Turning the corner and climbing the creaking stairs, my mind raced at the thought of all the shoemakers that must have made this very same ascent. Vintage posters and signage lined the halls, while a welcoming, industrious scent filled the warm air.
Though this Brockton, Massachusetts factory – the former home of the now retired FootJoy Classics – hadn’t been in used for production in years, it’s historic and old-world vibes remained. And it no doubt lent a bit of inspiration for the company’s latest shoe creation, the FootJoy 1857.
Meet the FootJoy 1857 Collection
For those of us who enjoy a timeless, classic style, there was no better golf shoe than the FootJoy Classic. I still recall the heart-sinking feeling experienced the first time I learned of it’s retirement. Sure, the new-age ICONs provide a similar classic style (and admittedly more comfort), but there’s something about a hand-crafted shoe that makes the traditionalist in us tick.
The Classics as we know them might not exist, but FootJoy has one-upped themselves with the launch of the 1857 Collection. This ultra-high end line pays homage to the original FooJoy brand – who’s roots date back to, you guessed it, 1857 – but, in a bit of a new way.
The 1857’s tap into a long lineage of elegant European shoemaking, with materials, design and production primarily based in Europe. Design styles range from classic wingtips to traditional saddles, each handmade with a painstaking level of craftsmanship; trust no detail goes overlooked.
Craftsmanship: A Step Above the Rest
Void of modern production lines, shoe making takes a step back in time. To be clear, that’s a good thing when it comes to a luxury shoe. The construction of each 1857 Collection shoe begins with a premium leather shoe upper being stretched around a shoe last (read: wooden mold for the shoe), and then double-stitched (to ensure waterproofing) to the welt (bottom) of the shoe.
This this process, known as Goodyear welting, creates a more stable, durable and elevated shoe compared to (most) other shoes that simply are constructed with an adhesive. A corking is added to offer-up a bit of cushiony-comfort, before the leather sole is sewn together with the welt. Finally, a heel is added and shaped to the sizing of the shoe. This 36-plus hour beginning to end process yields one of the most beautiful, luxury golf shoes you’ll lay eyes on.
The attention to detail carries through in sizings as well, with the alpha system employed for the 1857 collection. This is a more exacting system of sizes, allowing each shoe to better fit it’s owner. For this reason, FootJoy strongly recommends a proper fitting prior to purchasing a pair of 1857’s.
More Than Golf Shoes
If the construction of the FootJoy 1857’s sound a lot like your favorite pair of high-end dress shoes, you’d be correct. And in fact, the 1857 collection extends beyond golf shoes, with a variety of different dress shoes available for purchase, too.
The line of 1857 dress shoes are exactly what you’d expect – spike less, elegant and downright beautiful. There are traditional styles, as well as some design variations (think wingtips and monk straps), each ideal for business trips and weekdays at the office.
But my favorite of the spike less shoes are the vibrant, show-stopping suede wingtips that come in a variety of bold colors. Rock them to the office on casual Friday, for a date out on the town, or simply to and from the golf club. Either way, these are the perfect way to spice-up any polished off-course look.
Investing in a Pair of 1857’s
The FootJoy 1857 shoes began selling at select golf clubs across the U.S. in July, but for all those itching to get in the mix, they’re now available online at the FJ 1857 website.
Pricing starts at $750 for the golf shoes and $495 for the spike less shoes, but like any investment into the high-quality shoes, with proper care, they might just outlive you.