Zonkey Boot hand welted split-toe derby from full-grain calf suede

The Split-toe Norwegian Derby

The split-toe Norwegian’s origins might be lying in rural working shoes roughly butted together by cobblers for whom hand stitching with ale and waxed thread was daily business. Norwegian derbies only recently entered the sphere of gentlemen’s urban wardrobes.

As many standard patterns, also the split-toe Norwegian pattern helps to cut expensive upper leathers economically but is rarely offered anymore by the industry where hand butting became an extremely costly working process and where there are very few truly capable stitchers left.

The most common type of butt stitching, which shows the thread, is still used in saddle making and bench made leather goods from thick bridle leather. Since the pricking ale must only pierce into half of the leather’s thickness, sewing thin upper leathers becomes a tricky job.

Properly executed, the reverse butt stitch shows on the outside only a clean cut and the marking of the underlying thread, but no stitches. One might perceive this as a blemish while for others it is the visible mark of hand tools and human skills. To date there is no sewing machine which can perform this particular stitch.

The split-toe Norwegian derby, Ragnar (pictured above), is made from French full grain calf suede with a soft touch. It has a regular butt-stitched apron and a reverse butt-stitching on the tip. For perfectly truing the reverse butt-stitched upper in the middle of the last’s tip, we always last this model by hand. Ragnar’s slightly reddish tobacco mid-brown makes it an all season versatile shoe for many occasions.


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