There are many makers you see online that are harder to find in person, many of them Japanese and some of them French. One of those makers for me was Altan Bottier who I had always known and been interested in but never had the pleasure of seeing their fine shoes in person. Luckily Instagram connects people and I feel that people are far more likely to interact on IG then they would on email. Hence the day that Altan wrote me up thanking me for sharing their work and offered for me to try the pair that I said that I liked i.e. this lovely wholecut model.
That being, let’s take a look at the shoes. First hear the details of them for ordering
Model: One Cut in Bottier Collection
Color/Finish: Smoked Blue/Grey Patina (Annonay Crust Calfskin)
Last: Stop last
Made in Italy
Everything was spot on, from the quality of the box and bags to the way that they packed them to ensure that the shoes did not bump around in the box and possibly ruin the lovely finish. With the price tag of €650 (£550/$715), one would expect a good presentation of their package. The bags were great. I really liked the feel of them. I did not know what type of material they were (probably nylon or something like that) but they felt sturdy. The consistency of color was good too. It’s always funny to me when a box is one color and the bags another. That doesn’t make sense to me. +A on presentation.
The shoe was flawless in reality. The finishing was top notch but you usually find good finishing in a blake construction shoe as I feel like the finishing to that construction is not as complicated as the finishing to a goodyear welted shoe. And that is not to take away from the finish of this shoe, but rather just tell a reality of the difference between the two finishes.
–The shoes have a bevelled and pegged waist with v-shape (like G&G).
–They had nice fudge detailing on the welt (or where the welt would be if they were GY Welted). You something see this on a blake stitched shoe and I find it a nice touch as I can’t stay blake stitched shoes that nearly hide the sole under the leather and when looking down at it you don’t see the edges of the sole. It just looks weird to me, so nice that even though they are Blake, they almost had the appearance of a very finely cut GY shoe (which I like).
–The patina was perfect and very well blended. It had good depth and it was very clean at all points of the shoe. I loved the gradient from toe to vamp to facing to counter to heel. All perfectly shaded.
–The last was beautiful. However, as is quite common in French shoe design, it was quite long (see more on fit below). But the shape of it was spot on. A perfect soft French chisel, which is my favorite type of chisel.
–Upper stitching was very clean and good. You do not often see piping on a wholecut which is quite difficult for the closer (particularly at the facing).
Quality wise, there were absolutely no faults on this shoe. Not one thing out of place. The only thing that I could possibly say but this would be being very critical and to be fair is something that many makers can’t get perfect is that when lasting a wholecut oxford, quite often (even in my own brand) there is excess space where the upper did not full form just to the outside of the facing (above the outer joint of the forefoot). But like I said, very few makers can make a wholecut with perfect shape as it is one of the hardest models to last.
But all in all, the shoe was impeccable
I have not been lucky in my reviews lately as it would appear that I have been dealing with brands that do not fit ‘standard’. I ordered a UK6.5 and they were way too long for me, fitting more like a Uk7. The heel had a nice narrow grip which was good, but I felt that I had a lot of space in the forefoot and could have gone down to a UK6 which is quite rare considering my true size would be a UK7 narrow. Therefore, if you typically wear a British made shoe in their standard width, it might behoove you to take a half size down in this last (and maybe being a wholecut also made it feel looser). Therefore, did not get to wear test it as I cannot stand a shoe that is too big. Plus I would not be able to give proper feedback on fit/comfort. Trying them on, they felt nice and sturdy, not like the blake stitched shoes that feel like nothing on your feet, which for me is not comfortable. I like to feel substance and these felt substantial
Yet another impressive shoe as I expected. Having known about Altan for years now I always felt from the pictures that they made a good product. Glad to see that my opinions were right. And while this model was just a simple wholecut, what Altan is good at, is super cool and unique design, so don’t hesitate to click on the link below and check out their cool models, many of which are on reduction at the moment
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