Picture special – TLB Mallorca Artista penny loafers
Usually when I do these picture specials it’s with a new pair I got it from some famous bespoke shoemaker, but thought it might be fun to show off my latest TLB Mallorca Artista pair a bit closer, and get to share some detail pictures on the rather special features you find on those that are highly unusual on Goodyear welted shoes in the midrange price segment.
As I’ve written about earlier here on Shoegazing, one of the first things I worked on after I started my employment at Skolyx last year was to work with TLB Mallorca plant to develop their new top range Artista (read more about the development of Artista in this report), where we wanted to squeeze construction details and material choices that you would not normally find in shoes in this price range (they cost €425, or $378 excl. VAT for those outside EU). The reception has been fantastic, I’m glad so many have understood the “thing” with the shoes and what sets Artista apart. My latest Artista pair are these penny loafers in Charles F. Stead Janus reverse calf polo suede, made on the Goya last, a model that we will have in stock at Skolyx later this spring. Below is an study in pictures of this pair and also several of the specifications that stand out with Artista.
The Goya last with a classic round toe, still neat and elegant.
Beautiful luster in the polo suede.
The part that is most obviously special about Artista is the very narrow, bevelled waist. The bevelling also continues under the heel of the shoe, rather than being levelled before the heel, which is otherwise standard on Goodyear welted shoes. This makes the waist stronger and it looks better.
The waist edges are very tightly cut, so that you barely see the sole stitch which at Artista goes all the way back to the heel. When you see narrow waists in this price range otherwise they are often glued, pegged or possibly Blake stitched.
Here the waist edge on the outside..
The heels are tightly cut, which gives a more uniform look with the upper part of the shoes. On these the heels are also slightly tapered inwards, you find tapered heels on some selected Artista models.
The heel from the side. The heel stiffener, ie the inner part that provides the support of heel, is at Artista made of real leather that conforms in the best way possible after the foot. Normally it is leather board or plastic/celastic in shoes in this price range.
The sole stitch is at 8 spi (stitches per inch), the standard in this price range is usually 6 spi. In addition, the sole and heel edges are hand-grinded with fine sandpaper, which gives a smooth surface that can be easily shined to a fine gloss and which retains a nice look longer.
All these details in the construction and finish mentioned above contribute to the neat impression the shoes get. This is also what people who try Artista for the first time usually react on, that they look very neat on the foot, more like slender bespoke shoes usually do than regular Goodyear welted ones.