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A festive retrospective (Festospective? Retrofestival?) of the best posts of the year

'Tis the season for nursing overstuffed stomachs and overhung heads - I probably am by the time this is published. To celebrate this festive period, I'm going to look back on my favourite blog posts from the last year.

Like any "definitive" ranking of such a subjective subject, you need to take this list with a certain pinch of salt. Nevertheless, this list has had a lot of views and I hope has provided a bit of a useful resource to introduce people to a potentially quite knotty subject. It was certainly an interesting exercise to pull together.

Elements of this need updating - Alfred Sargent of course are gone, though Paul Sargent are filling a bit of the void, and Foster & Sons are now largely defunct as a RTW operation but are still producing bespoke shoes under the Maxwell name.

I'd like to make a follow-up next year with a ranking of European makers across Italy, France, Spain. Might be fun.

A really enjoyable article to put together - this article compared in depth a pair of Yeossal shoes with a pair of Edward Green Dovers which were... well, charitably, we could say Yeossal took a lot of "inspiration" from EG's Dover on the Thompson.

Particularly of interest is the fact that the Yeossal model had a lot of features that are competitive or even superior to the EG Dover - they are hand welted, with a far more attractive and modern sole finish, and generally a presentation that is more inline with what the modern iGent would consider "luxury".

So while the EG still took the overall victory, it was not a runaway one, and given that EG cost twice as much as Yeossal I think it bears some consideration.

A bit of a plea from one shoe hoarder to others - fundamentally, don't fill your house up with shoes that you never wear.

Or do, if you have the space - I mean, it's your house, do what you want with it. But I am trying not to.

This was an attempt to drill into some of the reasons that we hold on to shoes that we never wear. Why even have shoes that you never wear because they are too nice, or don't fit quite right?

A subject very close to my heart - buying second-hand bespoke is a minefield of things that can go wrong, so this is an attempt to call out some of the easily avoided errors.

It's not an efficient or frankly sensible way of building a shoe collection, but if you run a blog mostly about men's shoes it can be illuminating. As a window into a world of shoes far outside my budget when bought at retail, I find it really interesting.

The companies involved can be relatively opaque otherwise - their clientele and output don't tend to have a lot of online visibility when compared to more in vogue makers.

The rare quintuple comparison post, this was a look at 5 pairs of shoes that, to the untrained eye, may appear very similar. What can really be that different with the basic captoe Oxford model, and how do different makers approach things? Well, a fair amount it turns out.

So those are my favourite posts - hopefully I'll see you again this time next year for another bunch.

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