After my ramble about the Reebok x Needles Beatnik Moc (still on the fence, although my girl thinks they’re, “horrible“) it’s reasonable to assume I might suggest an alternative. And I haven’t had to stray from beneath the Nepenthes umbrella to find one.
Genuinely interesting smart/casual footwear doesn’t come along that often. I find Hender Scheme and Adieu regularly deliver pieces that subvert the expected, but the prices are a bit hectic. What I’m looking for is a mix of credible (subjective obviously) unusual (but not clownish) and crucially something just tricky enough to get hold of. And of course I’ve also got to be able to afford them.
It’s a daunting, high-wire act: fall one way and it’s sleepy-time on a generic duvet of Clarks brown suede, fall the other and you’re dropping £500 on a pair of over-designed clompers that give you blisters. It’s the middle-ground that’s so elusive. You can call it snobbery I guess, although I prefer to think of it as a passionate rebuff to the homogenisation of consumer culture, that and a desire to look just different enough.
For me, these Tarvas x Engineered Garments kicks are bang on. At $277 (£224 at time of writing) they’re in the ballpark of reasonable, plus, they’re only (currently) available in the US; bumping into another pair is inconceivable.
Obviously the fur is the story here. The brands’ 2019 hook up on the forgettable Tarvas x EG Explorer, left me cold. But here, on the Forest Bather we’ve taken a swerve into madness. Just look at that synthetic pelt, so weirdly balloony as though sprouting like a cushion of alien moss. These things are as light as a gasp too.
When I insisted to my girl that we go for a long Sunday afternoon walk to capture these shots, she suggested that going for a long walk in brand new shoes might not be the smartest move. “You might get them dirty”, she said. “They might rub.” I told her not to worry and explained that they were so comfortable that rubbing was an impossibility.
Spin forward two hours. We had rowed because our proposed route took us down a muddy path which I refused to undertake. So we had to take a sizeable detour. So the long walk became a long-long walk. And by the time we were on the way home my heel was bleeding and I was in considerable pain, but refused to admit it.
Mission accomplished. I did look just different enough. I was the only guy furiously limping home in furry blue shoes.
Coat: Casey Casey
Suit: Comme des Garçons Homme
Shirt: Sage Nation
Shoes: Tarvas x Engineered Garments