Sometimes it bugs me that I chose a time to be born that made me live in times that were so transitional when it comes to good products of the world being handmade as opposed to computer designed and (often) built.
Take something like a pair of cycling shoes for instance…just sayin’….y’know? My regular pair of shoes for the last few seasons has been one of top end pairs of DMT’s in an ever-so-flashy yellow/black. They fit reasonably well, have a fairly stout carbon soul, good fasteners and they were a lotta dough too.
One of the things I noticed about them from my first time out was that, unless its REALLY warm, my feet get cold (and numb). Now I grant you that my circulation has never been the greatest in my hands and feet but even onfairly warm days they sign off.
Seeing as how these shoes do fit well ie not too tight, I started to conclude it must because the souls (being carbon) are basically a petroleum product. Basically they are deluxe plastic. Put on a synthetic shirt, get it just slightly damp and you freeze right?
My theory started to make more sense when I moved over to my winter ride. Seeing as how the bike had toeclips/straps on it, le scarpe of choice were my beautiful old pair of Duegi wooden sole, full grain leather, handmade creations. Now in their 30th year, these shoes have served me through nearly 25 years of racing starting with the road in the Eighties then the track till about ‘03. Incredibly durable…in 1985 during the season I was doing 700-800km a week. God knows what the total time/mileage must be.
I use to sell loads of these shoes out of the shop in a previous life and had the opportunity to go tothe ‘factory’ where Duegis were made around ‘82 or so. It wasn’t really a factory in the normal sense, more like the guy’s house. Truly, it was a small house on a street not too far from Pinarello’s shop just north of Treviso. As you went through the front door, what would have normally been the living room had a bunch of women shaping the wooden soles. Adjacent to that in what would have been the dining room were more Italian women cutting the leather uppers.
At the time of course, you don’t think anything of it. But now, nearly 30 years later I look at these shoes and realize that all the crap they’re been through and they are still holding up so well. And guess what else?? Even in these winter climes my feet stay warmer longer…because the wood soles hold the heat instead of wicking it away like the carbon soles. But wait..there’s more! The wood soles are completely solid, no flex. Considerably stouter than my $400 DMT’s. One of the last times I rode at the velodrome a couple of kid’s just down the infield bench from me were showing each other their new super stiff shoes. I happened to be sitting with long time freind of mine who just happened to have Duegis as well….he comes from that part of Italia. We passed the two lads one one these part woodie wonders and they kinda freaked at how solid they were.
Now here comes even a better part. One of these scarpa Italiana vecchia weighs in at 256 grams with cleat. The big buck carbo DMT ramps right up to 377 grams. In 1982 the Duegis sold at $89 pair. Allowing for the 2.5-3.0 times inflation since then they should be circa $225-250. What happened? Why are the lesser quality shoes from the same country of origin still way more than that. And why are some the Chinese shoes that proliferate the market (like all their junk does everywhere you look) cost nearly the same even they cost about 7 cents in their country of origin. Easy, its all about greed, not the passion of making the product with love and care. Big margin, big promo. Its like all these Chinese carbon frames that everyone is selling. they pay $300-400 for them and some get marked up as high as 5 and 6 G’s. Now they’ve got a lotta clams for for promo. Makes me mental….to the point where I should really have a beer.
I’ve got other things to say about clothing and stuff so stand by, but do check out the photo with one of my famous Duegis keeping company with a brand new in the box pair of Detto Pietros from the same era. Not quite the quality of Duegi (Detto used split grain leather) but pretty kool nevertheless. They even came with a spare cleat and tools!
Right then…I’m off.