure your foot as indicated above and reported the length in centimeters to the board below. The return is free for 30 days but I prefer that you find the right size from the first. Any question please ask. A piece of advice: Do not wear your boots two days in a row: let the leather breathe and evacuate perspiration for 24 hours.
THANKS Plismo (& PB Toman) we adapt their photo to create the sole design Thanks to Woytek for his support, creativity and luminous Livingstone photos. Thanks to BLANCHEMAILLE, Samuel, Justine and all the fine brothers there… Thanks to Houssam/Haytham, Romain, Maelys, Sara, Marie, ANNE… and especially the very first TiNNSON customers!
Special Thanks to Rémy Lloyd @ Caldecourt Productions for his beautiful photographies. https://www.caldecourtproductions.com