That’s right, eat crow. If you are late to the show I have been lamenting the demise of Knapp Shoes for what seems like a decade. Recently I got a strange follow-up e-mail. It seemed too good to be true, so I ordered, waited, received, tested and have come to the following conclusion about my #2359 Plain-Toe Rocker-Bottom Oxfords:
KNAPP IS BACK!
If you purchase your Knapp shoes from their new owners, KBFootwear, you are buying a bona fide pair of Knapp shoes. The construction materials, primarily the sole, are slightly different but the leather, toughness and general build quality are right where a discerning consumer of military grade footwear would expect.
The soles are a bit spongier than in prior versions but I would call this a plus. I never understood the point of walking around on “tap shoes” all day anyway (Knapps never were, but this is an even further departure from the usual hard sole dress shoe). They are black, non marking and still oil resistant. The extra give on each footfall is, I think, a good thing for real walking around work.
The laces are a thing of beauty. They are stiff and hold their shape after bending, as though there is a copper wire running through the center from aglet to aglet. Lacing these beasts was a chore because of it but I knew immediately this was a plus. I refuse to double-knot my dress shoes because I am not 7 anymore and do not slip my shoes on and off like loafers. Slippers and deck shoes slip on and off. Work shoes are tied so they stay on and these laces refuse to come untied until you intervene.
The fit on these shoes was a little off, perhaps by as much as a width. I have worn 10.5-EEE for 30 years and in this case I think I goofed by not remeasuring my feet properly before ordering. The good news is that this is only a minor problem. The difference between E, EE and EEE is the difference between death grip, snug and roomy. I can lace the shoes tighter to compensate without any issues. Next time, I am ordering the EEs. Because the shoes were a little large (again, my fault, not theirs) the break-in only came with half the usual sweet agony as the leather conformed to my step and bend.
My shipping label came with a congratulatory message, telling me to take pride in the fact that I was one of the first to receive “genuine Made In America, AGAIN KB Footwear” (emphasis theirs). I do. These bad boys are my Tarsal Tanks. I am happy they have finally resolved the delays and see that the wait was worth it. Judging by the surprising amount of commentary I receive on this blog about my random shoe posts, more than a few of you were waiting for this.
Wait no more. Buy them online at http://www.KBFootwear.com
p.s. I receive no consideration or compensation from the folks at KB Footwear and to be perfectly honest, I have been one of their biggest critics to anyone who will listen over the years. I have a LOT of feedback for them beyond this if they are interested. Right now, I am just another customer.
*Update: I was informed I had the “IronAge” reference incorrect and corrected the company name to reflect accurately.