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I’ve had a thing about shoes with coloured rubber soles for some time now. I think it started with some military-esque khaki canvas laceups with solid red rubber soles from YMC. I didn’t buy them but was intrigued by the combination of colour, assumed comfort and the Americana-ness of them. Since then, Fantastic Man suggested suede bucks on one of their daily recommends, and LL Bean subsequently sold out of red-soled bucks before I could have them sent over via my best American girlfriend.
At the top of the range there is New Yorker Mark McNairy’s brilliantly named Red Brick Soul collaborations with the cream of British shoe manufacturers (see pic below). Ironically though, they seem to be only on sale from the most exclusive boutiques overseas. They might be Goodyear welted in Northampton but I’m yet to find them in store or in stock on our little island. At $350 a pair the McNairys are an investment piece, not that I’m against spending this much on a pair of shoes – hell I recently blew the budget on a pair of McQueen paint-splattered pumps – it’s just there was something very cool about the idea of wearing LL Beans, one of those so non-fashion brands that makes you smile wearing it.
Interestingly, Topman have just announced a collaboration with British shoemaker Oliver Spencer that could see the affordable red soled suede shoe making an appearance this side of the Atlantic. I’m not even thinking about the desert boots – who wants to wear boots during the few months of sunshine we get? But the suede laceups might be worth a look, I hear they may be limited in number and there’s no sign yet on the website, so see you in the Topman shoe scrum. Of course, with the Tories poised for a return never has there been a better time to show off your red souled loyalty.