Handgrade: A Closer Look
Crockett & Jones produce two different shoe lines/collections. One being main/benchgrade, whilst the other is called handgrade. The handgrade is unique in it’s segment, using both special lasts and more exclusive materials. Today we’re examining the handgrade line from Crockett & Jones on a deeper level.
From a distance, handgrade shoes might not stand out compared to benchgrade. However, when looking at the details, a significant amount of features can be spotted.
Bild: Audley Black Calf
Starting of, the leather is carefully selected in order to ensure a long lasting leather upper that will develop a natural patina over the years. Additional treatment is done during polishing, one of the last steps of production that creates a solid base for shoe care. During wear, the oak bark leather sole that is featured on handgrade models will be most noticeable. With it’s increased flexibility and unique ability to take significant shape from your foot, it will provide increased comfort. An oak bark leather sole also features closed channel stitching, which means that the goodyear stitch is hidden using a covering leather layer. This procedure involves an extra element in production where the sole is cut up in order to stitch, and then closed using the leather patch. Such sole is not only positive from an aesthetic perspective, as it also prevents dirt from reaching the goodyear seam.
A pair of handgrade shoes also pass through a greater amount of processes during their production. This includes a unique attachment of the sole previously mentioned. Even the last is precisely designed in order to resemble a bespoke shoe in comfort and design. Each shoe there has an asymmetric fit, often closely cut to the foot. By using finer materials for the leather lining, this bespoke elegance is enhanced.
Overall, these details contribute to a more well balanced shoe that both increases comfort and develops a great patina during it’s lifespan. You could compare it to a moonphase watch; a delicate movement that both has all simple, necessary functions, but also many advanced complications that require a high level of craftsmanship.
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