I have a bugbear about driving shoes. I hate the ridge, bobbles or gommini that all brands put on the back of their shoes, as well as the sole. Originally, I presume this was to retain grip on the floor of the car, seeing as your foot would be pivoting on its heel as it caressed the accelerator.
But no one wears driving shoes to drive today, and the rubber bits on the back mean that one’s trousers bunch up at the back, sitting on the rubber rather than flowing smoothly down to the heel. This is a particular issue with bankers that wear driving shoes with suits. The way the trousers bunch up makes them look like pyjamas.
So the first thing I noticed about Fin’s shoes is that they don’t have any bobbles on the back. Just smooth suede or leather.
Fin’s is a young shoe company run by a friend of a friend, Alexandra Finlay. Always interested in entrepreneurs of any type, and shoes in particular, I gave her “simple, fuss-free and fun” shoes a try. And bearing in mind my rather slight bias and connection to the company, I have to say they are remarkably comfortable.
I only owned one pair of driving shoes previously, from Massimo Dutti, and Fin’s are a big improvement on those. At first blush they also seem more comfortable than Tod’s or Bally, though having only tried on those brands I can make no direct comparison.
The shoes are made by a family-run factory in Portugal and are partly hand-stitched (the long moccasin stitch joining the vamp to the upper). Says Fin: “Portugal is renowned for providing fantastic quality at great value. In creating a brand that centred around the ethos of affordable luxury I knew that the balance Portugal offered would be ideal for Fin’s.
“The factory is entirely dedicated to making shoes; their set up is amazing, a cavernous room with the shoe-making process operating from start to finish in an anti-clockwise arrangement. The process starts with a man cutting the patterns, and works its way around to another man wrapping the finished shoes in tissue paper and boxing them up. Visiting the factory at production time is one of my favourite things to do. It makes you appreciate the finished product so much better when you see the work and craftsmanship.”
The construction and padded insole is remarkably comfy, although I must admit that part of that insole cover is coming away in my pair, which I have been wearing daily for two weeks. The insoles are removable though, which should aid any repairs and also helps air out sweaty feet a bit better.
It’s hard to argue with Fin’s philosophy of comfortable, simple shoes, easily ordered (next-day delivery) and in more colours than you could possibly want. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend wearing them with suits though.