There’s this shoe. Left to my own devices I’d probably wear it habitually for the rest of my life. The Vans Authentic. My toes perk up at the sound. The Authentic fails to get old and fits like a glove. But I think my addiction is genetic.
Both my parents lived in southern California back before I was born and my dad surfed and skateboarded. Skate culture after Vans opened its first store in Anaheim in 1966 was swimming in the rubber and canvas of Vans shoes. Dad wears them to this day. So does my uncle. Faithful customers for fifty years. That’s because Authentics are iconic and have hardly changed.
Personally, the waffle-grip classics have served my 20’s stellarly. I have no regrets. Though at this juncture in my life, my feet would benefit from some culture, some class, something more respectable. I can’t imagine my wife objecting.
I’ve thought about this for a while now but when you know a shoe or anything else works – if it fits and looks and feels the way you love – changing feels like raking leaves off a neighbor’s driveway. A chore. That is until my eyes fell in love. With my wife again, yes, but also with these shoes.
Introducing the Astorflex Softflex sneakers. These gems found me surfing on Huckberry. Being a dude, I’m stoic with clothing. I put it on, take it off, wash it, and repeat. But the handsome design of the Softflex had me smiling. And still do.
First things first: Astorflex has been in the business of hand-made premium leather shoes since the 19th century. “That’s like over a hundred years!” *surfer bro voice* The owner, Fabio Travenzoli, inherited Astorflex from his father Alfredo and uncle Bettino who “succeeded in the business of their father Daniele and of their grandfather Ferdinando.” Four generations of quality Italian and eco-friendly construction. That deserves a Michelin Star!
Fabio is personally committed to responsible, transparent, and sustainable manufacturing methods. Too, research into new materials and design is carried out in collaboration with famous designers.
Astorflex is a company worth noting. With four generations of expertise behind each pair, you know you’re getting the cream of the crop.
Now onto the shoes themselves. For starters, they’re crazy comfortable, and I can be picky when it comes to comfort (I was the kid who cut out tags from new shirts). The lining and insoles are made of vegetable-tanned leather from Europe, making them soft soft. Their leather comes from tanneries in Tuscany and is soaked in a mixture of water, powdered oak bark, and mimosa. No dyes or color finishes. Altogether, leather that’s healthier, hypoallergenic, and sweat-absorbing.
With 100% natural rubber soles and water-based adhesives, the shoe is pure and to-the-point. I couldn’t ask for more, they are the perfect daily cruiser. A day of errands, a casual sushi date, church, a barbecue, or a chill bike ride, they’ll accompany you whatever your plans.
Astorflex is exactly the kind of company we love to promote: stylish, responsible, ethical, masterful, yet down-to-earth. But don’t be bummed if you are more of a boot guy. That’s what Astorflex is known for.
So what’s your favorite casual shoe right now? Do you know any other multi-generational family businesses? Take a minute and let us know what you think of the Softflex!
Note: I personally purchased my pair of Astorflex shoes. For the sake of transparency, I was not compensated for this post. As always, all thoughts and opinions are my own!