Kirby Allison, founder of The Hanger Project, unboxes his pair of bespoke shoes from legendary Parisian shoemaker Dimitri Gomez. This video showcases the many characteristics of these comfortable, classy, hand-crafted oxfords that differentiate them from ones made by traditional shoe making firms.
Hi, I'm Kirby Allison founder of the Hanger Project and here in the Hanger Project we love helping the well-dressed take care of their wardrobes. In this video, I'm going to be unboxing or in this case revealing a new pair of bespoke Dimitri Gomez shoes I picked up while in Paris in October. For those of you that have been following our YouTube channel you may have seen the video from my most recent fitting in Paris and you'll probably remember that there were some adjustments that needed to be made to the shoe in order for them to fit perfectly. Dimitri being an incredible craftsman, of course, took those shoes back and completely remade them in order for them to fit perfectly. On this last trip through London and Paris I was able to stop by and pick those up and I couldn't have been any happier with the results.
So, I have worn these in Paris but I'm going to be showing them to you for the first time in this video. So as many of you know from the first video on Dimitri Gomez he actually shares a small workshop at Crockett & Jones. So, all of the delivery kind of collateral is actually Crockett and Jones. And so, these bags as you can see are embroidered Crockett and Jones- there's really nothing special about these bags. He offered me a box but because I was flying back with these shoes I didn't want to carry the box so instead I asked for him to just give me two shoe bags so that I could double bag these shoes. Here we are beautiful shoes. Absolutely beautiful. So one of the things that you'll remember I was speaking about in the original video from my fitting at Dimitri Gomez is what I was going for my first pair of Gomez shoes of course it's black pair this is a cap toe Oxford. It's a semi brogue. It's not a full brogue which would be a traditional wingtip and you know I went with black because again I'm a firm believer that if you're spending the money on a bespoke pair of shoes you're going to get the most lifetime out of a black pair.
And so I don't know how many pairs of Dimitri Gomez shoes I'm gonna have the privilege of owning but I did know that with my first pair I wanted black. The second thing I wanted was a completely different shaped toe than what I get with my Cleverley shoes. Anyone who knows Cleverley knows that they're best known for their suspiciously square toe shape on their shoes it's iconic Cleverley so with my Dimitri Gomez shoes I knew for certain that I didn't want anything square because I've already got those with my Cleverley. I also knew that I didn't want anything too round just because I've never been a huge fan of a particularly round toe just because I think that it's not that modern.
One of the most enjoyable parts of commissioning these shoes and collaborating with Dimitri and having them made was actually working with him to determine the proper toe shape. And from those that have watched our first fitting video you'll see that we actually set out several different pairs of shoes each with slightly different almond shape toes. Before we settled upon this toe shape. So as you can see it is just a perfectly beautiful almond shaped toe. And so this is my first pair of bespoke shoes with an almond shaped toe it's fun to add these to my collection and they were an absolute pleasure to wear. Now one of the other details you'll remember is we did six eyelets. You know that was more of just a simple stylistic detail. Dimitri would normally do five but I wanted six because it was a slight kind of American detail. And again just one of those other elements to signal that this was a bespoke pair of shoes. Now the craftsmanship is absolutely incredible. You know nice tight welt, absolutely stunning and beautiful heel, you can see how this curves into this shoe and actually follows the shape of last. It is absolutely not what you would expect from a ready to wear shoe. And one of the other things that again is hard to show on the video. But another bespoke detail is that the inside edge always pitches in slightly more than the outside edge. As you can see Dimitri spent a lot of time finishing the soles of the shoe. So the entire sole - the out sole - is dyed black and polished and you can see where I've worn them. He installs the Lulu metal toe taps just to give the shoes some extra durability. And you really see this from a lot of European makers because in Europe you're doing so much more walking than you have in the United States so it's just a detail that is quite consistent.
Now since Dimitri for all intents and purposes is a one-man shop, one of the benefits that you get with Dimitri Gomez versus going with the proper shoemaking firm is that there's no specialization. Dimitri does all the work himself and that includes the shoe trees which is incredibly rare. You can see these are fully lasted which means that he basically copies the shape of the last in order to create the shoe tree. So it is perfectly mimicking the shape of the last on which the shoe was built and it's quite difficult to get out of the shoe. So, beautiful shoe tree, you can see you know it cuts out an area right here to lighten the tree. It's hollowed out and you can just see how this is perfectly following the shape of the shoe. You know you can also see that the shoe tree is hinged. You know that's an important detail because if you have a hinged shoe tree you have no give, you know for the length and of the actual shoe tree. So it has to fit absolutely perfectly in order for the shoe tree to be effective at stretching the shoe back down. And so if you see a hinged shoe tree almost every single time it is a bespoke shoe tree because it's really the only way to pull this off and for it to work. Now bespoke shoes, again because they fit so tightly, you always want to loosen the shoe laces really all the way down the vamp. And the reason is because you need as much kind of give here as possible in order to slide your foot in. With the ready to wear shoe, you can really get away with you know not loosening the shoelaces completely because you know they don't ever fit perfectly tight like a bespoke shoe would. So there's always a little bit of extra play and give in the shoe itself. But in a bespoke shoe even to get the shoe tree out. So again one of the other details you'll see here is that on the inside of the shoe it's embossed Dimitri Bottier - which is you know "shoemaker" and I'm probably mispronouncing that so those of you who speak french please go easy on me - for Crockett & Jones. And again you know that just is reflective of the fact that Dimitri has a special relationship with the Crockett and Jones brand as being kind of the resident bespoke Shoemaker in the Parisian store.
Before I actually put them on my feet there is just one thing I do want to point out and that is that I'm wearing a really fine dress sock. Now, the thickness of your dress sock is incredibly important in terms of how a shoe fits. And the best type of dress sock, a proper dress sock is as thinly knit as possible. The reason you want thin dress sock is one it helps you feel the shoe better. Right. So if a shoe fits properly it should be fitting your foot, not your sock. So the thinner the sock, the better the shoe fits, the less room there is to move around and it allows the shoe to actually be more comfortable. The other benefit of a really thin dress sock is that they all but disappear on your feet because it's not suffocating or you know clamming your feet up because you've got all this material.
So all of the socks we carry on the hanger project are sovereign grade socks that we have made in Italy are knit from the highest possible needle count to be as thin as possible and that's how you know you're buying a really high quality dress sock. Of course take a look at our YouTube channel. We have other videos going in depth into what actually makes a quality dress sock and the theory there. If I was trying to try these shoes on with a thicker pair of socks they wouldn't fit well at all. And I might not even be able to get my foot in there.
But let's go ahead and try these out. So of course I've got a shoe horn here. This is one of our Hanger Project horn shoehorns. I'm just going to pull he top of that tongue. Put that on, let's do the one. Insert my foot in there. So you can certainly accuse the shoelaces of being a little short on these shoes because it is a 6 eyelet shoe so I'm probably going to replace these with a pair of my 80 centimeter unwaxed sovereign grade cotton shoelaces just to go a little bit longer end. But otherwise look at the shoes. I mean they fit absolutely beautifully. You don't see any wrinkling across the vamp. You know, my arch is as well accounted for. One of the things that I can tell you is that I walked extensively around Paris with these shoes the first day that I picked them up and it's probably the only pair of bespoke shoes that was completely comfortable and didn't give me any type blistering on the heels during the break in process and this is probably one of the stiffer if not stiffest pair of bespoke shoes that I've picked up. Now one of the things that you may have picked up on is whenever I was putting the shoes on you could actually hear the air escaping and kind of made a noise and so I have a really funny story about that that I think does such a great job to illustrate a lot of ways the indescribable essence of a bespoke pair of shoes. And that's I wore these shoes to my final fitting with Julien de Luca at Camps de Luca for a Stark and Sons piece that I was having made. Julien hands me the garment, the suit, sent me into the fitting room and I closed the curtains and then I go in and I'm changing by myself of course.
And so Julien's waiting for me outside and I put on my shoes and you hear the you know as the air is pushed out of a shoe that fits so tightly Julian heard that and he remarked from behind the curtain, he said: "Ah, the sound of a bespoke pair of shoes!". And so I just thought it was so great that he was able to pick up on that you know from not even in the same room with me and it just went so far to describe one of those indescribable characteristics of a bespoke pair of shoes and that is the sound it makes whenever you put them on. They fit so well that whenever you slide your foot into that shoe you can actually hear the air rushing out.
And so it really just kind of tickled me, if you will, to have him comment on that, and made me feel good about wearing these shoes. You know these bespoke Dimitri Gomez shoes are really special to me, because they, for one, were my first pair of bespoke shoes not made by Cleverley, with whom I have a fantastic relationship. And second they're special because of the fact that I really had to travel out of my way to have these shoes made. Cleverley travels to the United States quite frequently. If I don't see them in London I can almost certainly see them in Dallas twice a year. But Dimitri Gomez does not travel. You have to go see him. The only way that you can have a pair of Dimitri Gomez shoes isn't just going to see him once but it's going to see him two, three, or four times so that you can perpetuate or continue that bespoke process of fittings and delivery. These shoes really just have a special story. I mean whenever I put these things on I'm going to think about traveling to Paris. I'm going to think about that time, you know, I was there with a good friend who helped me select this almond shaped toe. I'm going to think about Dimitri working with me, to really kind of craft the shape of this last and his commitment to do that despite it being the more difficult thing to do and I'm certainly going to remember sitting there at Camps de Luca putting these shoes on in the changing room and having Julien hear them from outside. And so those memories create such rich meaning here that I know that I'm going to think of every single time I wear these shoes.
So I look forward to breaking these shoes in. I'm going to wear them for the first time in Dallas tonight. I'm going to go have a drink with my wife at the Mansion and I can't wait to wear these absolutely beautiful, incredibly elegant shoes. You know I love this almond shaped toe. And I couldn't be any more happy. I look forward to seeing how these shoes break in. You know again they fit incredibly comfortable as it is now. But it is a very stiff shoe because of the quality of materials that Dimitri uses.
And so, I know that as they break in over the next eight to 12 weeks they're only going to become even more comfortable. Make sure that you check out that other video from the last fitting, you'll get to meet Dimitri and kind of see inside of his shop - incredibly special video. And lastly if you have any questions about these shoes please feel free to ask them in the comments section. I get back to all those comments myself. If you liked this video, give us the thumbs up or better yet subscribe to our channel so that you can receive notifications whenever we release all of our new videos and please remember to visit HangerProject.com where you'll find the largest assortment of luxury garment care and shoe care accessories in the world and other products for the well-dressed. I'm Kirby Allison, founder of The Hanger Project, and thanks for joining us.