I have numerous bespoke shoes from the Warsaw shoemakers Tadeusz Januszkiewicz and Jan Kielman. The former has made me the better fitting shoes, whereas the latter has made me shoes with a perhaps slightly more flattering shape. Now I will test a new shoemaker: Benjamin Klemann in Hamburg, who according to my sources is the most recognized shoemaker in Germany. I hope he can unite excellent fit, proper construction, and charming style.
Klemann is one of supposedly three shoemakers in the world, who stock the famous Russian reindeer leathers from the Danish vessel “Catharina von Flensburg”. It sank outside Cornwall in 1786 on its way to Italy, and in 1973 it was discovered by divers from Plymouth. In the cargo the divers later found well-preserved reindeer hides, which had gone through a long and now forgotten tanning process in St. Petersburg, Russia. The story has since shrouded the leathers from Catharina in mystery. I have read mixed reports about them though. Some say they are prone to crack. Others praise their extraordinary patina. I will talk to Benjamin Klemann about the Russian reindeer leathers.
I will also ask him about different welting methods and expressions, for instance how he looks at double stich welting, storm welt, and the veldtschoen construction.
Another thing I will ask about is his view on the Budapest or Central European shoemaking tradition and the English shoemaking tradition. He has trained in both schools, and I guess something must differ, not only in styling but in construction methods and techniques as well.
In regards to the shoe model that I will order, I have a punched cap oxford in mind.
Stay tuned for more about Benjamin Klemann shoes …
Photos: Benjamin Klemann