“Hype” and “traditional” are two phrases that hardly ever function in the identical sentence, however when discussing Paraboot, the forward-thinking French shoemaker based in 1908, they’re justifiable. Regarding the former, the hype is actual: Paraboot’s immediately recognizable design, which toes the road between ruggedness and refinement, is worn by everybody out of your common Alsatian farmer to trend-setting Japanese menswear aficionados. As to the latter, the truth that its best-selling mannequin has been in fixed manufacturing since 1945 says all of it.
One one who can testify Paraboot’s traditional credentials is British retailer John Simons. “A fantastic traditional, whether or not it’s in artwork, style or music is tough to outline however with out defining it, its presence stays magnificent,” he tells Robb Report. “For me, Paraboot’s key fashions have sure timeless enchantment and I feel that’s the reason they handle to attach with shoppers at this time.”
Simons launched his namesake enterprise in 1964, importing swaths of Ivy League staples and extra, and is a revered determine in British menswear. Within the early Eighties, he was the primary within the UK to inventory Paraboot’s Michael mannequin. “I took a threat…I suppose you can say it was a pioneering strategy however, positive sufficient, the traditional object has borne out to be true,” he provides.
Regardless of its city enchantment, Paraboot is most at house within the countryside south of Lyon, the place it’s been based mostly since day one. The corporate traded below one other identify up till 1927 when it adopted its present moniker, which references the port of Para in Brazil, the place it sources its latex. The mix of a sturdy leather-based higher connected to a latex sole through a Norwegian welt was a house run, particularly for French farmers who wanted sturdy, waterproof footwear. The standard was superior then, and it nonetheless is at this time.
Paraboot’s early designs, such because the Michael, Chambord and Avignon shortly turned an indelible a part of French tradition, worn by everybody out of your common Jacques to a classical violinist dwelling in a Parisian suburb. “He purchased them at a flea market and would re-sole them fully to provide them a second life. For him, it was the model to put on because the sneakers are indestructible,” Gauthier Borsarello, one in every of France’s main menswear authorities, recollects of his father’s alternative of footwear again within the Eighties. Yearly for his dad’s birthday, Borsarello buys him a pair.
When requested why Paraboot has loved a lot success in recent times, Borsarello places it merely: “They’re very open to vary with out compromising their high quality.” Heritage manufacturers usually wrestle with change. Paraboot bucks this pattern, and is stronger than ever because of its willingness to collaborate with different manufacturers, from Aimé Leon Dore in New York to Drake’s in London. A collaboration, 4 years in the past, with its compatriot Arpenteur, recognized for stylish workwear, proved so profitable that it has continued each season.
The 2 manufacturers bonded over their shared values of understated type and native manufacturing. Arpenteur’s co-founder Laurent Bourven thinks Paraboot might be making sneakers in France for one more 110 years as they’ve “a really clear imaginative and prescient of the place they wish to go, and being family-owned makes the distinction when you will need to execute this imaginative and prescient.” Certainly one of Arpentuer’s unique fashions that Laurent singles out is the Elevage boot: “It was designed within the Nineteen Fifties for males who care for horses within the Camargue area, however with a up to date tweak within the oiled nubuck leather-based.”
Collaborations and digital savvy works, however numerous distribution has been a key ingredient within the success of Paraboot’s marketing strategy. London’s streetwear-focused Goodhood is a notable instance—it pairs “Michael” derbies with buzzy names like Aries and Needles. Clutch Cafe, one other London store famed for its huge array of area of interest Japanese labels, has undoubtedly elevated the model’s enchantment.
“Over the previous few years they’ve been gaining a bit extra of a cult standing, I feel partially to their reputation in Japan,” Ben Chamberlain, Clutch Cafe’s supervisor, says. “It’s a type of crossover manufacturers which has all of it: historical past, innovation, high quality, a superb worth and a spread of types. If you take a look at sure types just like the ‘Michael’ or ‘Avignon,’ it’s tough thus far them…they straddle heritage type and road type completely.”
Clutch additionally shares a few of Paraboot’s extra outré types, embellished with pony hair and mink fur-covered vamps. They’re not for everybody, however they go to point out that Paraboot is ready to have enjoyable—and that’s the crux of the model’s enduring reputation. Pushing the boat out whereas respecting heritage: It’s a successful recipe for the long run for menswear. That stated, “hype” and “traditional” are phrases you simply would possibly begin listening to collectively extra usually.