You’ve hopefully heard of wholecut oxfords—beautifully sleek, often superbly comfortable shoes created from a single piece of leather. But a wholecut wingtip? Well, John Lobb did that.
Lobb has been making some of the world’s finest shoes since 1849. 160 years later (2009) they created one of the most unique shoe masterpieces I’ve ever seen: the John Lobb St. Crépin 2009, a wholecut wingtip in which the entire upper (sans the tongue, of course) is crafted from a singular piece of leather.
Despite being from ten years ago, this is relevant right now for the very important reason that someone sent me the below video from a decade ago, and I feel quite strongly indeed that you need to watch it as well.
A little background: since 1996, every year Lobb honors Saint Crépin (aka St. Crispin)—the patron saint of shoemakers, cobblers, and leatherworks—with an incredibly unique shoe. 1999 brought the wholecut wingtip, which was inspired by Tokyo’s Spiral building, and is made by spiraling a single piece of beautifully stained calf leather around the last. According to Lobb, “from a technical point of view, it is the most complex a pattern can be—it would not be possible to add another layer to the spiral.”
Just watch it. It’s almost too magical to make sense.
John Lobb’s 2019 St. Crepin, the Holt, is also a wholecut oxford with a wonderful chevron accent stitch and a devilishly unique three-eyelet lacing system. (Extremely cool rock not included with shoes).