Francis Waplinger recently made himself some spectator shoes for his wedding. I say recently, although I believe it was around a year ago. But I had the pleasure of seeing him wear them at the last The Sartorial Club event in NYC, and found them incredibly intriguing. I won’t lie, I was not originally enamored by the photos but on the feet they looked completely different. Way more cool. Especially as they were not as bright and the patent accents almost looked like dark teal.
I am usually not a fan of patent leather. Essentially, it is a type of bookbinder leather and is often used to mask bad leather. But I do find it more appetizing when used as accent pieces, such as Francis did here with his wedding spectators. It then offers a very unique look that is obviosuly ummatched elsewhere. These spectators gave off that vibe, especially as Francis had the foresight to go against the grain and leave the welt natural in the stitching section. That is a subtle detail most wouldn’t think about. But Francis did.
For those that do not know Francis Waplinger and I have a very similar story. Both of us are from Seattle and went to Italy to study shoemaking. The difference is that Francis dedicated his life to bespoke while I went down the RTW path. And now we both live in the New York region. Go figure! We stay in contact and I love to support him as one of the few American bespoke shoemakers out there. I highly suggest giving him a try if you are US based and looking for a local bespoke maker.
Learn more: https://www.franciswaplinger.com/