Having been to a couple of shoe factories in my time, I can confirm it’s a genuinely fascinating process to observe. I’m all for pretending not to care about such things usually, playing down my obsession with footwear by telling everyone “It’s just shoes”. But it’s not is it? It’s watching a timeless skill being applied using genuine craftsmanship.
Even putting aside the interest in responsible manufacturing we’re all now embracing, it’s just really interesting to see real humans using age-old industrial equipment and processes to make something aesthetically appealing.
Having spoken to the guys at Fresh, I know they share this view. Their interest in the process and attention to detail led to them visiting the Astorflex factory in their native Italy to help create something extra special for themselves.
In our case with our Hikerdelix Yogi, Novesta and Kickers collaborations, it’s a familiar process. With shoes, you’re usually limited to an existing silhouette as the setup costs for an entire new style are prohibitive. That said, why try to fix what isn’t broken? With Kickers it was a tricky process. Their iconic shoe was difficult to change without worsening its appeal. In the end, we did a decent job. Likewise, with Yogi and Novesta, we wanted to bring something genuinely new to the table without losing what made that style of shoe so appealing.
Fresh have gone with the ‘kid in a sweet shop’ approach with their collaboration with Astorflex. When offered a variety of materials, they opted for the holy trinity in footwear fabrics – suede, leather and corduroy all in one pair of shoes together. It’s proof that the best things often come in threes.
It makes for a unique and attractive shoe. It avoids looking overdesigned by adopting consistent, uniform colours on two versions – Dark Chestnut and Navy Blue.
They’re available now in limited numbers from Fresh.
If you’re ready to admit you are actually a shoe geek and it’s not “just shoes”, then scroll through to see behind the scenes of this lovely example of Italian craftsmanship being made.
Check them out here