Hi! I’m Tor, 28 year old Swede currently living in Gothenburg, Sweden. I like the simple things in life, like hanging out with my family/friends. My main hobby is polishing shoes while listening to some good music and drinking a cold one.
How did you get into collecting shoes and smart shoes specifically?
I have always liked shoes. As a teenager I had up to 37 sneakers. But in my early 20’s I wanted to have proper shoes. This, in addition to my late fiancée teasing me for wearing sneakers made me step up my shoe-game. My turning point was my 25th birthday when I received a pair of black cap-toe Loake Radstocks and then I was hooked. I wanted more, and more. I have about 18 pairs today. I’m always trying to keep my collection below 20 pairs, simply because I don’t have enough space.
Which bespoke brands do you prefer and recommend? Which one(s) is/are your favorite and why?
I’m yet to own any bespoke shoes. And recommending one is like deciding who the most beautiful woman in the world is. We all have different types and preferences.
Justin FitzPatrick (The Shoesnob) has some good points regarding if it’s worth it or not:
- Do I have messed up feet that cause me pain?
- Is it extremely hard to fit my foot into a ready to wear shoe?
- Can I afford it without blinking an eye?
If you answer yes, then go bespoke. One exciting bespoke maker is Valentin Frunza from Moldova, who makes exquisite shoes at a wallet-friendly price.
What according to you is a good wardrobe, both in terms of variety and quality? Which 7 types of shoes are on your personal must-have list?
I wouldn’t say that you must have a certain pair. A good shoe wardrobe is having something for every occasion. You should have something that you’re comfortable to have, whether it’s for a black tie event, a walk in the forest or a night out with the boys. The 3 most important things about shoes is the fit, the fit and lastly the style. So wear something that you’re comfortable (yet classy in).
However, you should own a few different styles simply because they’ll make you look better. Here’s what you should own, if you live in a northern, cold climate:
- The black cap toe/black wholecut with a single leather sole. For formal occasions. I own 2 pairs of black shoes, and I’ve probably used them less than 20 times together in the past 3 years, simply because I don’t like black shoes. As per etiquette, black shoes should be worn to funerals, weddings and occasions that require one to wear black shoes. My black shoes will accompany me until retirement, or death.
- Punched cap toe, extremely versatile shoe that works with almost anything. If you don’t like the punched cap toe, go for the full brogue or semi-brogue.
- Chukka boot in Suede or grain. For the rugged days and weekends. Also works with almost anything.
- A sneaker, or trainer that you’re comfortable in, sometimes it’s difficult to find a more grown-up sneaker. Buttero has really hit the nail on this one.
- A loafer, whether it’s a penny loafer or a tassel loafer, suede or leather. Great for the summer days.
- A boot, especially if you live in the northern hemisphere where snow is challenging between October and April every year.
- Last but not least should be your favorite shoe, which for me is the Edward Green Dover on the 606 last.
Do you think the perception towards Dress shoes has changed over time? Are people less hesitant and more experimental now? How is the Shoe scene in Gothenburg?
I think the perception towards proper shoes has changed, although we are all getting older and our taste as well our workplace (perhaps dress-code too) change. Some people are stuck in the “no brown in town” vibe. I think people are daring to do more now, since we’re all influenced by Instagram, blogs and what not. You can find so much on the internet. 30 years ago you had to place an ad in the local newspaper. Perhaps the only style influence would be a picture of an actor or your grandpa, who probably only had black shoes.
What is most important is to go with what you like, people will always have opinions. What works for you might not always work for someone else. With time, you’ll find what you’ll like. For example. I like to wear my shoes with sweatpants too. Just because I can, and there’s always someone, somewhere who will disagree. *winks*
The shoe scene in Gothenburg is improving by the day. You can acquire lots of high-quality brands at different price points – from Bestetti all the way down to Loake 1880.
You emphasize that shoe-care goes a long way. What precautions do you take with your own collection and would recommend to others as well?
Shoecare is important. Just like you use lip balm on your lips and/or skin cream on your skin, you will need to take care of your shoes. Since leather is essentially skin, its important to use natural products only. Just a tiny bit of shoe-care will get you a long way. I advise everyone to invest in a shoe-care kit containing the following:
- Renovateur – a conditioning and nourishing cream for the leather.
- Regular high quality shoecream. For example Saphir crème 1925, preferably colored as it will restore the color of the shoe. You can always use neutral cream as well. But if you’re like me and can’t control your feet at times, it will cover scuffs and nicks.
- Shoetrees – one for every pair you’ve got. You don’t necessarily need lasted shoetrees for every shoe you have. Most shoetrees get the job done. They will stretch the shoe back to its original shape and decrease excessive creasing.
- Atleast 1 horse hair brush, to buff and brush the shoe.
If you’re a beginner this will ensure your shoes will last long. If you want to go a step further for that extra shine (also known as the mirrorshine), acquire wax and shine bright like a diamond! There are great guides out there.
You seem to prefer different shades of dark chestnut and cognac when it comes to colors. Tell us what makes them special?
I love shades of brown, simply because they’re versatile and age beautifully unlike black, which is a dead color.
Your Top 5 Shoes from your collection
Gaziano & Girling Wigmore in Vintage Rioja, MH71 last, Single leather sole
Edward Green Dover in antique Chestnut, 606 last, HAF-Sole
Alfred Sargent Moore in Cherry – 724 last, single leather sole
Vass, Model 1065 in Gold Museum Calf on F-last, Single leather sole
GH Bass Weejuns
There’s a lot of bespoke makers’ shoes that I would love to try. Luckily for me, my shoes aren’t messed up and I have pretty normal feet. Also, I’ve found RTW-makers that fit me well enough.
I would love a pair of Hiro Yanagimachi. I might get a pair when I turn 30.
I would want to give a shoutout to Justin FitzPatrick aka The Shoesnob. His blog made me seriously get into the shoe game. He proved that everything is possible if you make a plan and apply yourself. I remember starting to read his blog and thought to myself, wow I wanna be like this guy and now I’m lucky to count him as a good friend.
If you believe, you can achieve.
Tor is our first ever feature on a smart-shoe collector and our second shoehead from Europe. We knew from the get-go that the readers were in for a special treat. His carefully selected and well curated collection caught our attention, so we immediately wanted to know his story. A gent that can rock his dress shoes with a pair of sweat pants is definitely about his shoes! An ardent fan of @Valentin_Frunza and a shoehead that’s driven by quality over quantity, Tor’s choice is not just classy but eclectic as well.
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