***Post Originally written in 2012, re-posted for inspiration and for those of you that have yet to see it or experience Aubercy shoes****
For some time now, I have been very curious to know more about Aubercy shoes, to touch them, feel their leather, try them on and understand what makes them great. Just recently I had been in contact with the CEO, Xavier Aubercy, and had told him that the next time that I would come to Paris (which happens to be quite often, for business purposes) that I would make a point to stop by. And as it just so happened, I needed to make that trip not too long after our exchange, and therefore scheduled an extra day onto my trip to not only go meet him, but a few other contacts as well. As I had always been an admirer of Aubercy’s shoes, you can imagine my excitement in not only being able to finally see the shoes, but also meet the people behind the brand, the ones that make it great! Needless to say, not only was I thoroughly impressed with the entire visit but I also left with more of an open mind then when I walked through the door, the reasons of which I shall explain below.
One of the most beautiful things about Aubercy is the fact that it is a family owned business. And when I say family owned, I mean everyone in the immediate family works there in the shop, from Madame & Monsieur Aubercy, to their son Xavier and another worker, who I am sure is either a close family friend or relative of some sort. It’s all very close knit and I found that quite comforting. From the grandfather who founded it in 1935 to the grandson who is now running it, I had the feeling that in 100 years time, it will be still owned solely by the family with an Aubercy running it. This showed that they all truly cared about not only the company that bares their name, but the products that do too, and making sure that they keep a close eye on everything to ensure the idea of fine footwear under the Aubercy name lives long and strong! In this day and age, this concept is rare as globalization (while good in many other cases) continues to hurt small companies with handcrafted products, such as this.
RTW on left
The store is split between two sections: RTW and MTO (bespoke I will talk about in another post). In the ready to wear side, you have all of your classic models in all of the classic colors. However, on the MTO side (pictures right above), you have all of the models that separate Aubercy from the rest of the shoe industry. You see, Xavier, like myself and many others, has wanted to take existing classic last shapes & models and put his own personal twist on them. And while many other designer’s twist might be subtle, Xaviers’ twist is anything but subtle and is no doubt unmistakable!! From abnormal line patterns to zig-zag lacing to the facing of a derby that looks like puzzle pieces fitting together, there is a look that Aubercy has created with their MTO pieces that for some might be considered racy, but that in my humble opinion still maintains elegance and beauty.
6 Pictures Above – RTW, Pictures Below: MTO
What blew me away was the fact that 98% of the shoes were blake-stitched, whereas I believed them to be goodyear welted. Now, having moved to England, I have become quite a snob when it comes to the construction of shoes and tend to turn my nose up to most blake-stitched footwear, but I will admittedly say that I have been a fool to think in such a way. However, I will say that if a shoe is blake-stitched, it has to have other qualities that make it stand amongst the goodyear welted shoes, and Aubercy shoes have all of those qualities and more. Not only are all of the shoes handlasted, but each shoe has a proper arch stiffener in it, the same way in which a bespoke shoe would. Now for those that don’t know what that means, an arch stiffener is a piece of leather that is put between the upper leather and the lining, in order to give support. Most shoes don’t have this, only ones that are handlasted, and those are the far and few between. These two attributes make a huge difference not only in the look of the shoe (better toe shapes due to the precision of the lasting) and far more comfort and support. I even tried a pair on, to give all of you some feedback, and I can honestly say that one of the models (the one of my right foot in the picture below) felt absolutely amazing and supportive, just as good as my best goodyear welted shoes. I was absolutely astonished as I normally don’t find blake-stitched shoes to be nearly as comfortable as their goodyear counterparts!
Justin, “The Shoe Snob”