Vintage Bates (aka "Phi Bates") wingtips. The Bates Shoe Company doesn't make 'em like this any more.
While the frigid January weather in my corner of the world has moderated somewhat, it remains seasonably cold. Perfect weather to drag out the heavy shoes, give them a quick once over with the horsehair brush, and take 'em for a spin. I submit for your approaval a pair of vintage Bates wingtip brogues.
Spotted these in my best local thrift shop three or maybe four years ago and paid just US$9.99 for them. Very little wear on the leather soles, hardly any on the heels, and despite a few small nicks on the leather uppers, nothing that some moisturizer and two or three coats of highly buffed polish couldn't fix. I really worked to get the toes and heel caps glassy on these, and it still shows. By the way, old nylon pantyhose really help bring up that high shine on toes and heels, a tip I picked up online somewhere from ex-soldiers, who shined their dress boots this way back when soldiers still had dress boots and were expected to keep them spitshined.
Now, as far as I can tell, the Bates Show Company hasn't made civilian footwear since the early 1960s, restricting its focus to just law enforcement and military footwear. By my reckoning, that makes these shows at least 50 years old, but they still look (and feel) damn good for heavy winter weight shoes that go perfectly well with heavy corduroy pants on a cold winter's day. Thought about selling them twice, but I'm glad I haven't. This time, I'll keep them, so it's time to pick up yet another pair of cedar shoes trees since I never seem to have enough to go around the dozen or so pairs of shoes in my rotation.
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