Sunday, March 14, 2010

Making of: Tale of Two Shoes.

Tenue de Nimes, the Amsterdam-based denim concept shop, offers two videos of the same thing, a shoe, being produced in two very different ways.(They seem to be on a streak of producing highly-watchable videos. If you haven't yet, have a look at their short interview with The Man, mr. Nigel Cabourn.)
First, a visit to Grenson, in Rushden, Northamptonshire to have a look at the roughly 250 step process in making the traditionally English, Goodyear-welted Grenson shoe. With much of the work done by hand, Grenson still produces footwear much the same way (not entirely, of course.) and to the same standards as it has since 1866. The pride taken in their Goodyear welt is evident. And you'll notice a pair of 40 year old Grenson's in there for repair. Goodyear welting allows the shoe to essentially be rebuilt from the sole up and worn for a lifetime. It's a really interesting look at the modern state of the British Heritage brand.

The second, from Tenue de Nimes blog, follows a pair of shoes, beginning to end, manufactured by MOMA. Now, although their line isn't my thing(*NOTE: I make exception for their desert boots and a few others. They look rather good and I wouldn't be surprised if J.Crew's MacAlister boot wasn't manufactured in the same factory. Anyone know?), the very stylized video had my complete attention. It hums with effeciency. Certainly a different feel from the very personal, hands on Grenson approach, but very cool none the less. You'll notice the main difference between the two, aside from Grenson's roughly 120 year seniority, is the sole construction.

It's an interesting side by side comparison in manufacturing and qualities inherent to each step along the way. No pun intended.


Anonymous said...

I've been interested in checking out some Grensons. This video definitely made me even more confident in wanting a pair. Anyone know a place in New York that carries them?(preferably their highest line)

I can see what you mean about the MOMA desertboots and the Macs...all that glue would explain their unique smell out of the box.

Anonymous said...

leffott (sp?) on christopher street has an exceptional collection of shoes...grenson, crockett and jones, etc...

this is a great post. ive been a fan of british handmade shoes for 5-6 years now and im 29. i always thought they look classy as hell, super well made, and just exude classic cool.