The Windsor, delivered in a hunter green Edward Green box, a darker hue than the normal ready-to-wear box.
As I mentioned previously here, I decided to put Edward Green's re-crafting program to the test by restoring a pair of Windsors that I had recently come across. I had seen enough of their work to know that the soles and heels would look pristine after the re-craft. I was particularly interested, however, to see what, if anything, could be done to clean up and revive the leather uppers. For the most part, the leather was in great condition considering the shoes were over 25 years old, with no significant creases, tears, or rips, and my thinking was that if anyone could do anything to clean the staining that had set in, it would be the craftsmen who had originally constructed the shoe in 1985.
The shoes were shipped to Edward Green's Jermyn Street shop - per the sales representative's directions, I included instructions detailing how I wanted the shoes to be "treated."
Specifically, I asked for the HAF sole treatment, wherein a double sole is welted to the shoe; however, at the waist, the double sole narrows to a single sole. On some shoes, Edward Green also darkens the waist of the sole to black, so you have a contrast with the brown/tan wood color on the sole. In this case, because of the light "Acorn" color of the uppers, I thought a dark brown waist would offer a nice contrast while remaining true to the basic tan complexion of the shoe.
The Edward Green box label -
model name, size and last information, and leather color (client name at top right).
For the same reasons, I also asked that natural sole edges be provided - this gives the edge of the sole a lighter tone than the traditional black/dark brown edge that you see. Generally, Edward Green shoes are given this treatment when the leathers are in lighter shades, such as Edwardian Antique or Burnt Pine. However, I've seen enough lighter shoes with darker edges that I thought I'd mention it just to be sure because I thought it would be a nice touch. Other than that, I asked for flush or sunken metal toe taps to be installed - the only item that was an additional mark-up beyond the base price of the recraft.
Things got off to a slow start - a few weeks after the shoes were sent over, I received an email indicating that the shoes could not be re-crafted because the 201 last was no longer available. I thought it was strange that Edward Green would have instructed me to send my shoes all the way to the UK if they didn't actually have the necessary equipment to perform the task, so I forwarded the correspondence to Hilary Freeman at Edward Green to ask if there was really nothing else to be done. She quickly replied that the last could in fact be recreated, and so after an initial bout of disappointment, I was pleased to learn that the recrafting process could now commence.
After lifting the lid from the shoe box, you find two shoes in dust bags.
At this point, the suspense hanging in the air is palpable!The process generally takes anywhere from 2-3 months to complete; in this case, another month was added to the estimated completion date because the last needed to be created. A 3-4 month wait is certainly something that anyone interested in the recrafting service should factor in when considering the service. However, in my opinion, after receiving the finished product I can only say it was well worth the wait.
[A quick side note: In addition to the wait time, which helps to bolster the feeling of anticipation for the arrival day, I have to say that waiting on a recraft is a little different than waiting on a new pair of shoes. When you order a new pair, you pretty much know what you're getting - the shoes will be pristine and to your specifications and if they're not, you're certainly within your rights to complain, request a new pair, etc. With a recraft, you know that expert craftsmen will be tending to the shoes, but there is an x factor involved: if the shoes are damaged or destroyed during recrafting, that is a risk the owner has to consider when deciding whether to send shoes back to the factory. Also, in the end, you just don't know how the shoes will be fixed, mended, treated, etc.]
Needless to say, I was quite pleased with the results. The first thing that struck me, as a brogue man, was how the broguing appears to have been thoroughly cleaned out; previously, the perforations were filled in with grime and what I would assume was residue from years of polishing creams and wax. The broguing is even more pronounced now.
A side view of the Windsor.
From this angle, you can see the HAF sole whereby the double sole narrows at the waist to a single sole. I like the effect: it gives the profile of the shoe a bit more substance. As you can see, the "triangle" designs along the side of the upper and the "crossed golf clubs" at the back quarter really stand out now.
The "triangle" perforation designs.
Below that, an up-close view of the welt and double sole with the natural sole edge treatment.
The "crossed clubs" design at the back quarter. Below that, an up-close view of the natural "stacked" wood heel treatment. You can also see more detail of the single sole waist.
More detail of the "crossed clubs" design at the back quarter
and the natural "stacked" wood heel treatment.
When looking at the recrafted shoes, the second thing that struck me was the cleanness of the leather as well as its color - while Edward Green apparently could not remove all of the staining to the leather, they seemed to have removed a good amount of it. Also, to my eye, it seems that the leather color was darkened from what I recall being a brighter, almost Edwardian antique color, to the more subdued Acorn color. Whether this was a side-effect of whatever treatment was applied to the stains, or whether it was actually done with the purpose of basically camouflaging or hiding the staining under the darker color, I couldn't say. Whatever the case may be, the effect is impressive - the leather looks cleaner and not as "bright," which, in this case, I like.
A frontal view of toe box with the "crossed clubs" medallion -
looking cleaner and considerably more detailed than previously.
A close-up of the "crossed-clubs" medallion. Absolutely lovely.
Sole treatment: A dark brown waist rounds out the details.
The flush/sunken metal toe taps have rounded screws.
[It might be worth noting that, on a previous recraft of the EG Twickingham by B. Nelson, the flush toe taps had flat screws. While I haven't worn these yet, it seems logical that the rounded screw heads here will sustain and inflict more damage than the flat head screws. I'm not sure if one would feel a difference while walking, just something to consider if you're planning on walking on wood floors in the near future.]
In the end, I was quite pleased with the results of Edward Green's recraft of the Windsor. While the price is certainly nothing to sneeze at, I think the primary factor for potential customers to consider is the turnaround time. 3-4 months is certainly a long time. In the end, while there are definitely quicker and less expensive options to consider when contemplating a recrafting of one's shoes, Edward Green's expertise should be considered second to none. As I've hopefully made clear here, you can expect to be pleased with the results. The Uptown Dandy certainly is.