When I studied abroad in Paris, I saw a style of shoe that I couldn’t quite place. I saw it mostly in the Metro, usually on the feet of nattily-dressed old French men. How could I have known, that within a matter of six years, that shoe, made by Paraboot, would be everywhere?
Paraboot is not a new brand, in fact the brand was birthed in Izeaux, France, at the foot of the Alps in 1927. The brand implemented many of the technological advancements happening in footwear at that time, namely those using rubber. The invention of vulcanization in the United States had totally changed the way shoes were made and Rémy Richard, the owner of the brand was quick to utilize this new tech in his own shoes.
The Paraboots of today are founded on the same principles that made the brand great all those years ago. A chunky, grippy rubber sole made by Paraboot (a rarity today), with an equally chunky leather upper. For many Americans, Tyler, the Creator was the introduction to these incredible chunky shoes and with good reason. His hip-hop inspired take on traditional and ivy league styles are finally hitting the mainstream in a big way and these great French shoes are the perfect way for you to ride the wave along with him.
As pant silhouettes relax, it feels more organic to wear a chunky shoe like those from Paraboot. Their premium leathers, excellent soles, and externally visible Norwegian welt design make them highly practical as well as fairly waterproof. If you were a Parisian, taking long walks from place to place in uncertain weather, you’d almost certainly turn to Paraboot, which would keep your feet dry and protected better than most sneakers.
Of Paraboot’s designs, the Michael (Michel en France) is probably the best-known. Known as a Tyrolean shoe, named for a school of Austrian footwear, the Michael is a little high-fashion for some tastes, but absolutely gorgeous. It’s one of those things that grows on you, like eating oysters.
Other great silhouettes like the Chambord and Avignon, offer a slightly more traditional spin on the classic leather shoe. Try to be patient when your friend mistakes them for Doc Martens… this will happen from time to time.
There is no shortage of more great shoes and loafers in the Paraboot lineup, the only problem is where to get them! Paraboot’s shoes and boots aren’t cheap by any means, and they seem to be somewhat marked up here in the States. However; more and more U.S. retailers are beginning to carry them, so it’s getting easier to find a deal. That being said, we should probably all get a little more used to paying a premium on quality like this! It takes a lot of hard work to make a shoe this good.