OTC Goes Handmade With Paul Stuart Footwear

Making Shoes OTC Goes Handmade With Paul Stuart Footwear

True personalization is the epitome of luxury. The idea of something crafted specifically and uniquely for you – to fit your particular body in all of its glorious imperfection – is what makes the world of bespoke so special, attractive, and often expensive.

Perhaps nowhere is the true benefit of customized fit more evident than with footwear. A bespoke suit is a wonderfully comfortable expression of a tailor’s craft; a garment that can change how you feel about yourself and how others see you. Made to measure shoes, however, are another thing all together.

Well crafted shoes are utilitarian as well as practical, functional, and vital accessories that can quite literally make or break your day. Even the best looking, most elegantly crafted brogues are worthless if it hurts too much to walk or they simply do not fit your particular feet.

PS Classic Logo OTC Goes Handmade With Paul Stuart FootwearPaul Stuart, already the byword for elegant comfort that speaks to a classic landed gentry aesthetic, has recently launched a made to order shoe program, taking up the banner of luxury footwear personalization. Blending their signature landed gentry style with the precision of the cobbler’s art, Paul Stuart’s exceptional English and Italian footwear is something to notice.

OTC in NYC

OTC has been invited to try out and document the Paul Stuart custom footwear experience and we’d like to bring you along for the ride.

On Tuesday, October 21, 2014, we will be in-house at the Paul Stuart flagship store at 354 Madison Avenue to meet the shoe-makers. OTC editor-in-chief Chris Hogan will learn about what goes into their made to measure Italian Classic footwear, get measured, and pick out all the details for our personalized pair.  Mark your calendars to stop by, say hi, and possibly look into ordering a pair for yourself.

Afterwards, we will be updating you throughout the entire process; as the shoes are formed, crafted, finished, and delivered. We are thrilled to be part of this outstanding event and look forward to showing you how the kick-off consultation at Paul Stuart goes.

In addition to OTC, the Paul Stuart team selected four other leading style influencers to be part of this project: Jake Metzger of Downeast and Out, Skylar Bergl of Four-Pins, Max Twitty of Gents Among Men, and Christopher Fenimore of his eponymous blog.

You can become an integral part of this social media experience too by following Paul Stuart, all of the influencers, and tagging @paulstuartny and #paulstuartshoes.

Those wishing to schedule an appointment during the shoe event or requiring more information are invited to contact Peter Agati at 212.682.0320 (ext. 546) or Peter.Agati@paulstuart.com.

paulstuart fall2014 MTOshoes page b OTC Goes Handmade With Paul Stuart Footwear

 

Going Custom With Allen Edmonds

Screenshot 2014 10 06 12.42.15 Going Custom With Allen EdmondsWe are working on an exciting project with iconic American footwear brand, Allen Edmonds.

“Custom” is the big buzzword throughout the fashion and menswear world right now: custom suits, custom shirts, custom trousers, even custom watch straps. To this ever-growing world of specialized fit and individual uniqueness now add customized shoes.

Of course, bespoke footwear has been around for centuries. One can still ring up John Lobb and set an appointment to begin the lengthy, and suitably expensive, process of creating a pair of shoes that will literally fit you feet like gloves. If, however, you require something more logistically and financially manageable, Allen Edmonds has the online tool for you.

Dubbed, the “shoe configurator”, this new tool offers you several footwear models, from casual boat shoes to dress cap toes, that can be tweaked and sized on a variety of levels never before offered. From changing the shoe’s color or type of leather to selecting two different sizes should your feet vary, to swapping soles. You can even mix and match leathers and colors to create some seriously customized (and potentially vibrant) shoes. Allen Edmonds plans to roll out even more features for the configurator soon.

Screenshot 2014 10 06 12.37.35 Going Custom With Allen Edmonds

To be sure, it’s not inexpensive. Although compared to taking the bespoke route, it’s certainly a fair price for what you get – a pair of shoe far more customized to your fit and likes than would be available almost anywhere else; and from a company with a track record that bespeaks quality.

The tool’s interface is easy and intuitive. You start out with the standard model, and the variations you choose dictate the eventual cost of the final product. We gave it a try and settled on the classic wing McAllister wing tip. As we now are heading into autumn, the logical choice was a dark brogue suede. And, since inclement weather comes with the territory, we selected the mini-lug sole.

Simple and classic? You bet. But also, exactly what we wanted, right from the easy chair – and that’s the point.

We eagerly await the results (expect to wait about four weeks), and will show you the shoes once they arrive. Even more exciting for you is that we will be conducting a special giveaway that will let one lucky OTC reader create their very own pair of custom Allen Edmonds shoes!

So, stay tuned and check back.

Screenshot 2014 10 06 12.37.22 Going Custom With Allen Edmonds

 

OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

DSC 0650 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

OTC is proud to be a brand ambassador for the footwear and lifestyle brand ECCO.  When it comes to everyday life, we often need items that work well, get the job done, and are a comfortable fit.  More often than you might think, ECCO products fit that bill.

Shoes that are incredibly comfortable and versatile, bags that work in the real world, and accessories that fit a casual, European inspired lifestyle, are the hallmarks of ECCO products.  Modern styles and technical functionality are also core attributes of the company and our recent shipment highlights all these elements.

For Spring 2014, we are checking out some classic hand-sewn boat shoes, a pair of hybrid day sneakers, and a leather zip tote that makes for a stylish office alternative.

BIOM Lite 1.1 Sneaker

DSC 0634 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

Ellery Boat Shoe

DSC 0632 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

Deane Tote Shopper

DSC 0631 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

Here are a few additional views:

DSC 0649 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

DSC 0663 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

DSC 0651 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 GearDSC 0648 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

DSC 0658 OTC & ECCO, Spring 2014 Gear

 

Paul Evans Grant 4 Paul Evans Shoes: American Energy & Italian QualityWe realized there was something special about Paul Evans oxfords the moment we put them on.  OTC tests products in a somewhat unique way, taking longer to assess a brand than most other blogs or websites.  We make the products we review part of our daily lives.

That means we wear the clothes, carry the bags, write with the pens, and use the gadgets.  We also walk miles in the shoes and boots and throw stuff in the wash whenever we can.  In many cases, we continue to use and carry the items you read about here – testament to our long-standing goal of recommending products and brands we ourselves actually use long after the review is posted.  We strive to provide our readers with a comprehensive assessment of the products and brands we recommend.

2014 02 04 17.00.52 Paul Evans Shoes: American Energy & Italian QualityTo that end, slipping on those Paul Evans Grant oxfords was a departure from the many other shoes we have tried out.

Paul Evans’ Grant is built on a European last that among other things, provides a distinctive and noticeable arch support.  It’s an immediate sensation that signals to the wearer that he is experiencing something different.  Good different.

It holds the foot at a stronger angle and provides greater heel stability.  It prompts the wearer to assume a more formal stance and mature posture.  Not at all uncomfortable, simply different and, in a way, compellingly confident.

Combined with outstanding Italian construction, and beautifully soft calfskin uppers burnished to a soft glow, these shoes are, in a word, exceptional.  Fully leather lined and Blake stitched, they are light, flexible, and sturdy.  These shoes are also simply beautiful to look at; lean and elegant but also firmly masculine and substantial.  Even paired with trim jeans and an odd sport coat, they make you look great.

The Grant is a dress shoe in the best of ways, meaning that its balance of elegance and construction create something that both attracts attention but defies explanation.  We constantly had people comment on and compliment these shoes, often without calling out a particular feature.  Typically, it was something to the effect of, “oh my gosh – what shoes are those? They’re gorgeous.”

What truly impressed us was the fact that the substance lives up to the style.  For the price, this degree of refined style and exceptional construction is simply not found in other dress shoes.  In addition, as a small company, the Paul Evens team is personally committed to maintaining the quality of their products in a way that larger companies cannot.  They are shoes guys obsessed with making world class footwear at a fair price and building a loyal following that appreciates those values.

OTC thinks they are off to a great start.  Oh, the suede loafers and chukkas look killer too.

Paul Evans Grant 1 Paul Evans Shoes: American Energy & Italian Quality

Paul Evans Grant 5 Paul Evans Shoes: American Energy & Italian Quality

Paul Evans Grant 2 Paul Evans Shoes: American Energy & Italian Quality

 

ECCO: Your ‘Heading Out’ Shoes

ECCO Moc Toe 1 ECCO: Your Heading Out Shoes

Everyone needs a pair of shoes that serve as your default.  The ones that you pull on when heading out to the store, walk the dog, run some errands, or an afternoon antiquing.

ECCO makes those shoes, and they make them well.  In fact, the privately held Danish company is the only major shoe manufacturer in the world that owns and manages every step of the shoe making process.  As a reflection of that commitment, the company was just selected as the 2013 Best Shoe Manufacturer by the German footwear industry.  The award was presented last month at the prestigious Schuhkurier & step Award event, in Düsseldorf.

What does that mean to us?  For starters, it reinforces OTC’s commitment to being an ECCO brand ambassador, something we do very sparingly and only for brands with which we have a long relationship.  In addition, it reminds us of the ECCO commitment to developing shoes you want to wear when you really need to go somewhere.  While they have recently rolled out some very sharp business and business casual lines, we love their get-out-there-and-walk shoes.

First and foremost, ECCO’s shoes are made for walking and comfort, whether to a staff meeting or up a mountain.  There is something to fit everyone’s need.

So, what’s our choice for the OTC ‘heading out’ shoes? ECCO’s Fusion Moc Toe.  The combine the style of a low boat or camp shoe with the support and comfort of a serious walking shoe.  Equally important is that they fit and feel great with or without socks.  We have paired these with khakis, jeans, and cords and the ECCO’s functionally classic style has always worked well.

We love these shoes so much that when heading out Chicago to cover the Stella Artois Cidre launch party, they were the on shoes we took (below).

2013 07 24 17.22.34 ECCO: Your Heading Out Shoes