No matter how hard one tries, it is nigh on impossible to find shoes which, when the mercury rises, are truly comfortable. It’s a conundrum that has troubled The Rake for some time now. A complex cocktail of elements are required to compose a shoe that delivers effortless comfort and ease of wear in the summer sun; firstly, the uppers must be as soft and supple as possible, adapting to the contours of one’s foot without resistance. The soles must be similarly flexible and comfortable worn both with and without socks. Ideally, the shoe should retain a forgiving slipper-like quality, but with enough structure and shape to support the foot.
Few shoemakers have perfected this recipe, but we’re pleased to report that esteemed Italian manufacturer, Santoni, has mastered the art. A contemporary shoe brand which nonetheless draws upon a rich tradition of handmade shoemaking (all of which takes place in the company’s Italian factory), Santoni has, under the guidance of second generation family owner, Guiseppe Santoni, created shoes which perform particularly well in warmer climes – both in terms of comfort and longevity. All of which makes them the natural partner for our first footwear collaboration of SS16 – the Santoni for The Rake Super-Lightweight Camouflage Suede Monk Shoes.
Setting out to create a sophisticated summer slip-on at its finest, creating these shoes was a true labour of love. Not only did we have to design and trial three separate camouflage colour schemes, we also spent time experimenting with particular leathers and hides – assessing which skins would be best suited to taking on the camo colours at their most true. This process led us to the exquisite lightweight suede from which our monks are now made. Not only is said suede butter-soft, it is also more forgiving and more breathable than calfskin, helping to keep one’s feet as cool and comfortable as possible. What’s more, aesthetically, the suede takes the different dyes which make-up the camouflage pattern more easily than calf, and the resultant effect is deliciously subtle, lending the camouflage a unique tonal quality. The shoes are finished with an equally supple sueded sole, using a Blake-stitched construction for enhanced flexibility. They are as close to outdoor-going slippers as can be.
"It's a shoe which effortlessly transitions between different contexts and which suits any manner of seasonal outfits."
Why a double monk strap you might well ask? Quite simply, it’s the iconic Santoni shoe and perfectly suited to dressing for summer. Santoni have truly mastered the monk strap last, which features exquisitely full, gentle curves with plenty of room for even the widest of feet, whilst retaining a slim profile. The sole is slim and the heel small – ensuring that these shoes retain the sleekest of low profiles, which allows them to complement either casual or formal ensembles with ease. The shoes are numbered with The Rake’s signature silver foiling, each one being one of only 20 pairs available and supplied in a unique Santoni & The Rake shoebox, also finished with our silver foiling.
One final word ought to be said on our choice of pattern. We have chosen once more to champion a camouflage design with these shoes. The Rake believes that camouflage has transcended its former identity as a utilitarian pattern, and has become a symbol for contemporary, subversive luxury – its a pattern that challenges convention and injects an apt sense of modernity into even the most traditional of designs.
This camouflage therefore works on a number of levels, not only does it represent (as with our Italia Independent Sunglasses and Begg & Co. Cashmere Squares), a fascinating synergy between traditional craftsmanship and a thoroughly modern aesthetic sensibility, it also yields a shoe which is particularly versatile; a shoe which effortlessly transitions between different contexts and which suits any manner of seasonal outfits. It is, in every respect, the ideal shoe for summer.