I really love what Mark McNairy has done in the shoe industry. In what used to be a relatively dull, no-color ridden market, Mark McNairy decided to do something about it and launched his line, emphasizing this prep-chic style (loafers, heavy brogues and buck’s) that incorporated a lot of color, particularly in the soles. And since then, he has seemed to grow at an exponential rate. And that is simply great! When coming out with something so bold, as this concept is, one would think that it is either going to make it, or break it. Luckily he made it, even with shoes as daring and colorful as a crayola box.
As I put together my first collection, I am growing insecure (even though I shouldn’t) about offering classic dress shoes with colorful options (such as a full-brogue in navy or a forest green whole-cut). When you think about starting a line, you have to know that even though you may want to make all of the craziest options that you always dreamed of owning, you have to also realize that you need to make things that will sell, so that you can stay in business. This is what I appreciate about people like Mark McNairy and Mr. Hare. They both created something that they felt was missing, hit it dead on and are now growing at exponential rates. I just hope that my first collection will have this kind of impact, as I believe that I have been studying a long time, what is lacking in the current marketplace….
Some pictures provide by: The Shoe Buff
I purchased a pair of Crazy Saddles similar to the first pic a few months back and have been wearing them to death. What I love about his collection is that most, if not all, of the shoes are carefully made in England or the US. A fact that most forward-thinking brands neglect (Portugal immediately comes to mind, but I’m in no position to make a proper assessment of the quality of shoes made there compared to the former .)
In your opinion, do the lower costs of production in Portugal equate noticeable drops in quality of construction (I understand that many of the factories use Italian leather).
The Shoe Snob
Benjy – Before coming to Europe, I might have thought the same thing. But there is a big misconception in the quality of shoes and where they come from these days. It used to be that the only good shoes came from certain countries, like England, the US and Italy but this is no longer the case. Due to globalization, things have changed and where you used to get great shoes, you get shit and where shit used to be made, you can get good shoes. What separates prices these days is the cost of labor. Places like England, have a very high cost of labor, where as places like Portugal and Spain have a lower cost of labor and therefore can make a shoe that may be just as good as a mid-level English shoe for a lot lower cost. Granted, some of the best shoes in the world still come out of the same places: England, Italy & France but other places are making it on this list… Loake,for example, a English made shoe, cost $360-$400 dollars and is rubbish!
-Justin, “The Shoe Snob”
Hi, am thinking of getting blue snuff suede brogues with white soles from McNairy but worried on with what I can wear them with. can I get away with it with a suit? jacket? jeans? Will the soles make it too casual? I kind of like the accent that they make.
Justin FitzPatrick, "The Shoe Snob"
Anon – I think that you should definitely do it, but don’t pair them with suits. Anything that has a white sole is going to be on the more casual side, not formal in anyway. Read this, it might help:
Hope that this helps,