Summer shoe constructions; Gaziano & Girling Fresco

Monday, September 3rd 2018
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A few shoemakers have launched unlined or softer versions of their shoes this year, in order to try and make something more comfortable in hotter weather.

Of course, completely unlined shoes with cemented soles will always be the lightest - as with the ever-popular Sagans - but they always sacrifice something in terms of support and longevity.

It’s not the kind of shoe you will want to walk all day in (as I frequently try to do while rushing around Florence in the summer).

So what's a useful compromise?

I’m particularly intrigued by the Fresco range from Gaziano & Girling (pictured above), which launched a couple of weeks ago.

They opted for a softer, lighter lining rather than taking the lining out completely. So the calfskin normally used has been replaced by peccary, pigskin that is a little thinner but softer.

(I do love peccary - the ultimate material for gloves but increasingly expensive to get at the highest grade. It’s also amazing in jackets, although because the animals are usually killed with shot, it’s very hard to get unmarked skins.)

Unlined shoes are great, but they’re never going to be quite as long-lasting as lined ones, and they do create issues with sizing: you often have to go down about a half size, which can be hard to get right when doing MTO.

Also, from a technical point of view, the benefit of having a shoe unlined or with a lighter lining is less about the shoe being more breathable, and more about making it softer so it's still comfortable when the foot swells.

Shoes with softer uppers are worth seeking out for the summer for that reason - as well as loafers, which will normally be more open than lace-ups.

The G&G Fresco range has a cemented construction, and uses a more flexible sole: chestnut rather than oak-bark tanned. 

In my experience cemented soles are the nicest for hot weather - the next best being a thin rubber, for the same reason that softness is the biggest priority.

I have the black-suede Capri loafers from the G&G Fresco range and have been wearing them in recent warm weather.

The Capri is the only model available in stock at the moment (tan, brown and black suede) in the Savile Row store - £565 (including VAT).

The others (St Michel derby, Bruges belgian, Portofino fringed monk strap) are available MTO - £715 (including VAT).

Apparently September is going to be pretty warm here in the UK as well, so I’ll have plenty of opportunity to wear them.

Interested to hear from readers that have experiences with unlined or lighter-lined shoes from traditional shoemakers. Particularly how they’ve worn over the years.

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Anonymous

Nice looking, but why are they launching what is essentially a spring and summer range as we move into autumn?

Anonymous

I’m sure they know their market better than I but would have thought they’d been better holding them back to next year where more would be willing to get into the initial excitment of a new product than right at the end of the season… I bought by GC Riviera almost as soon as they were launched but that as June and I very much doubt I’d have bought them if launched in September

Robert

Markets are moving eastwards and southwards.

Anonymous

I’ve never worked out if its my dwarf toes meaning the widest point of my foot is proportionally further forward or if my feet are fractionally wider than most shoemakers shoes (but not wide enough to warrant upsizing the width) but the result of one of these means I get a very notable bulge in the side of the shoe if I go for an unlined pair which has always put me off them.

If the G&G shoes are cemented presumably they aren’t offering any form of resoling? At £678 for RTW thats a fairly steep if you are only going to get a year or two out of them

Patrik

I have a pair of unlined Cordovan penny loafers by Alden (although branded Brooks Brothers). I’ve worn them almost to their death since 2011 (iirc), but had them resoled and -heeled this spring. By far the most comfortable shoe when it gets hot. They still look good, and I expect many more years of happiness!

Kristian

Just checked their website, the “Capri” is priced at 495 ex VAT.

Anonymous

All a bit pointy if you ask me

Anonymous

Even Cleverley is pretty pointy, and most high end makers tend this way. Is EG my only option if I want to avoid this?

James

Also worth considering JM Weston 180. I know their loafers are not to everyone’s taste but if you’re looking for quality on a more rounded last then I would recommend them

Tom

I’ve worn Crockett’s Teign (suede, unlined, single leather sole) frequently in the last year. They are light and very comfortable. I keep getting asked if they are new – they have kept up quite well despite minimal maintenance.

Dan

Completely agree Tom. I have had the exact same shoes for a year or so now and they still look as good as new.
I’ve treated them with a waterproofing spray and brush them regularly. That aside, they’ve needed no maintenance at all.

Jan

Same here. Really chuffed with my Crockett Teigns.

Anonymous

Worth examining weather G&G do variable widths on the last; E/F is the current RTW standard across Europe incl. UK. However their lasts, by comparison, always seem narrower than say EG’s. Church’s go to an H and Barkers go to a G but for those with a wide foot or high arch I fear these beautiful shoes will be out of the question. It’s notable that the UK average male shoe size is now a 10F (2 sizes larger than 1970s men’s average of 8).

Andrey

I owned C&J’s Teign (unlined penny loafer) for three years now. Over years it stretched a lot, particularly on the sides for some reason, so now it’s more like a slipper. Doesn’t provide much support and generally is not very comfortable because it’s too loose now.

I also bought C&J’s Newquay this summer – they are so far better in terms of fit (maybe still a bit loose), particularly given that they are lace-ups, which probably helps. Will see how they wear. But what concerns me is in fact the rubber sole (Teign has leather sole) – I tend to think that it is less breathable and hence wears warmer. It might be psychology, but I literally feel it this way.

Anonymous

I’ve had the C&J Milton for a few years. Whilst they’re very light and mold to the foot, they don’t keep their shape and provide next to no support. In future I’d steer clear of unlined shoes. These GG shoes look to overcome some of the negatives of unlined shoes.

Richard Jones

Hi Simon, I’m yet to purchase (sales people at royal exchange are too salesy) but C&J offer a hand grade – Cadogan which is unlined, welted and with bark tanned sole at £545. I’d assume these would be the best value for money in this range of shoe, G&G, Edward Green etc? Or am I looking into this wrong? A post timed just right for my circumstances, thank you.

Anonymous

What do you think of CJ’s main line?

Phil

Intrigued. Who makes peccary jackets?

Ben

We’re talking cemented—as in glued—soles, right? What’s the logic behind the choice: lighter, stitching may be susceptible to moisture, more comfortable worn barefoot? What’s the expected longevity on Sagans?

Thanks!

Anonymous

That sounds a bit like the antithesis of this blog doesn’t it?

Anonymous

Don’t conflate quality with longevity. There is no relationship between the two.

Anonymous

Not sure I fully agree with your sentiment. There most certainly is a connection. However, purpose is the missing link.

Anonymous

Yes, but they’re still £300, which is substantially more than you and I would pay for a pair of espadrilles. And I’m not sure I agree that there’s no relationship between quality and longevity. We keep saying that a good suit, if properly cared for, would last you a lifetime, as would a good pair of shoes. Longevity is at the core of the notion of quality as far as I’m concerned.

Anonymous

Ive been wearing bespoke suits for decades, and none of them have lasted a lifetime……….

Christopher

Dear Simon,

since a few months I am wearing the unlined suede loafer from Meermin. I must say that they are really soft and comfortable, even after wearing the full day. I guess they are a good value for the price…

Shun Ito

I’ve had the Piccadilly model by Edward Green in unlined suede with a rubber sole for 3/4 years, they’ve stretched a bit more than the lined models I have but worn very well and still in good shape. They understandably also feel a bit more fragile than the lined ones, but way more comfortable in the hot summers we’ve had.

BryanG

Has anyone tried Berluti’s Lorenzo’s which are made in Kangaroo allowing them to be wafer thin, unlined and tough.

Ariana

I love this shoes. The shoes are so cool!

Anonymous

Hi Simon, curious to know your thoughts after wearing the Capri for a while. Was it what you expected? Thanks.

Juan Huertas

Hi Simon. How would you rate these against traditional unlined loafers from other top-end Northampton manufacturers? I’m thinking more in terms of performance in the heat, materials and make, rather than just price. Have you found much of a difference? I am deciding between these or EG’s Duke in mink suede. Thank you as always!

Juan Huertas

Thanks very much, Simon, this is quite helpful. A quick follow up: would you wear the G&G Capri with more casual outfits (as in chinos, open-necked denim shirt and linen overshirt? Maybe with shorts? Or are they too formal for those occasions in your opinion? Thanks!

A.

Hi Simon,
I want to add another pair of loafers to my very small collection of shoes.
I already have burgundy tassels and dark brown suede penny.

What’s next? I thought about Cavendish in polo suede by C&J or Chadwick like yours by G&G.
I tried the B&L Sagans with back luck because the 44 was large and the 43 was annoying mostly to my right foot .

I’m not looking for something very dressy

Luke Buckmaster

Hi Simon,

Big fan of your content – I have several pairs of GG’s and Cleverly’s. I have struggled to find a good cobler in London who can replace the soles to the same level of quality. I do not fancy paying G&G £500 for a standard resole. Do you have any advice or and decent cobblers you can recommend?

Luke