Let’s set the scene. I’ve never really cared for fancy shoes, or designer labels that I couldn’t pronounce or let alone afford (Bvlgari anyone?). Shoes were always just another thing I put on my feet to complete the outfit. My shoe collection never overflowed with charisma, style or anything above R500. For some reason this all changed as I matured. With a reasonable salary I finally started flirting with the idea that maybe there’s much more to clothing and accessories than just practicality. “The ramba is a vertical expression of a horizontal wish”, as J-Lo liked to say.
I say, “the hand-crafted leather shoe is a horizontal expression of an audacious gentleman’s wish.” Style. Elegance. ALDO.
My search for the perfect pair of brown leather shoes endured for three years. Not because there was a lack of options available, those options just didn’t fulfill my need. I wanted a specific color, style and most of all – I wanted a bang for my expensive buck. I walked into ALDO the one day and finally, found the pair. ALDO’s Atwell brown dress lace up’s.
ALDO’s deep roots of craftsmanship stems from their humble beginnings in France. Le Pied Mignon was a well-known chain of luxury shoe stores with master cobbler (that is a shoemaker for us common folk) Papi Bensadoun at the helm. His son, Aldo, built on this heritage by bringing old-world expertise into a new-world consumer market. Thus, ALDO was born.
Looking at this pair of shoes one can immediately see that a lot of individual care has gone into the shoemaking process. ALDO only uses European leather sourced from tanneries in Tuscany and Veneto, ensuring each handcrafted pair has its own character. Great care is taken to ensure the leather is clean and clear, has a consistent colour and has a smooth/matte texture. When I first put the pair on, I immediately felt that these shoes are made to be worn, and above all, they are made to be adored. The rich dark honey brown of the leather is consistent, with darker shades to the front of the toe that creates a look of sophistication and character. With age, the leather has already developed a rich patina (darkening of leather as it goes through the natural oxidation process) and will continue doing so.
The Thing to Remember
There is a reason why they say a good pair of leather shoes will last a lifetime. Leather is a living thing, thus you should take care of it as such. So if we’re taking a living skin, and essentially Hans Solo’ing it into a cryogenic state, that means we need to take a few measures to preserve some semblance of this homeostasis (go Google that). In other words, we can treat it with a bit of Bear Grylls flair, but not too much. Proper cleaning, waterproofing and wax-buffing should be on your to-do list regularly to maintain this beautiful beast.
You should ask yourself if you are buying shoes just because you need it, or because you want it. My brown pair of ALDO Atwell’s have been my go-to pair of shoes every time I wear my navy suit or want to do something different with my black suit. You don’t need 20 pairs of shoes to be well rounded, but you need appropriate shoes for each occasion.A pair of R2 000 well-made, good-fitting, quality leather shoes will outlast a whole closet-floor full of cheap imitations. This was my revelation, and I’m glad that my ALDO’s have been raking in the compliments. Good return on investment, don’t you think?
Editor’s Note: This is a post written by our resident fashion and culture genius, Chris Van Der Walt.
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