What Are Triumph Toe Plates?
The Triumph Toe Plate is/was the cream of the crop when it came to metal toe protectors. I say ‘was’ as I do not believe that the original Triumph Toe Plates are actually being sold anymore. I will discuss more on that below. But the original Triumphs were solid brass toe plates were 3 mm thick. They were made in Germany and were the absolute top product for building a robust toe area.
They were a premium product compared to other offerings in their field due to the fact that they were solid brass, had more material than their competitor, and were a touch more challenging to affix. Not for a skilled craftsman but definitely a step or two more involved in mounting them. For the longest time, they were favored by high-end makers as their prestigious reputation preceded them. They also gave off a very cool contrast with a sparkle of something gold-looking at your toe area. See the images for reference. And that sure beats a chewed-up-looking toe area. And rest assured with Triumphs on, you would never have that chewed-up look.
What Happened To Triumph?
I cannot say for sure, but I believe the company that made the original Triumph Toe Plates went under in 2020/2021. I am quite sure I read that somewhere and from the fact that no cobblers in the US have the solid brass ones anymore, it would appear to be accurate. From the looks of things, someone purchased the rights to their brand name and has recreated a lesser version of them. I say ‘lesser’ as they are now only brass plated and about 1.5 mm thick. And this is where the question of ‘are they worth it’ comes into play.
Are They Worth It?
This is the question you might have when considering to them your shoes. I think that this was easier answered when the original solid brass version was in circulation. Of course, I cannot answer this question for you so allow me to just mention their qualities. The newer ones are brass-plated iron. Still strong as one could hope for. They are thicker than their competitors. At first, they look really cool as you have that flash of brass there on your toes. But sadly, the new ones will eventually rub down that brass finish and you will see the iron (which looks like steel).
While it is hard to wear down a Lulu toe plate it is even harder to wear down a Triumph one. They will always have a premium and it can be anywhere from $20-$50 depending on the cobbler. I say when the difference is $20 it is justifiable for the newer taps. At $50, I would probably go for the more generic Lulu toe plate. But one thing is for sure, every pair of nice leather soled dress shoes should have at least one of the versions of toe plates.
I always get toe plates. It’s definitely the first place I wear down the d soiled of my shoes. And no matter what the cost it’s cheaper and more convenient than a resole. I learned the hard way unfortunately.
Thank you for sharing Michael. I am the same, nearly 200 pairs of plates across my shoes haha
I’ve been loving/buying shoes for 50 years and never thought about toe plates. they are really cool – thanks for keeping me informed
My pleasure Nick and thank you for sharing!
Hello Justin, thanks for this article. I just had “Triumph” toe plates added to a recent pair of shoes and to my surprise the brass plating wore off to reveal that the plates were made of steel. I took them back to the cobbler who explained that they were in fact Triumph plates and that he had many returns with the same complaint. Definitely not worth a $50 differential.
Thank you for saying so Hollace and I appreciate your feedback and story.