Wednesday, June 28, 2017


Como Hacer Alpargatas
Source: Como Hacer

The military government was not the only target of the students’ contempt: the opposition’s disdain and dislike were increasingly focusing on the working classes, which had become more visible and confident and whose demands for political representation were becoming more strident.

The student slogan "Alpargatas no, books yes" was clearly classist and helped to convince those workers who were still vacillating that their interests were ineluctably linked to those of Perón. (Alpargatas are canvas, rope-soled shoes used by the poor; while the message may have been intended somewhat differently, it was denigrating and offensive in the extreme.)

Jill Hedges
From: Evita: The Life Of Eva Perón (I.B. Tauris, 2017)

Rueda patentada
Source: Pulperi Aquilapan

The story is told about Evita's trip to the "Alpargatas" factory, where the comfortable rope-soled cotton shoes are made, to address the workers. After giving them her spiel about the benefits of joining the worker's movement, she told the assembled employees to go home, that she was declaring it a half-holiday. This, without consulting with the management of "Alpargatas", already one of the most progressive companies in Argentina, which granted its employees such benefits as medical and dental clinics, pharmacies, commissaries and even paid the employee during his military service.

Mary Anne Miller
From: Diptych: Tales of Two (Xlibris, 2016)

Alpargatas Contra Libros
El escritor y la masa en la literatura del primer peronismo (1945-1955) by Javier de Navascués
Source: IberoAmericana

It was the "Fabrica Alpargatas" that published calendars during the 1930's illustrated with the paintings of F. Molina Campos, which became instant collectors items. Molina Campos depicted the life of the Argentine gaucho in broad caricature, gauchos drinking maté b y the fire, riding buckung horses, swinging the boliadoras (three leather-covered stone balls) …

Mary Anne Miller
From: Diptych: Tales of Two (Xlibris, 2016)

Alpargatas Factory Poster by Florencio Molina Campos
Source: Art Experts

Traditionally linked to rural inhabitants, the shoe came to represent the urban industrial worker, the rural laborer, and the poor. After October 1945 it also symbolized the Peronist cabecita. An anonymous anti-Peronist pamphlet mocking an invitation to a Peronist rally reported that the only requirements for attendance were "alpargatas, a loud voice and plenty of sweat".

Matthew B. Karush & Oscar Chamosa
From: The New Cultural History of Peronism: Power and Identity in Mid-Twentieth-Century Argentina (Duke University Press, 2010)

2006 | Daniel Santoro | Esto No es Una Alpargatas
Source: Daniel Santoro

He remembered now noticing, without realizing it, that Pablo’s trousers were worn soapy shiny in the knees and thighs. I wonder if he has a pair of boots or if he rides in those alpargatas, he thought. He must have quite an outfit. But I don’t like that sadness, he thought. That sadness is bad. That’s the sadness they get before they quit or before they betray. That is the sadness that comes before the sell-out. 

Ernest Hemingway
From: For Whom The Bell Tolls (Charles Scribner's Sons, 1940)


Alpargatas No, André Perugia Yes
1947 | André Perugia ankle-strap - Evita Perón Museum

Source: Pinterest

Monday, June 26, 2017


The perones, or raw-leather shoes being called Abarcas, in Spanish, some imagine that the young prince (Don Sancho II) derived his appellation from that part of his dress. Others pretend that it was owing to his having enabled his army to cross the Pyrenees after a great fall ps snow, by means of such shoes. But these forgot that the raw/leather shoes are used by the Spanish peasantry in all the mountainous districts of the North, and that they are probably the first covering for the feet likely to have been invented in all countries.

From: The New Monthly Magazine and Literary Journal
Volume 10, 1824


This was Don Sancho II, King Of Navarre, surnamed Abarca, either from the abarcas or shepherd-shoes which he had worn in early life, when brought up in secrecy and indigence, during the overthrow of his country by the Moors, or from making his soldiers wear shoes of the kind in crossing the snowy Pyrenees. It was a name by which the populace delighted to call him.

Washington Irving
From: Oliver Goldsmith And Moorish Chronicles (1900)


On the other the ground fell away in a very long slope, which ended in a bushy valley many hundreds of feet below. These fellows, you understand, were hardy mountaineers, who could travel either up hill or down very much quicker than I. They wore abarcas, or shoes of skin, tied on like sandals, which gave them a foothold everywhere. A less resolute man would have despaired. 

Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
From: The Adventures Of Gerard (1903)

Sherlock Holmes
Source: Delphi Complete Works Of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (Illustrated)

Saturday, June 24, 2017


I finished shaving and undid my tie, switching from an Italian print to a wine and olive rep. I changed my side buckle shoes to a relatively more conservative pair of black oxfords that had thin steel plates wrapped around the outside of the toes. I put on a thrift shop Harris Tweed, secured the apartment, and drove to work.

George Pelecanos
From: A Firing Offense (Hachette Book Group, 1992)

Side buckle shoes by The Dandy ProjectSource: Gentleman’s Gazette

I got into the passenger side of the big Ford and dropped the tabloid on the seat between us. LaDuke wore a starched white shirt with a solid black tie. He had shined his thick black oxfords, the only shoes I had ever seen on his feet.

George Pelecanos
From: Down By the River Where The Dead Men Go (St. Martin's Press, 1995)

Kielman Black OxfordsSource: Jan Kielman

“Hey, Weiner,” Randolph said, nudging him with his elbow, nodding towards the woman’s feet. “What you figure her shoe size is?”

“I have no idea,” Weiner said.

“I’ll bet you ten bucks she’s a nine.”

“You make your living selling shoes.” Weiner shook his head. “That’s a sucker’s bet.”

“Anyway,” Randolph said, “she would have told you she’s an eight and a half. But believe me—the freak is a nine.”

George Pelecanos 
From: Shoedog (St. Martin's Press, 1994)

Dogs Die In Hot Cars
Man Bites Man EP (V2 Records, 2004)

Lionel looked himself over. He wore pressed jeans and a Hilfiger shirt with Timberland boots. 'What, you don't like my hookup?''You look fine.''Got me some brand-new Timbs.''Sears makes a better boot for half the price.''Ain't got that little tree on 'em, though.'

George Pelecanos
From: Right As Rain (Little Brown, 2001)

Vintage Men's Sears WearmasterSource: ebay

“Out on those mean streets, you mean?”

“Go ahead and laugh. After you walk a mile in my shoes.”

“ ‘Walk a Mile in My Shoes’?” I said. “Joe South, nineteen-sixty-nine.”


“Forget it.”

George PelecanosFrom: Nick's Trip (St. Martin's Press, 1993)

Joe SouthWalk a Mile in My Shoes 7" (Capitol, 1969)

Tuesday, June 20, 2017


“He bought a suit?” Palenzuela said.
“Only the coat, a black one.”
“I believe alpaca.”
“Where did he go for the boots?”
“Naranjo y Vazquez.”
“They’re all right, but not the best.”
“He removed his spurs from the old boots and put them on the new ones.”
“Why? If he wasn’t riding?”
“No, I think because he’s used to wearing them. Or he likes to hear himself walk.” 
Elmore Leonard
From: Cuba Libre (Harper Collins, 1998)

Levi‘s Shoes & Boots
Vintage Ad Browser

“Dennis said, “If I have a choice . . .” and went with the kepi, seeing himself in the mirror 140 years ago. He liked the look and tried the kepi a bit closer on his eyes. Yeah. The shoes were something else, plain black ankle-high brogans with blunt toes, four holes for the shoelaces; they were called bootees. David Jarnagin told Dennis they’d soften with shoe oil; but don’t put them close to a fire, the soles would dry up and crack. ” 
Elmore Leonard
From: Tishomingo Blues (William Morrow, 2002)

Hanneke Benade
Source: Por Amor Al Arte

“She turned a chair from the glass top table and sat down as Adele came out of the kitchenette with a Diet Coke and a pack of cigarettes: Adele wearing a polyester makeup coat hanging partly open, panties but no bra, and clear-plastic mules. Karen saw her as a size 10, her body soft and white, a bit plump but good legs, dark curly hair . . . She said to Karen, “Those are cute shoes. The kind of jobs I get, I have to wear these killer spikes, they ruin your feet.” 
Elmore Leonard
From: Out of Sight (Delacorte Press, 1996)

Girls Aloud
I‘ll Stand By You (Polydor, 2004 - CD Promo)

“I drop you off,” Buddy said, “Give the valet guy the car, Glenn and a black kid by the name of Kenneth are waiting in the lobby. This is three o’clock in the afternoon, the snow’s coming down, they want us to take a ride with them. I said you were buying a pair of shoes, and if they want to go look for you over there, good luck. We come out, White Boy’s waiting in the car. What time did you get back?” 
“About ten.” 
“It took you, what, seven hours to buy a pair of shoes?”
Elmore Leonard
From: Out of Sight (Delacorte Press, 1996)

CA. 1911 | Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones
The Shoe Shop
Source: Art Institute Of Chicago


The fictional Naranjo y Vazquez brand made another appearance two years later (2000) in the novel “Waste Places” by Melvin Weaver:

“Viadero‘s it is then,” said Brenten, “I need a good hat as well as a black coat, pants and a couple of nice shirts. A new pair of boots would be nice if I still have money left.” 
“Naranjo Y Vazquez is a good place for value in boots,“ Enrique Cuevas volunteered. “Not the best quality, but good quality at reasonable price.”

Silver Spurz Orchestra
Self Titled (Aurum Records, 1979)

Saturday, June 17, 2017


8-BitSneakers (3X File, Kick It Recordings, 2010)

All text from “Bomber’s Law” by George V. Higgins (Henry Holt & Company, 1993)

The unusual man also tried to walk with the loose-jointed gait that gifted young athletes either possess from birth or acquire by considerable practice, but he couldn’t bring it off, despite all his obvious planning and effort and someone’s fairly considerable expense. He wore premium-grade high-top sneakers. Dell’Appa recognized them as a brand of footgear he had seen aggressively and repeatedly advertised by relatively-young and highly-muscular, to-him-generic celebrities, during prime-time network telecasts of professional sports. They wore the sneakers and pretended to glide through heavy workouts while shouting provocatively, superciliously, or contemptuously at each another and also anyone who might be watching.”

HondaladySneaker Mon Amour (Citron Recordings, 2010)

Those lithe people on TV mildly annoyed Dell’Appa. They were apparently known and admired so widely and well (though not by Dell’Appa or any one of his friends; Gayle said he had only to be patient, predicting that when Roy was a year or two older, he would update Harry’s education much more thoroughly and often than he could possibly wish, “at eighty or a hundred bucks’ tuition per pair,” she said, “every time his feet grow another half-size or some kid who’s two years taller takes a rebound away from him”) that their full names, cavalierly unstated in the ads, had obviously been deemed superfluous by the sneaker-maker and his advertising outfit.

Luego Estamos (DIY, 2012)

“This meant that the advertising people had talked the manufacturer into paying the performers truly enormous sums of money for the antic services filmed for the ads that in turn cost so much to broadcast. And those combined expenses of production and broadcast exposure explained why the sneakers had to be priced at retail out of the reach of anyone except celebrities so recognizably richly-famous (except by Dell’Appa and his friends) that they didn’t have to buy them; according to the sports pages in the newspaper, the sneaker-manufacturers who hired the scintillating people to make the ads also gave them carload-lots of the footwear for nothing.”

This Time (Good Head, 2003)

“Which in turn meant that Harry was right and the whole exercise was a charade. The manufacturers had no reason to care at all what sort of people wore the sneakers out into the real world, what they did once they were out in it, or even if anyone actually did put on those fancy shoes and go out. For the manufacturers it would be perfectly all right if all the flashy damned things that were purchased for real money, or shoplifted out of heavily-insured inventories, remained forever thereafter in the gaudy boxes, shoved ’way to the backs of darkened shameful closets, so long as the well-funded escapees from reality and normally-functioning sanity in sufficient numbers first underwent mood aberrations sufficiently severe and persisting long enough to cause them to march in columns of bunches into mall-stores and cough up the listed prices that not only paid for the stars and the ads, but made the sneaker-people very rich indeed.” 
George V. Higgins
From: Bomber's Law (Henry Holt & Company, 1993)

Tight Shoes (Bearsville, 1980)

Monday, June 12, 2017


1956 | Carl Perkins
Dance Album Of Carl Perkins (SUN)

With all his peacockery, his implied narcissism, he (ELVIS) was also a major pose-maker for boys. A lot of the time he sang conventional romantic lyrics but some of his biggest hits were breakaways - the harshness and contempt for women in Hound Dog was typical.

Blue Suede Shoes was even more to the point. This had been a hit for Carl Perkins in 1956 but Elvis took it over the following year and gave it wholly new dimensions. It was important - the idea that clothes could dominate your life. 
Girls and cars and money didn't count. All that mattered were shoes, beautiful brand-new blue suede shoes. It was the first hint at an obsession with objects- motorbikes, clothes and so on- that was going to become central.
Nik Cohn
From: AWopBopaLooBopaLopBamBoom: Pop From the Beginning (Weidenfeld & Nicolson Ltd., 1969)

1957 | Elvis Presley
Blue Suede Shoes 7" (RCA, rereleased 1984)

Fun clothes, for the most part, meant Ted-inspired. 'For the first time, poor people's clothes were imitated by the rich. We all had long hair, or longer than anyone else's at the time, and very tight trousers that showed our cocks. That was the focal point, the crotch; and then, if we wanted to pile outrage upon outrage, we wore blue suede shoes as well.
Nik Cohn
From: Chelsea (Ball The Wall - Picador, 1989)

1973 | Johnny Rivers
Blue Suede Shoes (United Artists)

He bought a pair of blue suede shoes and they filled his life. Sitting at the back of the classroom, he put his feet up on the radiator and he couldn't stop staring, his eyes were dazzled by blue and these shoes had pointed toes, sharp steel tips, pure white stitching. In every detail, they were perfection and the way that Johnny felt for them, it was like nothing since his fat black cat.

Each night, he spent 30 minutes cleaning them with a soft felt brush, one hundred strokes with his left hand, one hundred strokes with his right. Then he wrapped them in chamois leather and took many pictures of their reflections. And the time came soon when he didn't even wear them but carried them around in his luncheon box, tied up in red braces.
Nik Cohn
From: I Am Still The Greatest Says Johnny Angelo (Secker & Warburg, 1967)

2015 | Long John And His Ballroom Kings
Blue Suede Shoes 7" (Rydell Records)
Cover design: Don De Vil Artworks (Austria)

When nobody was looking, he took them out and held their softness against his cheek. He was happy then. But one morning he came into class and dirty words were scrawled on the blackboard: Good-bye Blue Suede Shoes.
Nik Cohn
From: I Am Still The Greatest Says Johnny Angelo (Secker & Warburg, 1967)


1977 | Various Artists
Don't You Step On My Suede Shoes (Charly)

Wednesday, June 7, 2017


He was sitting in the interview room, and he was nervous. Rebus stood against one wall, arms folded, examining the scuffed toes of his black Dr Martens shoes. He’d only bought them three weeks ago. They were hardly broken in - the tough leather heel - pieces had rubbed his ankles into raw blisters - and already he’d managed to scuff the toes. He knew how he’d done it too: kicking stones as he’d come out of June Redwood’s block of flats. Kicking stones for joy. That would teach him not to be exuberant in future. It wasn’t good for your shoes.
Ian Rankin
From: In The Frame (Short story from: Beggars Banquet - Orion Books, 2002)

The Grit
S/T (Murdermile Music, 2004)

A training shoe caught Rebus on the chin and sent him flying. He was concentrating on not losing consciousness, so much so that he forgot to fight or to scream or to defend himself …

The side of his head, jaw and ear, were red and would probably bruise. The jaw would ache for some time. Where the shoe had connected, there was already a red and purple welt. Nothing more. Nothing worse. No knives or razor blades'. No massed, assault. It had been a clean, professional hit.

He rubbed his jaw. It felt worse than it looked. There was a pale mustard bruise down one cheek and a graze on his chin. Good thing training shoes were all the rage. In the early 70s it would have been a steel-capped Airwear boot and he would not have been so chipper.
Ian Rankin
From: Tooth And Nail (Century, 1992)

DOC's At Bogeys | London
Source: Haute Macabre

There was a different bouncer on the door at Burke’s Club, and Rebus paid his entrance money the same as everybody else. Inside, it was seventies night, with prizes for the best period costume. Rebus watched the parade of platform shoes, Oxford bags, midis and maxis, kipper ties. Nightmare stuff: it all reminded him of his wedding photos. There was a Saturday Night Fever John Travolta, and a girl who was doing a passable imitation of Jodie Foster in Taxi Driver.
Ian Rankin
From: Black And Blue (Orion Books, 1993)

Get Yer Boots On (Best Of) - Shout! Factory, 2004

‘I’ve been offered a few of those in my time,’ the barman mused. ‘Something I noticed about all the Russian gentlemen - nice watches. Tailored suits, too. But their shoes look cheap; I can never understand that. People should take better care of their feet.’ He decided Rebus merited an explanation. ‘My girlfriend’s a chiropodist.'
Ian Rankin
From: Exit Music (Orion Books, 2007)

Shoes (Kent Records, 1984)

‘You know that in my shoes you’d be considering the selfsame hypotheses.’
‘I wouldn’t be in your shoes, though.’
Fox’s eyes narrowed. ‘Why not?’
Rebus glanced down at Fox’s footwear of choice. ‘They’re brown,’ he stated. ‘One thing I learned from Uncle Frank . . .’
‘No brown shoes?’
‘No brown shoes,’ Rebus agreed.
‘And Uncle Frank is . . . ?’
‘Frank Zappa.’ Rebus saw the blank look on Fox’s face. ‘The musician.’
‘I hardly ever listen to music.’
‘That’s one more strike against you, then,’ Rebus stated with a slow shake of the head.
Ian Rankin
From: Saints Of The Shadow Bible (Orion Books, 2013)


Frank Zappa
The Man From Utopia - Drawing by Tanino Liberatore

Barking Pumpkin Records, 1983

Monday, June 5, 2017


His name was Francisco Carreira and he was a shoemaker. His shop was a small, dark, windowless room, with a low door through which only children could enter without bending down, because it must have been, at most, about three or four feet high. He was always there, sitting on a stool behind a bench on which were laid out all the tools of his trade and which was covered with an ancient layer of dust and detritus: bent nails, shavings from soles, a blunt needle, a pair of broken pliers.

Tools Of The Trade
Photograph: DeBevoise, C. Manley
Source: NYPL Digital Gallery

He was a sick man, old before his time, with a deformed spine. All his strength was concentrated in his arms and shoulders, as strong as levers, and with them he could hammer on the sole of a shoe, wax the thread, pull the stitches tight and drive the tacks home with two short unerring blows.

1945 | Jacob Lawrence
The Shoemaker (Watercolor and gouache on paper)
Source: Metropolitan Museum of Art

While I amused myself making holes in a piece of shoe leather with a punch or played with the water to which the soles of shoes, left to soak, lent an astringent touch of tannin, he would tell me tales of his youth: vague political plots, a pistol that had been shown to him as a somber warning of what, word of honor, would happen to any traitor of the cause.

Then he would ask me how school was going, what news I had of events in Lisbon, and I would waffle on as best I could to satisfy his curiosity. One day, he seemed preoccupied. He smoothed his thin hair with his bradawl and paused in his sewing, both of which were familiar signs, heralding a particularly important question.

1897 | Théophile-Alexandre Steinlen
On The Subject Of Boots
Source: Art Institute of Chicago

Shortly afterward, Francisco Carreira leaned back his twisted body, pushed his glasses up onto his forehead and fired at point-blank range: "Do you believe in the plurality of worlds?" He had read Fontenelle, and I had not, anything I did know having been gleaned from overhearing someone else discussing his work. I muttered something about the movement of the stars, mentioned Copernicus just in case, and that was that. But basically, yes, I did believe in the plurality of worlds, the main question being: was there anyone out there? He seemed pleased, or so it seemed to me, and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Many years later, I wrote an article about him to which I gave the Lorca-inspired title, "The Prodigious Shoemaker." What other adjective could I have used? A shoemaker in my village, in the 1930s, talking about Fontenelle.
José Saramago
From: Small Memories (houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2011)

CA.1830s | Leonie Lacoste Chollet
Portrait of Bernard Le Bovier de Fontenelle (1657-1757)
Source: The Royal Society