I remember first discovering the tarsal brogue way back when on a pair of Riccardo Bestetti shoes, back when my good friend was still around making some of the world’s most beautiful shoes. He called his version ‘The Gladiator.’ Not knowing any better at the time, I thought they were literally called ‘Gladiator brogues.’ I was always intrigued by them but never thought to add one to my collection. Until recently….
Fast forward about 8 years or so and one day a client from my brand, J.FitzPatrick Footwear, who is an animation creator asked for a tarsal brogue via MTO. Normally, I am not one to make 100% custom models via MTO, but this particular customer has the ability to essentially create the pattern for the factory, nearly doing their job for them. His special skill made this project a no-brainer. As I was always curious to try one out and love to see how patterns fit my lasts, I decided to therefore take him up on that and I am glad that I did as I believe he created a very cool model, hence it is named after him: ‘The Phillips.’
Sadly, Bestetti no longer makes shoes but my other good friend, Norman Vilalta, has kept the torch alive with all of his versions of them (you can see two above). He is quite fond of them and even makes one in a derby form that is very nice (see below). I recently wrote about them here. I am just waiting for him to make a loafer version 😉 Let’s see if he reads this and then does it. GMTO Style! I will be pleased to see that happen and am sure that it is been in his thoughts already. Here is the mental push!
Another fan of this old-world style is French designer Marc Guyot, who you can always count on to make playful shoes and menswear style in general. I always love to see his creations and it is no surprise with the two fabric versions below. Like me, Marc loves to incorporate cloth/fabric into his footwear. I think that is why we both have an admiration for each other. Plus, although I have never met him in person, Marc seems like a great guy. Definitely check out his work if you have not heard of him.
You do not see people wearing full brogues like they used to. It was a classic staple in most men’s wardrobes around 20-30 years ago. That has been replaced by the adelaide now. But, as the world evolves, I would not be surprised to see more people adding a tarsal brogue to their collections. Its addition of the tarsal strap maintains that air of casualness that is so often desired in today’s wardrobe. Shoes that you can wear with jeans, or chinos, as suits almost seem a relic of a bygone era. The tarsal brogue can be worn with a suit, but also every other trouser out there. For me, its versatility is high. At least if you do not work at the bank and have to wear plain cap toe oxfords. But dress codes are so lax these days you can show up in your sneakers and no one looks twice anymore. So a good ‘ol tarsal brogue would be a step up!
I fully intend to grab myself a pair of the black on black suede version (above) and if you follow my Instagram account, you can bet that you will see me wearing them with jeans on a regular basis. I have been looking at a pair long enough, figured it is about time that I add one to the wardrobe!
The question is, what would you wear them with? If that is, you would wear them at all?!
The ones below are a part of a current GMTO that I am running in my brand, through the month of February, 2022. Learn more at the link below
J.FitzPatrick GMTO with Tarsal Brogue: https://www.jfitzpatrickfootwear.com/collections/gmto-crowdfund
Join the Discussion