02 January 2009

The Yuma / Langsford

At 57th and Park. Even in NYC people stare at you when you're taking a picture of your shoe. What I do for my art.
After days of scanning images from Take Ivy - - I may have been slightly influenced.

Lets establish one thing up front. I never was a Florsheim customer. I'm not being a snob here. In fact, I'm showing more of my ignorance than anything else. Florsheim made some great shoes in Chicago. But I always associated the company with a cheap black loafer that had a little chrome square stuck on the outside of the vamp. Called the Riva it was (and still is) a creepy little shoe that must be comfortable as all get out because I can see no other reason for wearing them. By the way, it's Florsheim's best selling shoe. Now you know my prejudice.

Last summer I wrote about the Florsheim Yuma and it's release in Japan here. I found out the Yuma was made in Australia for the Japanese market. That means a EEE width and a $350 price tag. Ouch. Customer Service types in Wisconsin (very nice people) told me the shoe was due in early November. I called the NYC store the Monday after Thanksgiving and was told the Langsford (same as the Yuma but Yuma sounds so much cooler) just arrived. Only normal width. $140. Made in India.

Have you noticed very few shoe stores/departments have anyone who knows how to measure a foot? Nobody pushes on the toe anymore. It's pretty much, "Well, how does that feel, sir?" As long as the shoe isn't sliding off my foot or piercing my high instep in pain I usually reply, "Uh, I guess it's OK." Later I can barely take them off. Much less put them back on. My advice for the Lansford/Yuma customer is this - - Try them on. Wear them at home on your carpet before you commit. Although, they're on sale for $105.

The Langsford has a great look. A beautiful shape with a toe that is perfection. The vamp is high and while I thought the beef-roll would be larger -- the overall look is sleek and clean. I am crazy about the look of the shoe but the leather is corrected grain, the sole reminds me of cheap Indian made Gucci knock offs by Cole Haan and that vamp is murdering my instep. The "cushioned foot bed" in sheepskin is peeling up after only a month and still...

I can't stop looking at them. Kinda like when Walter Crow Horse tells Ray Levoi in Thunderheart, "You're wearing brand-new shoes that are a little too tight in the instep... but man, they look cool, and that's what counts. Am I right?"


Ben said...

Nice shoes, Tintin. I'm tempted to do a search. I haven't had a pair of shoes I couldn't take my eyes off of since I had my loden saddle bucks from Bean, almost 20 years ago.

Ben said...

By the way, there's no point in even thinking about it for $105.

Anonymous said...

I didn't like this look at first blush. But I think the custom retro high-water hem job on the khakis makes it work.
The two should always be worn together. MME

tintin said...

ben- You're right. For $105 it's hard to go wrong. Loden Saddle? Long time since I've seen those.

MME- You're right. It really is about the shoe and the sock and the cuff. A Canadian Airborne sweat shirt looks just right with this.

Belle de Ville said...

I love The Trad.
I'm adding it to my blog roll.

tintin said...

Belle- Thank you. I'm flattered that such an erudite and sophisticated person such as yourself would add me to your roll. That's a great review you did for the Nemirovsky book, Fire in the Blood. I can't wait to read it.

Alice Olive said...

Ahhhh, my Dad wore Florsheims. He would make a trip into 'the city' as we lived about an hour and a half's drive outside Sydney to purchase his shoes.

I like the stitching on these. And who cares what people think when you're taking a photo of yourself. It's totally normal to do that. (Isn't it?)

bmackintosh said...

I used to work at Florsheim in my college days, and those shoes were high quality Trad. The Riva came a little later and is an embarrassment, and not reflective of the shoes traditionally made. Unfortunately with the sale and resale of Florsheim, the company has been gutted of their manufacturing and Trad-style offering. I am happy with the Yuma coming out.

Charles said...

Perhaps the vamp will be more forgiving without the blasted penny strap keeping it in place.

Anonymous said...

Not exactly what Tommy Wolfe from up Richmond way had in mind when he conjured the descriptive "57th Street Biggie" ("Mid-Atlantic Man"?). One wore the Bostonian version as an adolescent in the mid '60s. One dates oneself, which one usually confines to a more secluded venue.

Anonymous said...

Nice, pair! To my eye they're very Dean Martin-casual, which is cool, too, but that's just me. I especially like that the beef roll is not so...beefy. Anyway, as to the fit - "It's better to look good than to feel good!"

My dad would totally have bought those back in the day. He dressed simple and streamlined. When he wasn't in uniform he wore peg leg khakis (but not high water) and black loafers along with his Wayfarers - de rigueur. And with his olive complexion he always looked a little dangerous.

Dad had this way of looking like he was the best dressed guy about to board, or come off of, a Greyhound express bus. On leave, with his duffel. I know that most people won't understand that mental reference, Tintin, but you will. Think Sidney Poitier in Lilies of the Field.

See what memories a pair of shoes can conjure up?


tintin said...

Alice- Nothing wrong at all. I'm my favorite subject.

bmackintosh-Thanks for the great back story. Word is the family is in control again and things are gonna get better. We'll see.

longwing-These shoes'll look great with your new Shaggy. Wilder saw mine and went nuts over 'em.

Anon- As opposed to the Mr Wolfe from Ashville...have you noticed I've cut way back on the profanity?

DB- Your old man, for those who didn't have the pleasure, was a dead ringer for Maximilian Schell. I think it helps round out your picture

heavy tweed jacket said...

Great looking loafers. I have an uncle who wore those for years, way into the 1990s (with a crew cut). Check out the Japanese shoe maker Regal (http://www.regalshoes.jp/original/classic.html) - Just above the opera pumps, shoe #2. This shoe is called the "Cobra Vamp."

-=Doug said...

Nice, TinTin... you reached for 'em!!

I am still holding off as I too have a high instep and a wide foot. I blew out 3 pair of Yumas in the 60's. The high vamp combined with low-height toe box makes it a comfort sacrifice for fashion save that they look so comfortable.

That toe box shape is like NO other loafer, made, though.

I saw the Sperry Tremont penny last night in black with brown stitching. I think that look is a new twist that seems "tradder than trad" in a vaguely rusty way. I was in Macys being waited on by a shirt salesman who wasn't even as attentive as the current norm that you describe.

And the full time shoe guy at Macy's is just as you describe. Sad because there is soooo much to learn from a pro shoe salesman. Like how a bad width fit cause your foot to roll out and distorts the shoe shape prematurely.

Might reach for a pair of the Sperry Tremonts next month, even if they are a bit derivative if I can find them in "W".

Note: Category killer Boat stores like West Marine generally have a better selection of Sperrys; widths, etc. than department stores. It's about all they sell in shoes.

-=Doug said...

Sorry, TinTin, I just have to prattle on some more re: the comment you made that the attentive, professional shoe salesman is a thing of the past.

It is BEYOND true!!

In 1984 I bought a pair of Nettleton Shell Cordovan Penny loafers that lasted me, literally, 19 years.

It was not just the quality but the fit that made them last so long. I bought them at the Shoe Tree (gone) in San Francisco from Doug Peters (now sells custom shirts only) who taught me all about shoe fit. Since we are in the age of self help, it might help to know that...

1. Length fit is judged by two things,.75 to 1" of space in front of the toe and the widest part of the foot being directly over the widest part of the sole.

2. Width fit is judged by snugness at the wide point (ideally snug but with no push-out distortion) at the side of the toe box Next, look in the mirror face-on and your feet should not be rolling out(too narrow) or rolling in (too wide). If they are your shoes will not last as long.

3. Instep. A shoe can feel snug at the instep but not painfully so. You should be confident that there is going to be some break-in(stretch) there. The big instep red flag for us with high insteps is the distorting crease just forward of the highest point of the instep. If you see that, don't buy the shoes unless you must sacrifice comfort for a fashion statement... unique and high caliber such that is delivered by the Yuma/Langsford.

That shoe will also die a premature death as a result of poor fit.

If I ever find a pair of those AUS horse-hide Yumas, I may make such a sacrifice. Horsehide (Genuine Shell Cordovan) is tougher and will "notch" rather than tear at the seam stress points.

Thanks for it all, TinTin.

Holly said...

trad -- your yuma's remind me of my belgian's. i'm at the site and ordering new pairs as we 'speak'... thanks for the memories and reminder.

Nick Rossi said...

Tintin, have you had any problem with the "corrected grain" rubbing off? I just received a pair and on the first try the outer layer leather cracked, crumbled, and flaked off. I have never seen anything like this and an a little dumbstruck. Curious if how yours are holding up after a few days.

tintin said...

Ad Master- Your blog is amazing. Great tips on fit and thanks so much for contributing.

Holly- The Belgian is a little twee for men but I love 'em on women. I saw 'em on a woman in Fayetville, NC. My kinda street cred.

Nick- Geez, man. Nothing like that so far. Have you taken 'em back? I'm working on an idea and will share with you when I've confirmed a few things. It has to do with custom Yumas.

HTJ- That's the shoe. $300-ish is steep but may be worth it if the calf is decent and the construction is right. Thanks!

Nick Rossi said...

Yes, I just phoned in my return today (I got them online). Let me know when you hatch your plan. You've got me curious now.

-=Doug said...

Thanks for the kind words, TinTin. Your kindness is exceeded only my your wit and prolificacy.

Florsheim dot com now has the Langsford on sale for 105 plus free shipping. And available in EEE (wide) as well.

Sperry (depressingly now a division of StrideRite) says the Tremont Penny is not available in a wide but every other Tremont model, including two-tone kilties is.

They say that there are no plans to correct this transgression. I have taken the matter up to the StrideRite CEO and will update this string if they come to the senses.

StrideRite? Didn't they start with those zig-zag sole nurse's shoes back in the day.

Ahhhh nurses. My mind harkens back to a time when rustling tranluscent soft white...

Anonymous said...

@ 1800 Skibo Rd, Cross Creek Plaza, is a location of www.ruggedwearhouse.com I haven't been in that location in years. Howver, in two of the Charlotte area stores I've recently seen single pairs of Langfords for $35. Neither of those stores are nearby for me and I didn't note the sizes. Just a heads up in case you're back in the Fayetteville area in the near future. Don't bother with a reply, I won't return to this particular (1/09) thread or post or whatever it's called. Tater

Mark said...

Can we pressure Florsheim to bring these back? I'd love a pair in unlined shell cordovan.