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Crockett & Jones

The Joys of Two-Tone Shoes

Man about town, Christopher Modoo, waxes lyrical on the timeless charm of two-tone and bi-material shoes. Spoiler: they’re easier to wear than you might think.

The Joys of Two-Tone Shoes

Mixing different textures is a sophisticated way to create visual interest with your clothes. For example, rich, dark grey flannel trousers complement a crisp navy blazer of a similar tone without resorting to fancy patterns or contrasting colours.

In the same vein, using different materials in the same shoe is a strategy often employed by bespoke shoemakers but it’s also seen in the collections of the best ready-to-wear brands.
Crockett & Jones, naturally, offer some elegant styles made from two materials that are both à la mode and easy to wear.

The Ross is a handsome and practical country boot, executed in water-resistant Hurricane Hide leather, finished with a cleated rubber sole which is improved with the addition of a padded suede collar in earth green. At well as greater comfort in the collar, the combination of textures and earthy tones creates a smarter appearance in a rugged boot, which makes these ideal to wear with heavy moleskin or corduroy trousers for relaxed pub lunches.

As part of the 140th anniversary collection, released last autumn, C&J created some new styles based on archive designs. My absolute favourite is the Magee, which is made in a gusset-sided ‘casual’ style and quite frankly looks like it’s a bespoke piece. The subtle contrast between the Dark Brown Antique Calf leather on the toe and heel with textured Willow Grain on the sides and quarters is not immediately noticeable when worn with properly fitted trousers that cover half to two-thirds of the shoe. But, the effect is noticeable when you’re walking or seated. The contrast could also be increased by “bulling” the calf sections of the shoe to create a shine to complement the matte finish of the textured Willow Grain. Worn with a dark blue flannel suit, perhaps with subtle chalkstripes, these would be a useful change of pace to the more expected plain black lace-ups.

At the dandy end of the Crockett & Jones spectrum, The Richmond 2 loafer in a combination of Tan Burnished Calf and Stone Canvas is not going to be for everyone, but everyone should consider them. Once you have the classics covered, these are a great addition to the well-shod gentleman’s wardrobe.

They are certainly not ‘every day’ shoes and should only be worn in warmer weather, but they add a certain old-world elegance to even the simplest summer outfit of pleated linen trousers and a polo shirt. They give the impression that you’re dressing with more effort than you really are – and they are great to pack for your summer vacation. Simply wear sockless (they are unlined) with some tailored shorts and a fresh T-shirt, and you’ve nailed ‘riviera chic’ in three easy pieces. They require a little more attention to keep in good condition, with care needed not to get polish on the canvas, but they will age well and you will come to wonder how you managed without them.

I for one hope that Crockett & Jones continues to add these slightly bolder styles to complement the absolute men’s classics, and look forward to the day when there’s a gentleman’s version of the women’s model, Alice! Its full-brogue combination of Ivory Burnished Calf and Tan is simply stunning.

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