Paulus Bolten for The Rake: The Patinaed Sneaker

Evocating the emotional expressiveness of Mark Rothko’s painting Paulus Bolten’s lovingly hand patinaed sneakers transform the commonplace into the sublime.

There is a dilemma in men's footwear today. The reality of constant travel, rapid movement across the urban landscape, the need for traction in any weather condition and for multi-functionality has caused the sneaker to become the single most significant type of footwear today. But the majority of sneaker brands are giant global conglomerates, creating shoes that while iconic are also commonplace quite the opposite of a beautifully handmade pair of bespoke shoes. How then does one even begin to find a sneaker that's truly special?

One way might be to spend an inordinate sum of money on a pair, and there are pairs out there that go for thousands and which are magnificent indeed. But, The Rake proposes another way to reconcile inordinate comfort and practicality with exquisite hand craftsmanship as we unveil our Paulus Bolten for The Rake Adidas Stan Smiths and Nike Air Force Ones.

Paulus is a Dutchman living in Paris, and he works tucked away down a small side street off the Avenue de la Grande Armée, in a space that's more of a den than a shop. It's a cosy, unpretentious place where he can work away, late into the night at his own pace, performing one of the most magical transformations in modern menswear that The Rake has discovered to date - something little short of a shoemaking miracle. He patinas sneakers. He takes plain, waxy white sneakers (there are only certain models which can work) and hand paints, polishes and buffs them into an exquisite, colourful, captivating expressions rivalling the paintings of Mark Rothko in their capacity for emotional evocation.




December 2015


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