To me, the whole-cut dress shoe sums this definition up to a ‘T.’ The fact that it has no stitching (apart from the heel) leaves it completely refined and flawless. Obviously not every whole-cut ever made has fit this description but when they have been made properly, with a beautiful last shape, they are second-to-none on the stunning scale!!
In a modern day, where dress rules are being broken all the time such as not wearing white until after labor day or only wearing patent leather shoes with a tuxedo you see that the whole-cut shoe is bending this tuxedo rule slowly by becoming the ‘new’ tux shoe for those who do not wish to wear patent, which is becoming the majority of people. While I love clean-looking patent leather shoes, many people (that I have had experience in helping) unfortunately do not see the practicality of buying a shoe that THEY can only wear for special occasions and therefore opt to something else that is within the same elegance level but has a larger range of functionality. Being that stitching brings out the casualness in a shoe and the whole-cut has virtually no stitching it becomes the top contender for replacing a tuxedo shoe.
Coming from a shoe-making standpoint, the whole-cut style is one of the hardest, if not the hardest, style to last. For those that don’t know what that means, ‘lasting’ is when you take the upper leather (all sewed together) and attach it to the wooden form that represents your foot. The reason why it is so difficult is because of the fact that it does not have any stitching to allow some give when pulling the leather over the last. If not done properly, it can leave gaps of space in between the upper leather and your last and when having a pair of shoes made for you it can create a spot of loose leather. However, if made properly, the way the leather of a whole-cut shoe follows the shape of the form becomes a sight of appreciation that, in my opinion, is more appealing to the eye compared to shoes that have stitching. So if you are an avid fan of dress shoes and do not have a whole-cut shoe in your wardrobe, I would say that it is time to re-evaluate your chosen styles and find yourself a nice pair!
Both Same Shoe By: Gaziano & Girling