Thursday, March 29, 2012
The Norwegian shoe style has evolved over the years. Originally a moccasin sewn by Norwegian fishermen, the name no longer applies to either a moc or something made by Norwegians but has instead become a somewhat generic identifier for a slip-on shoe with a band over the vamp that has a cutout into which a penny could be placed, if pennies were worth anything any longer (the cutout originated as a way to carry the price of a telephone call, however the American penny is currently worth far less than a call or for that matter less than any other coin on the face of the earth and costs 2.4 cents each to make, resulting in an annual cost to the U. S. taxpayer of $60,000,000 should you be interested).
Somewhere along the line, some shoemakers began making Norwegians with a split toe but we can safely ignore that digression as split toe slip-ons are in a distinct minority. And when shoes were sewn by hand, the apron on the Norwegian was distinctive but since its introduction in 1936 the Bass Weejun and its ilk have had machine-sewn aprons. That leaves most of us with only the cutout.
All this is background for the pair of slip-ons by W. S. Foster & Son Ltd. in the photograph which that firm, unsurprisingly by this point I am sure, calls Norwegians. In Foster's case, the shoe has the expected cut-out, a hand-sewn apron and a lovely long and lean toe box that could never exist in a ready to wear shoe. Should you order a pair they will arrive after a wait of not quite one year, which in this case means just in time for better weather (rain and snow being the principal arguments against wearing slip-on shoes out of doors).
Snaffle bitted Gucci wearers may disagree but that cut-out makes these a little too informal to wear with most suits in my opinion. They should however be perfect under linen, cotton and even tweed with flannel once in a while.