Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Septieme Largeur

 

There is nothing new about Commando soles. They have been around for the longest time.  But what is new is the fact that they are gaining momentum in the classic dress shoe industry, being implemented on pairs that would otherwise normally have ‘dress soles.’ And this trend appears to be here to stay, at least for a few years more.

When I think of a Commando Sole I think about the classic Alpine boot by Paraboot (shown below), the classic Timberland boot that everyone used to wear, or Santoni’s famous Fur Lined boots. I never really pictured them on a loafer or an oxford or even a monkstrap. Yet today, you can find the commando sole on nearly any model if you look hard enough. And the reality is that this is not novel. The Italian designer/larger brands – think Prada, Church’s, Santoni, Gucci (classic bit loafer on lug sole) etc – have been doing this for years. But I don’t really pay attention to those companies as I tend to put my focus more on the classic dress shoe brands and/or ones that are semi-classic that fuse other unique ideas into their ethos but that do not stray into the designer unknown. Hence this post only being written now, after 11 years of having the blog.

Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Paraboot
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Bontoni Shoes
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Santoni Shoes

I never thought much about it when Norman Vilalta launched his collection and incorporated a lot of commando soles on models that traditionally never had them. I thought, ‘there is Norman being Norman and uniquely himself.’ It was not really my style to put heavy soles on shoes supposedly meant for ‘Summer’ attire. But I always appreciated the fact that Norman did what he liked and wanted. And as time went on it intrigued me more and more. And I think everyone else too. So, for me, while Norman surely did not create the idea of putting commando soles on dress shoes, I think that his influence in the dress shoe industry and heavy use of commando soles on all models has created a ripple effect that is starting to take place. And, I won’t lie, I am guilty of getting on board with it.

Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Norman Vilalta
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Norman Vilalta
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Norman Vilalta
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Norman Vilalta
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Norman Vilalta
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Norman Vilalta
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Norman Vilalta
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Norman Vilalta
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Norman Vilalta

Last A/W saw the first, real influx of commando soles on unconventional models for this look/idea. Crockett & Jones put it on a huge proportion of their Winter line, from boots to monkstraps to even loafers. Which blew my mind being that they are one of the more traditional shoemakers still left (most others have followed all other trends and left their traditional roots behind). Then Septieme Largeur did so too, not only in the A/W but also in their S/S putting a huge commando sole on a pair of blue suede derbies (featured above). And I am pretty sure this model crushed it in sales. And if it did, that definitely left a taste in their mouth to follow through with more commando soled creations. And I can only imagine what A/W ’22 will bring not only for these brands mentioned on the post but for the many others that have caught on to this idea and will inevitably be looking to stay afloat by offering some form of commando model. Time will certainly tell. And I think that time is just around the corner.

Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
crockett & jones
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
crockett & jones
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
crockett & jones
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
crockett & jones
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
crockett & jones
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Septieme Largeur
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Septieme Largeur
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Septieme Largeur
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Septieme Largeur
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Septieme Largeur
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Septieme Largeur

Lastly, a bit about my own journey with commando soles. At heart, when it comes to dress shoe models, I am quite traditional. I like leather soles. If you have been following the J.FitzPatrick line from its inception, you will know that you can probably count on your two hands how many rubber sole models I have released. I nearly put everything on a leather sole (hiking boots not included). But at the same time, as I get older and evolve, I am continuously pushing myself to be open to trying new things. The commando sole was a big one for me. I don’t like clunky things. At all. It doesn’t suit my style. But as I have evolved, so have commando soles. There are varying degrees of height to their rubber studs. And so when my factory found a fairly soft version of one with a thin trim on the welt and not with too much height that added to your stature, I thought to myself, ‘let me see what all of the fuss is all about.’ So I made a few samples. But I did so on models that for me, could/would be a commando sole type. 1. My hiking boot, which a commando sole fits naturally on. And 2. My button boots, which are not normally a commando sole type of style. And you can see the results below.

I have a feeling that in a few months we will see a flood of options with commando soles. So get ready for it. And if you don’t like commando soles, well you better get on board as I think that this trend is here to stay!

Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
J.FitzPatrick Footwear
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
J.FitzPatrick Footwear
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
J.FitzPatrick Footwear
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
J.FitzPatrick Footwear
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Orban’s
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Orban’s
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Orban’s
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Barbanera
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Barbanera
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Paolo Scafora
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Altan Bottier
Commando Soles - The Latest Trend
Altan Bottier

Share:

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on reddit
Share on pinterest
Share on tumblr
Share on email

12 thoughts on “Commando Soles – The Latest Trend”

  1. Chris from Norway

    Perfect, this trend is perfect for everyone living in areas with long slippery winters. For us it’s definitely good to have a wider set of options, and something ‘new’ to boast our sophistication through

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      Yes indeed Chris! Especially in Norway, commando soles are nothing new for you guys up there.

  2. I felt same way you did; then, living in Houston, I decided I needed more rubber soles. Leo from Bergdorf shipped me 2 Bontoni commandos and I am hooked. The Septieme blue sueded are the gold standard but always out of stock.

  3. There is nothing new about commando soles. As far as i remember it was a trend 25-30 years ago. 🙂
    Especially for young ladies at the start of the 90s.
    Even if it´s not my style it´s nice to see variety.

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      no, nothing new at all but new to this industry i.e. the prevalence of them being incorporated onto my ‘classic’ styles, not just boots etc

  4. Hello Justin,
    interesting post, it opened my eyes for some of the more appealling commando-sole models out there.

    Just as you, i am usually not into clunky things and especially the whole “putting absurdely thick soles on otherwise normal looking shoes and making the wearers look like some grotesque, club-footed clown”-trend (Does anyone else remember the “Buffalo”-trend back in the 90’s? There have been some sightings of those things lately, obviously Zombies resurrected from the grave shambling through the streets…gruesome.)

    But especially a dark-on-dark colour-combination underneath a rather sturdy base models (think Derbies and Derby-boots, Chuckkas etc.) seem to work just fine, as long as the proportions stay harmonious, otherwise the look easily risks drifting into rather asymetrical territory, making it an exhibit of modern art or a failed case study from some edgy kid’s industrial-design seminar.

    Anyhow, i very much like your take on the button-boots, it looks suprisingly agreeably, as if it has been predestined to come together that way.
    Keep on innovating!

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      Thank you for commenting and your kind words. I do very much appreciate your support not only here in the blog, but also your kind words with regards to my brand.

  5. Steve Wierhake

    For winter – in places where there is snow and ice (even if only sometimes), I think shoes with soles like that are fine and some of them look pretty good. I think your brand along with Septieme Largeur have done the best in terms of balancing out the thickness of the soles relative to the rest of the shoe/boot. I think the other models from some of the brands using noticeably thicker soles look a bit faddish – not as classic.

  6. William Gartin

    Whenever it come time to resole my Snoqualmies, I’ll likely have Vibram commandos put on. It seems like the right look for that boot.

    I can mostly take it or leave it on derby boots and shoes, but to my eye, it’s just as wrong on oxfords as an AE Park Avenue with a tennis shoe sole. (Ack!)

    I tend to think of your button boots as dress boots, like balmoral boots. So, while I don’t really dislike it on these, it’s not for me.

    It will be interesting to see how the market responds to these.

    1. Justin FitzPatrick

      Thank you for sharing William and yes, whenever you manage to destroy the hard-wearing City Rubber sole, a commando option will be good. And yes, I too, am curious to see how the market reacts to the button boot commando concoction

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome to The Shoe Snob Blog! 

This blog was created to not only show the journey of one man who wanted to make the shoe industry the best it could be but also the share all of the knowledge gained along the way. 

Ultimately this blog is about seeing men wearing better shoes through education and sharing what is out there that deserves recognition. 

Click the link to read more about me and my journey to make this all happen!