Overview – Quoddy
So after doing the piece on Deck shoes (here), I thought I’d do a brief overview of Quoddy (and it is brief), so here goes:
One day, sometime in 1909 a man called Harry Smith Shorey decided to start making his own shoes in Downeast Maine and with this decision, the brand that is Quoddy was born.
The company is now based in Perry, Maine, on the shores of Passamaquoddy Bay. It’s a place that’s not only half-way to the North Pole but also as far east as you can travel in the continental USA. The company takes its name from this bay and also from the Passamaquoddy tribe of eastern Maine. A tribe that have an age old heritage of craftsmanship and a talent for making the hand sewn moccasins – the perfect piece of footwear for the harsh conditions inside the large woods and ever changing ocean of Maine.
The philosophy of Quoddy extends back to the time when handmade products were the norm and when product output was measured in tens, not the thousands of modern manufacturing. Although the shoes are made in a fully modernised factory, they still pass through many hands on their way around the factory and the shoes/boots are still all hand sewn. It’s that hand finishing and quality that’s testament to the individual craftsmanship that goes into making them and a massive reason for the appeal of this brand.
Because the employees are so hands-on in the making of Quoddy footwear, each piece is more than just mere ‘product’ they’re seen as “a singular reflection of their skill and experience as a shoemaker” (and this in itself is often a profession that has been passed on through the generations within the workers family, such is the age and stature of the company). The work ethic is pretty much unlike anything you’d find in mass production - if the shoe isn’t up to scratch, the shoemaker will cuts the threads and start all over again. They don’t throw things away, they don’t have seconds – they make it again until it’s right. Now that’s a company ethic I’d like to see more of. The company runs on the ethic of “Attention to detail and no shortcuts”.
The actual products are now icons. The most famous of all is undoubtedly the ‘Grizzly’ boot (shown above). This six eyelet moccasin boot with either leather or sheepskin lining, leather laces and rounded crepe sole is an institution, it’s as hard as nails and can cope with pretty much anything you can throw at it. It also happens to look seriously cool. Look out for the Heritage Research version that should be out soon (you can find the What I want on it here).
Then there’s the deck shoe, which of all of the versions of this style out there this is probably the one I like the most (or the one that I’d wear if I had too), they’re just such a simple, classic shape (in the deck, blucher and the Maliseet). The Albam versions with the moccasin sole from 2009 were great but even the standard white rubber soled version is pretty nice.
That leads on to its bigger brother and the one that I think is the best of the bunch, the Deck Chukka. This shoe has also been getting lots of attention recently, with the best collaboration without doubt coming from 3Sixteen and the stunning suede version that was out last year (if anyone has these in a UK7.5 get in touch as I really want a pair).
They just work so well and are perfect for summer. The use of the leather side trim further differentiates them from the standard version. The blue and black leather versions aren’t exactly shabby either though.
With the above products it’s easy to see why Quoddy are held in such high regard and continue to go from strength to strength. If you fancy a pair yourself then UK stockists are Albam (London), Oi Polloi (Manchester) and End (Newcastle). To find out more about the brand go here: Quoddy.