At the same time the classic leather shoes appear under a new light. They are not a burden you have to bear anymore, but rather a sophisticated detail which makes you stand out from the crowd. That’s what we love about brands such as Astorflex, Clarks, G.H. Bass and Paraboot. They make classic silhouettes of unparalleled comfort and versatility. Moreover, they look better with time.
French brands tend to have a certain charm about them and Paraboot just might be the most charming of them all. When in France, you can see leather shoes with distinctive moc toe and chunky soles everywhere. Both men and women buy them when they are young and wear for decades thanks to replaceable Norwegian or Goodyear welted soles. You might wonder where that small green label comes from and the story tells that in the late 80s the shoes have become so popular that many shoe retailers in France, Italy and Spain came up with their own copycats.
One of the most recognizable silhouettes is definitely the Michael. First introduced in 1945, they have become the turning point that determined the future of the company. During WWII the chemical industry made a huge development, so that after the war many shoe factories started to use new synthetic materials simply glueing plastic soles to textile upper which dramatically reduced prices. Julien Richard, the son of Paraboot’s founder Rémy Richard, therefore faced a real challenge, whether he should adapt to a new market or stick to brand’s core competencies. You already know the answer.
The Michael were meant for those, who spent a lot of time on their feet like architects, surveyors and veterinary surgeons. The classic Tyrolean silhouette was updated with proprietary rubber soles made of the natural Brazilian Pará which is much lighter and softer than leather. Heavy-duty leather uppers were generously oiled with natural fats to make them waterproof and more pliable. That is the reason why Paraboot recommends choosing size so that your toes stay right up against the ends. Soft leather upper tends to mold to your fit with wear and time.
70 years later the Michael is manufactured the very same way at Paraboot’s own factory located at the foot of the French Alps. Because if it ain’t broke, you don’t fix it. The further proof comes in the form of huge popularity of Paraboot in Japan, the nation which takes the very best of the Western world. Furthermore, it’s the Japanese who wear them best: with wool trousers, ripped denim or even fatigue pants. You can do it too.
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