The long goodbye

I’m forever amazed by men who collect shoes like an art dealer buys Rembrandts. Curated in a corner of their wardrobe: a loafer, a sandal, an espadrille or a brogue from this or that brand – in crocodile, chestnut, and two-tone.
Thirty pairs, mostly different. They must have them (cannot do without them) and yet only two are ever frequently worn beyond a bi-annual outing, owing to a sore heel.

I buy shoes so sparingly that by the time I’ve found another pair I like, those on my feet are already tatty, torn, and offensively weathered – soles awaiting to join their astral plane.

Some call it sustainable shopping. I call it habit. And this Christmas, I bid farewell to boots I’d worn almost every day since 2015, and optioned in a pair from Scarosso to replace them. It’s been a while coming. The Italian brand, based in Marche, has been on my radar for quite a while (I’ve written about them twice).

Founded in 2010, Scarosso has built its following largely online, owing to the high standard of craft and design that goes into each pair, married with relative affordability. At first, the tempting choice was their popular tassel loafers, which on any typical January would be seen at the heels of the most stylish men at the annual Pitti Uomo fair.
But it was the boots I wanted. And besides, Pitti would be postponed this month until loafer-worthy Summer.

You can measure a shoemaker’s quality by their boots; the one shape that absolutely must be as durable and comfortable as they are stylish. And so far, so good. The Scarosso team was incredibly helpful in helping me pick the right size, and the shoes have already broken in quite nicely for my daily hour-long walks. For the first time, I chose a commando-style with grained leather, in anticipation that they would need to do a lot of work but hide any scuffs.

And as with raw denim, I’m looking forward to seeing how the patina develops over the foreseeable future with frequent use. Sure, having a carefully curated chocolate box of shoe choices can be heaps of fun.
But sometimes, less is more.

Originally posted as part of the Gents Cafe Newsletter, a bite-sized read about men’s lifestyle to enjoy over a coffee or a nice cocktail. Join now!