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Young, American bespoke shoemaker, Francis Waplinger, recently came out with a new model that is truly unique and an idea all of his own. Never have I see a model like this that amalgamates 2-3 very unique designs, depending on how you look at it, to create one ultimate shoe. In one part it is somewhat of a gladiator brogue. In another aspect it is a saddle brogue. And to top it off, its cap is inverted, leaving the leather strap on the vamp on top of the cap piece. This is unique as the cap is almost always on top of the vamp. And lastly, on the saddle piece is a unique peak design that allows the saddle to extend to the heel, leaving it free of the typical heel counter design.

Yet Francis takes it one step further even, with a sole dye job that I have never seen either and quite possibly might be my favorite yet. Most makers tend to focus on designing something that caters to the shape of the fiddleback feature. Which can be elegant and most certainly beautiful but its novelty has worn off and is now more the norm than anything else. It has thus lost its appeal in my mind. Francis probably felt the same and therefore instead created this very simple yet very intriguing added black line, separating yet again the natural leather sole from the painted black part with a beautiful sweeping like asymmetrical design. It reminds me of a horizon. I dont know why but it does.

Francis is quickly growing his name in the USA with a small handmade RTW/MTM line as well as his very small (pairs per year) yet beautiful bespoke business. But he is growing and this is what I like to see, eslecially as he is a fellow Northwest boy hailing from Washington, like myself!

This is a new model to add to his collection of samples and I can imagine seeing a lot of people ordering it for their bespoke endeavors. Here it is made in Zonta’s gorgeous burgundy museum calf but imagine the possibilities that can be done with this model. Hoping to see someone quickly order it in a two tone variation.

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