Whenever I talk about the design work of Eponymous Trenchmouth, there’s a not insignificant risk that I’ll end up going on and on–ad infinitum, to infinity and beyond–about the quality of workmanship, the attention to detail, the elegance and creativity in design. I suppose that kind of evangelical fervor can be surprising to some, particularly in this context. Sometimes I get the vibe that people are looking at me funny behind my back and thinking, What’s gotten into him? It’s just shoes, right?
Wrong. Epo’s shoes are always meticulously planned exercises in form, function and beauty, executed masterfully, with painstaking care taken over every aspect of design and execution. It’s a passion beyond the norm. Some might call this Obsession.
I call it Art.
Whether Obsession or Art, I’m all in favor. Epo’s newly released artistic obsession (obsessive art?) is called “Toltec,” and it earns its name honestly by virtue of the clear influences of Mesoamerican decorative artwork. Epo has not attempted to create shoes that a Mayan or Aztec warrior would wear–it’s nothing that straightforward. Rather, he has drawn inspiration from Toltec art, taking certain design elements, integrating them in stylized form into the shoe’s form, and using them to beautiful effect. Notice the rounded, almost scalloped leatherwork that runs from just above the toe to the top of the instep. Here you see the Clay/Olive variation, which is probably my personal favorite; you can also choose from Black/Red and Brown/Lizard.
Also new is “Sebastian,” which makes use of the same last (upper form) but is finished very differently. Here we find a variation on the classic brogue or wingtip shoe, with artistically perforated leather that for most men today provides ventilation rather than drainage. The shoestrings have shiny metal aglets–a nice touch. Shown here in Colonel Mustard, “Sebastian” is also available in Carmine Red, Coal Black, Chalk White, Olive Drab and Midnight Blue.
The underlying “bones” of these shoes are no less interesting than their decorative surface. I described “Sebastian” as a brogue “variation” due to its somewhat high rather than traditionally low heel. Both “Toltec” and “Sebastian” are classic stacked-heel shoes, with heels built up in layers of material, typically leather. A single small invisiprim keeps your foot from showing through the elevated arch. An integrated sculpty sock-textured “ankle” (above the shoe) dramatically improves the apparent fit–no more gaps around your tiny ankles and squashed, misshapen feet! You do need to wear the included matching socks for the best blend, which I suppose technically makes for a less flexible shoe. No points off for this, though, since the only good-looking dress socks I have were all included with shoes from JCS anyway.
Small, Medium and Large sizes are included with your purchase. Rather than fitting these to specific foot sizes, Epo recommends that you “choose the size that looks best with your build.” I agree wholeheartedly–crank your foot size down to zero (to avoid the dreaded show-through) and wear the shoe size that looks best on you. It is, after all, all about proportion.
An extra, optional right shoe in each size contains a “power walk” animation. This may come in handy if you don’t use an AO but can’t stand the default walk.
Permissions are No Modify / No Copy / Transfer. Both styles are priced at L$400; demos are available in the shop. Available for purchase now at JCS (Tean 244, 64, 26).