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Thursday, July 13, 2017


TransaxleCydwoq: Burbank-based Cydwoq makes shoes that remind me of driftwood -- sculptural, smooth, simple, and pleasing to the eye, in a craggy sort of way.  I do not own any Cydwoqs.  But my wife owns many, and she assures me that they are as comfortable as they are interesting.

Marcopolini: Campbell-based Marcopolini imports high-quality, hand-made leather goods from Italy, including a few high-end streetwear shoes.  I own a Marcopolini key wallet (which, for those who don’t know, is a keychain that stows your keys inside a coin-purse-like wallet, so your keys don’t punch holes in your pockets).  It is extremely well made, and its leather keeps looking better as it ages.

OluKai Irvine-based OluKai makes comfortable, well-put-together, Hawaiian-inspired footwear for people who spend a lot of time at the beach.  I own OluKai shoes (which I wear as slippers) and sandals.  My kids and wife wear OluKai flip flops.  In my experience, OluKai products consistently are good value for the price.

Allbirds women's wool loungers - merino wool slip on shoesallbirds: San Francisco-based allbirds makes running shoes and slip-on sneakers out of merino wool.  My allbirds running shoes are extremely light and comfortable.  Eventually, I probably will buy some allbirds slip-ons to wear as slippers.

North Face: Alameda-based North Face makes pretty much everything an outdoors-enthusiast could want.  They also make some fairly uninteresting-looking streetwear shoes, which – judging by everything I’ve bought from North Face so far – probably are as sturdy as they are dull.

Storm Kursk Bike ShoeChrome: When I lived in the real Bay Area (i.e., the Bay Area in which you can see the Bay Bridge and the Golden Gate Bridge with minimal effort), Chrome was the most ubiquitous brand of messenger bags and backpacks.  Now, they've expanded their line to include everything that a bike-messenger-type urbanite needs for day-to-day living, including sneakers.

Volcom: Orange County-based Volcom is a one-stop shop for skater/surfer/snowboarder fashion, from sneakers to board shorts to two-piece suits.  They also make “draft shoes,” which are sneakers and sandals made of Lycra, so they’re designed to be comfortable when wet.  Because they target skaters – who shred clothes quickly, no matter how high quality – I did not expect Volcom to put much effort into the second-thing-to-go elements of clothing construction.  After all, why double-stitch a garment that’s going to be rags within weeks regardless?  But I was pleasantly surprised.  A few years back, I bought a Volcom button-up. It was a good purchase.  The shirt had a clean silhouette, but with slightly skewed seams that bent people’s eyes just enough to prevent them from looking past me.  And – because I do not lead a tear-through-fabric lifestyle – it lasted for years.

104 Prince StHonorable Mention -- Fluevog Shoes: I have tried -- I have tried so so hard -- to find a Californian shoes company that compares with Vancouver-based Fluevogs.  So far, no dice.  Fluevog's styles run the gamat, from dress shoes that I wear with suits, to Italian-style sleek, 
Lestatto interesting-but-not-outrageous streetwear, to truly flamboyant wonders.  And they are all extremely well constructed out of high-quality, durable materials that can -- with proper maintenance -- last a lifetime.  

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