This is Ron Rider's Venetian. And Rider, in my book, is a God. A visionary. And it's OK if you've never heard of him. He, like so many I met this week, work in the background of the apparel industry as sources. Ron is the source for some very big names you have heard of. And they come to Ron for shoes.
A few years ago I fell in love with a shoe called the Yuma. A vampless moccasin known by the trade as a Venetian. Simple and elegant and void of any unnecessary detail. I saw one made by Cole Haan in the early 90's when they still owned a factory in Maine. It came and went and I missed it. Many companies have made this shoe. Most have failed. It's not an easy shoe to make.
November of 2008, Florsheim, aka The East India Leather Company, released a Yuma and renamed it the Langsford. Cheap plastic leather and a too tight instep but man it was beautiful. I bought two pair and wrote 'em about here. I'm throwing them all in the dust bin.
I met Ron at the Warwick Hotel where he was showing his shoes out of a suite. The room was thick with the smell of leather. All it needed was some cigar smoke and you could be on the 4th floor of the Union League Club in Chicago.
Ron had these Venetians made in calf by Rancourt in Maine. He's doing them in cordovan for Leffot in NY. He gave me these (I'm a sample size). I insisted on paying. He said wholesale. What would you do? I've had an obsession with these shoes for almost three years. And these even fit. Like a glove.
We talked. I learned. A lot. This guy is the real deal. If this blog does nothing else - it will tell you about real deals. And real people. Ron Tweeted earlier in the week, "In the city today. Looking forward to steeping on the feet of any guy walking around in flip-flops with my big boots."