Footwear | A Continuous Lean.

Fix Don’t Replace | Vasque Sundowner

Sep 2nd, 2015 | Categories: Fix Don't Replace, Footwear | by Michael Williams

When many say “those boots can’t be re-soled,” cobbler Dave Page says, “bring it on”. At his shop in Seattle Dave has been resoling hiking boots since 1969, and even though the complexity of hiking boots has increased dramatically in the past 40 years, he has no intention of stopping anytime soon. In an “age of disposable footwear,” it’s good to see someone like Dave bringing new life to boots with many miles left to give. It fits our fix don’t replace consumption philosophy nicely.

Vasque took an interesting look at Dave Page and his quest to give new life to perfectly good boots — including many pairs of repaired Sundowners. The timing couldn’t be better to think about classic hiking boots with the recently released Sundowner GTX hitting the trail this month. The 2015 Sundowners use the same stitch pattern, sole construction and design as the originals Vasque sold 30 years ago making them a modern day equals. Or that’s the hope, and if there’s any trouble it’s good to know that there’s someone like Dave Page out there at the ready to bring them back to life.



Behold Rancourt’s Super Clean All-American Sneaker.

Aug 12th, 2015 | Categories: Footwear, Made in the USA, Maine | by Michael Williams


While Alden continues to make some of the finest shoes in the world, and Red Wing is the standard bearer when it comes to rugged American made footwear, the market for American made sporty shoes has been extremely limited. New Balance has of course been the foremost producer of American sneakers for some time, and upstarts like Victory have definitely created a lot of excitement with its small-batch-no-logo approach, but no one has really come along and put an American spin on all of the super-clean stitch-down sneakers that have been coming out of Italy. That is, up until this summer when our old friends at Rancourt & Co. up in Lewiston, Maine launched these two classic American sneakers called the Court Classics. Made from full-grain cowhide leather, these simple sneakers were at least two years in the making with Rancourt taking note of the void in the market for this type of footwear. It seems the inspiration was equal parts want and need. “We developed the court classic because we felt that a simple yet traditional high quality leather sneaker at an affordable price was missing from the US market.” And the results are impressive.

The Enduring Appeal of Ostentatious Loafers.

Jul 15th, 2015 | Categories: Footwear, Preppy | by ACL Editors


The Gucci bit loafer, the Prince Albert slipper and the Belgian loafer. Three loafers that all share the dubious honor of being “rakish,” or “revolting,” depending on who you ask. Polarizing as they may be, this traddy triumvirate has remained a constant curiosity throughout the years, as each style is rediscovered in time by whatever wave happens to be cresting that year.

First it was the Gucci bit loafer, which was thrust back into the spotlight during the East Coast preppy revival of the mid-aughts. The bit loaf had first gained notoriety during the mid-twentieth century as a high society hoof that was so popular amongst A-listers and deep-pocketed socialites that they became part of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection in 1962. Similarly to Ralph Lauren, another Madison Avenue icon, the horsebit story begins with a vision of polo. The story goes that in the wake of WWI, the Italian born Guccio Gucci was working at London’s Savoy Hotel where polo was a persistent topic of conversation between the rotating roster of English aristocrats that frequented the hotel. As Gucci listened to (er, eavesdropped on) these tales from the ground, polo came to represent a leisurely and luxurious lifestyle that was always just out of reach.

Francis Ford Coppola in bit loafers

Francis Ford Coppola in bit loafers

Dustin Hoffman wearing bit loafers in Kramer vs. Kramer

Dustin Hoffman wearing bit loafers in Kramer vs. Kramer

A Victory for American Made Sneakers.

Feb 5th, 2015 | Categories: Footwear, Jake Gallagher, Made in the USA, Menswear, Shoes | by Jake Gallagher


Victory Sportswear might just be the most important new sneaker brand out there, but there’s actually nothing new about them. We had never heard of Victory until we spotted them at this year’s Capsule trade show, but we were immediately taken by the brand’s suede and mesh trainers which look like a cross between something Carl Lewis might’ve worn at the ’84 Olympics and a pair of sneakers you might find at an orthopedic store.

Truthfully though, it wasn’t the look of the shoes that got us excited, but rather the fact that they were made in America. The only other brand making shoes in America right now is New Balance, and just like them, Victory produces their sneakers in New England (NB in Maine, Victory in Massachusetts). In fact, Victory has made its entire collection in its Massachusetts factory since the company was founded in 1980′s. The question is, where has it been this whole time? And how are we not surprised that it was Daiki and the Engineered Garments team that has unearthed them for our collective pleasure.

Boots. Just Boots.

Nov 25th, 2014 | Categories: Fall, Footwear, Jake Gallagher, Menswear, Shoes | by Jake Gallagher


“Pull yourself up by your bootstraps.”

This idiom dates back to the 19th century when men wore tall boots which they had to pull on using loops at the mouth of the boot. Overtime, the phrase came to describe the act of overcoming an obstacle using nothing but your own willpower, and that’s how we still use it today. So, why are we telling you this? Well, boot season is finally upon us here in New York, and instead of blathering on about the merits of a good pair of boots (which we’re sure you’ve heard countless times) we figured why not give you an inane bit of trivia? And, now for something you actually can use, here’s our list of this year’s best boots. Bootstraps not required.

One of One | Custom New Balance 990s

Oct 16th, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Made in the USA, Sponsored Post | by Michael Williams


New Balance understands you. The American sneaker brand knows you appreciate the classic style of the 990, and they know that you couldn’t possibly wear the same shoes as everyone else. In a world of ubiquitous style this is an important development for us all. Utilizing the New Balance factory in Maine, you can now turn-around a custom pair of 990s in a little over a week from sewing machine to the street. That’s a good development because we don’t off the shelf shoes and no one wants to wait too long for their one of ones.

To some people designing their own shoes presents a major challenge. It’s often easy to know what you like and to know what you don’t, but the sheer number of options can cause a paralysis of sorts. New Balance coaxes things along with a gallery of base-designs that make it easier to understand the possibilities. Once you get into the process it becomes difficult to see how just one pair is going to be enough. Onward to the 990 customization montage.


Custom_NewBalance_990_ACL07 Custom_NewBalance_990_ACL08


Beyond the Pale | A White Sneaker Round-Up.

Sep 2nd, 2014 | Categories: Footwear, Jake Gallagher, Menswear, Shoes | by Jake Gallagher


Growing up, my dad used to refer to white sneakers as “nurse’s shoes.” Oh, how the times have changed. White sneakers are now the shoe, the singular sneaker that I can honestly say everyman needs. Regardless of your respective style, no wardrobe is complete without a pair of blanked out sneakers. From Italian leather lace-ups, to dirt cheap plimsolls, the sneaker marketplace is inundated with white sneakers of all material, shape, and price. To help you chart your own course through this sea of white, we’ve rounded up our favorite colorless lace-up sneakers. Wear ‘em till they’re no longer white, and then start all over again.