Edward Green Chelsea Captoe Oxford review
While trawling through old eBay photos I came across these Edward Green Chelsea Oxfords. Long since sold sadly - I've written about them previously here in relation to a number of captoe Oxfords from other makers but thought that, given the pedigree of the maker and the popularity of the model, it seemed worth having its own brief write-up.
The Chelsea accomplishes something that many of the best Edward Green designs do, and it's a quality that's hard to imitate but you just know when it's there: properness. The proportions are just right. The length of the toecap is neither exaggerated nor stubby; the curve of the vamp facing and the slight tapering of eyelet width towards the top of the shoe is just so.
These are on the 202 last - the description from Edward Green describes this as "softly curved, classically English. Particularly accommodating of wider feet."
The back view is extremely neat. Note the T-shaped reinforcement at the top of the heel, rather than a more usual "dog tail" seam overlapping one side. A small touch but one that maintains a very quiet sense of symmetry.
The distinguishing feature for a lot of Edward Green leathers are their burnished toecaps and heels. This burgundy pair are a welcome alternative to the usual dark browns and blacks you may expect from the traditional Oxford. The side shot here shows the heel burnishing effectively - this kind of burnishing has the effect of adding "depth" to an otherwise flat looking colour.
The Chelsea is a very understated shoe. Really the only decorative feature is the "swan-neck" stitch that curves in before running up alongside the eyelets. It doesn't sound much, but compare it to an Oxford with just a straight stitch (or none at all) and you can see that it adds just enough to the pattern without introducing a busy feeling.
The swan-neck is a single row of stitching as opposed to the double row stitching at the toecaps and vamp - the double stitching is still very fine and neat, but the double row does provide a slight visual emphasis on the shoe's separate panels and components.
The Chelsea currently retails for £965, though regular eBay browsing can obtain a pair for about 40% of that price. I'd highly recommend them if you get the chance.