When I first started to get serious about refining my personal style, I ran into an industry fellow who categorized himself as a “shoe guy.” As more or less a style novice, I didn’t quite understand his predilection for footwear.
Since I was just getting my footing – pun, honestly, not intended – in the broader world of men’s style, my mind was focused on things like the tenuous distinctions between bespoke and MTM and the merits of patch pockets v. flap pockets. Footwear was calculus and I was still learning to add.
Fast forward several years and I can now say that I “get it.” Shoes are the anchor of every outfit and having the right footwear for the right occasion is key. Cap-toes and wingtips are essential footwear styles, but once you really get down into it you realize there are so many other styles that can be the perfect complement to the perfect outfit. Take the wholecut shoe, for instance.
What is a wholecut shoe? It’s fairly simple, actually, and exactly what it sounds like. Most shoes are made with multiple pieces of leather stitched together to form the shoe’s upper. A wholecut shoe, on the other hand, is cut from just one piece. The result is a very clean, refined and elegant look.
In black, they are a good candidate for replacing the patent leather tuxedo shoe. In fact, I’d say that a black wholecut looks better than patent leather with a tux any day of the week. And in oxblood, they’re perfect for a polished business ensemble. The pair I’m wearing are a new offering from NY-based footwear company, Paul Evans. Here’s a bit about them.
High-quality footwear can be a costly endeavor, but as a direct to consumer luxury footwear brand, Paul Evans completely eliminates the middle man and, thereore, the retail markup. A similar shoe would cost upwards of $800 in a department store, but they’re able to sell at a much lower price point – $400 and below.
All Paul Evans shoes are handmade in Naples, Italy, using the best Italian calfskin leather in a family-owned factory of artisans trained in the fine art of Italian shoemaking.
The Martin Wholecut is actually my second pair of Paul Evans shoes – I’ve also got a pair of oxblood cap toes. The shoes are comfortable and fit well, though I’d definitely order a size down, as their site recommends. As these are new for me, I can’t speak to how they’ve broken in over time, but as they’re made with high-quality leather, I’d be surprised if they don’t continue to get better with age.
Thanks for reading.
He Spoke Style