THE THINKING MAN’S INDY BOOT?

Alden Tanker Boots: The thinking man’s Indy boot? They’re not nearly as iconic as cinema’s most famous work boot, but I’d like to think they’re what Junior might favour for a Marshall College Ball if he were to put a little more thought into it. I certainly thought long and hard enough about them. I saw a few restocks come and go at Context and Leffot, always feeling annoyed that I’d missed out. So when I paid a visit to NYC’s classiest shoe store last May – the aforementioned Leffot – I decided to put my name down for a pair already in production. Almost ten agonising months to the day I ordered them (a year since Leffot placed the production order) and after an egregious shafting from Her Majesty’s Revenue & Customs, they arrived at my desk. I opened the box to a gloriously muscular Cordovan boot in that deepest and richest of colours; Horween’s Color 8.

Here’s some info about them lifted from Context’s website…

“The Tanker Boot is made on the Barrie last which was supplied to the US military from WWI through WWII. The Mock and Norwegian skin stitch toe detail is done completely by hand (Alden is the only American shoemaker skin stitching by hand) using two needles and two threads- no more than 6 boots are completed per day.”

Quite how they managed to keep up with War demands at a completion rate of six per day I don’t know, but what it does mean is a lengthy wait for those keen enough to purchase a pair these days. They’re by far and away the nicest shoe/boot I own so I can certainly say they were worth the wait. I can also say they were worth the cost… *just* (minus Her Majesty’s sneaky cut). Would I do it all again? Maybe not. But then that’s what makes them so special…

Ski/Speed hooks

The Norwegian Split Toe: A detail that sets the Tanker Boot apart from the classic Indy.

SAPHIR MÉDAILLE D’OR RENOVATEUR

Saphir Médaille d’Or Renovateur

I was recommended this product for Cordovan shoes when I visited NYC’s Leffot last May. Up until then I’d been reluctant to use any products on Cordovan; just a slightly damp cloth and lots of elbow grease. There’s a great fear with Cordovan that you can ruin the surface with normal polishes as they cover up it’s natural lustre. This stuff however is perfect. The mink oil feeds and conditions the leather and brings out the shine of the surface with half the effort of buffing without product. And the shine lasts just as long.

Saphir also produce a specific Cordovan cream which I’m curious to try although I’d only ever buy the colourless version. That said, when I quizzed the guys at Leffot about any other products (even Alden’s own Cordovan Paste) they reassured me that Saphir Renovateur was all I’d need, and it seems to have done the trick so far.

I also use Renovateur on calfskin shoes, though it doesn’t quite bring the shine up on this type of leather like ordinary polish, it does help condition it to keep it supple and healthy.