I asked Jason McKenzie, friend and The Tannery proprietor, to write up a report on his Arrow Moc collaboration.
Arrow Moccasins for The Tannery
I chose Arrow because they are the most locally sourced shoe we have (a tad closer than Alden), and we are a store predicated on footwear (not my space, but the business as a whole, was footwear only for 30 years). I think it is very important to represent local industry, and The Tannery is the de facto, "big show." (We are the footwear news independent retailer of the year this year.)
The leather is Swiss hide, tanned in England. Nobody uses such thick, supple leather. Nobody. When you hold these next to Quoddy's, Yuketens, etc, you will see that for yourself. It makes for a tough break-in period (as you are now finding out), but it also makes for incredible longevity.
I don't have a name for the new mocs (which is odd, because I always name my projects- I was writing major). I like Peanut Butter Cups- that was actually the name assigned by one of my coworkers. Paul Oulette, who is Arrow Moccasin, doesn't like to put crepe on his shoes, but our customer is more urban, and I felt strongly that the leather bottoms were less palatable for our clientele- at least to start.
Another reason I chose Arrow, besides their close proximity, is...how to put this delicately? Well, it is an established operation. They are not a new "blog brand." They have been at it for 50 years. Paul is the second generation of maker. Before you gasp, let me explain: I believe strongly that AC is the premier new heritage brand. The market is being flooded with these at-home projects, and none of them hold a candle to your quality. I could give you a laundry list, but you can figure out who I mean. This consideration is especially applicable to two things: backpacks, and leather goods. You should see how many sub-par products and brands have come at me. I am in this position because I can separate the wheat from the chaff.
I chose the model based on the look alone. And I was torn between this and the canoe moc. The Two Eye Tie most closely resembles the classic New England boat shoe, infused with a Native American aesthetic. I will probably mess with the Canoe Moc next time 'round.
The scrap is from Oi Polloi's custom dyed run of Arrows. In keeping with the spirit of repurposing (you may remember my first project was that Bailey Works bag made from old tents), I thought it was cool to use big boys' detritus to make something that ended up more unique. One man's trash...
Gary Drinkwater- who is a local haberdasher (the first Engineered Garments account outside of Nepenthes, by the way) wants me to try Walter Dyer's Mocs, but those are less known, and only come in leather soles. They also don't have as many styles available.
It's funny, we sell those heinous vibram five fingers, and I try daily to convince folks that the Arrows are actually better at helping improve posture and gait than the monkey shoes, and will last at least ten times longer. There is no insole, no midsole, no shank, and that is a strange concept for a lot of people to grasp, but once they do, a lot of folks prefer it.