The Heddels Shop is growing fast and it was important to us to secure an affordable, well-made footwear option for you, our dear customers, and readers! After considering many of the usual suspects, we remembered our love of Solovair, the English footwear brand that kept the original Northamptonshire factory used by Dr. Martens alive after that much larger brand moved its production overseas.
While quality at D.M. dropped off precipitously with the change of production locale and materials, Solovair kept on making high-quality Goodyear-welted shoes and boots. For our first foray with the legendary shoe-maker, we went with two classic styles in two essential leathers. The Gibson shoe is probably the most iconic, the three-eyelet derby shoe with a chunky silhouette and a surprisingly comfortable sole. The Astronaut boot is a six-inch boot with a durable, but not-too-heavy leather upper that goes with just about anything.
Unlike their mass-market competitor, the iconic stitch around the upper isn’t just for show on Solovair’s shoes. That’s the essential stitch that binds it to its smoky, partially transparent rubber sole. And while Docs are notoriously difficult to break-in, we’ve had no such problem with our Solovairs, especially our matte black leather called “Greasy Black,” which begins to mold to the foot and ankle right away! But if you want a little bit of a challenge (but nothing too difficult) try the Hi-Shine option, which really has that classic look you come to think of from the brand.