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Wallabees....

johnniegold

Moderator Emeritus
You know them. You love them. You hate them. I don’t really know if I fall so far to the left or right of this iconic shoe. But I do know this... I like them (well... almost).

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I can’t find a picture of James Dean or Steve McQueen wearing them as readily as I can find photos of each of those “Kings of Cool” wearing a pair of Jack Purcell’s by Converse.

(But they did advertise in Playboy 😉).
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So I guess the Wallabee isn’t “ultra-cool”. But that’s ok because neither am I. 😀

I wore Wallabees in high school. Wore them out to the point I actually wrapped tape around it to keep together.

But these days the silhouette of the true Wallabees by Clark’s, for some reason, isn’t totally pleasing to my eye. I can’t really put my finger on it. Was it that I was missing the tape? I don’t think so. 🤔🙄

Was it because McQueen wasn’t wearing them while flying through the air on his Husqvarna 400 Cross in “On Any Sunday”? Nah. Too dangerous anyway. 🤔😳

Maybe my time has passed for me to enjoy this type of shoe.

Until now...

I came across this version of the Wallabee by the Italian shoemakers, Velasca. Their version of the Wallabee, the Barbee, caught me eye.

For some reason, the silhouette of this shoe seems just a tad more refined. The shoe seemed a bit more substantial (or at least it appears that way in the photos on their website.) 7FAC7C7F-6A1C-4AAF-89DA-655D8DE7857D.jpeg
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I received an email this morning saying that my size was back in stock and with 20% off, I figured the time was right.

Also, I had emailed them awhile back about sizing and they were very helpful and prompt in their response.

So we shall soon see if the the Barbee (in beige) is the “new” Wallabee for me. 😎
 
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JWCowboy

Probably not Al Bundy
Contributor
I remember my older brother wearing them. They were popular when he was in high school in the late 70s, early 80s. Seems like all his coworkers at the neighborhood grocery store had a pair. By the time I was of age their popularity had waned, and all the kids were wearing the Buck Seudes or Sebago boat shoes.

Then, about 30 years later when I was in grad school, a classmate/good friend who was quite the stereotypical southern gentleman preppy, (you know, the kind of guy who wears seersucker pants to the UGA or Ole Miss tailgate, the kind who wears a bow tie to our white coat ceremony) had a pair. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised that they made a comeback.

The Velasca version looks nice, but I still think you should rock the OG's from Clark!
 
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johnniegold

Moderator Emeritus
Jeez, I just received a text that these have shipped from Milan, Italy.

Velasca doesn’t mess around. 👍
 
The Velasca version definitely looks like a major step up in style. The Clarks look OK but I couldn't imagine adding them to my already bloated shoe collection. The Velasca however - hopefully they DON'T make a wide! They don't - I'm off the hook.
 

johnniegold

Moderator Emeritus
The Velasca version definitely looks like a major step up in style.
I agree. I like the look of the styling of the vamp of the Barbee more than the Clark’s Wallabee. But I think what sold me is the way upper sits upon, what Velasca calls, their “Para” rubber sole. The outsole extends out just a bit from the upper giving it a “heftier” look resembling a shoe with a Goodyear welt construction, hence that more substantial look I was referring to.

On the other hand, the upper on the Clark’s “spills over” their crepe sole giving it, IMO, an awkward look.

The Clarks look OK but I couldn't imagine adding them to my already bloated shoe collection.
I agree about adding more shoes (or sneakers for that matter 🙄😀) but with thoughts of the spring season dancing around in my head, I thought these shoes would make a nice addition for the spring season.

After these arrive the only shoes I would “need” to round out my already “bloated” collection would be a pair of:

1. Double monks (the Harrogate model offered by Crockett and Jones has been in my cross-hairs for many moons now.)

2. Chelsea boots (thinking Sid Mashburn’s brown calf.)

3. Horse-bit loafers (looking at the offerings at Oakstreet Bootmakers.)

4. Any Alden whiskey shell Cordovan shoe that I can get my hands on.

5. The Alden 405 Indy boot.

6. The Alden Chukka boot in Snuff suede.

After I add those, I think I’m good to go. 🙄

Hey... a guy can dream, can’t he? 😎

If Mrs. Gold saw my “wishlist” I think she would say: 😡🤬

But... she’s still adorable. 😀
 

Rhody

I'm a Lumberjack.
I’ve had enough trouble with the lack of quality in clarks shoes that is a deal breaker for me. I think this is a cool and classic look. I like the pics of the new version but over the years I’ve looked at them tried them wanted to like them etc but they just don’t click on me. Also I am uncomfortable and can’t get used to the two holes for a tie shoe. I never feel there’s adequate support.
I remember my massively over weight jr female high history teacher wore them every day. That’s an image that always popped up in the con column of my ledger. 😂
 
I’ve had enough trouble with the lack of quality in clarks shoes that is a deal breaker for me. I think this is a cool and classic look. I like the pics of the new version but over the years I’ve looked at them tried them wanted to like them etc but they just don’t click on me. Also I am uncomfortable and can’t get used to the two holes for a tie shoe. I never feel there’s adequate support.
I remember my massively over weight jr female high history teacher wore them every day. That’s an image that always popped up in the con column of my ledger. 😂
This is me and how I feel about Clark's, in general
 
After I add those, I think I’m good to go. 🙄
What about a pair of wholecuts? Looks like that list would pretty much wrap up a collection.

Much as I dislike the look of double (or single for that matter) monks, I feel that I really should try a pair sometime. Having fairly wide feet has saved me from potential buyer's remorse more than once. Unfortunately, it has also ruled out Aldens except for the rare occasions when they run a wide. Even then they usually need aggressive stretching which is not the best thing to do to a hand lasted shoe.
 

johnniegold

Moderator Emeritus
What about a pair of wholecuts? Looks like that list would pretty much wrap up a collection.
A wholecut shoe is certainly a more elegant (if not, formal) type of shoe and I do like them.

As can be seen by “wishlist”, my tastes are moving more towards a more casual shoe/boot.

I have a closet full of balmorals, bluchers and wingtips that don’t get as much use as they used to. Don’t know if wholecuts would get the call all that much these days.
 

Doc4

Stumpy in cold weather
Moderator Emeritus
I came across this version of the Wallabee by the Italian shoemakers, Velasca. Their version of the Wallabee, the Barbee, caught me eye.

For some reason, the silhouette of this shoe seems just a tad more refined. The shoe seemed a bit more substantial (or at least it appears that way in the photos on their website.)
@Marco will be glad to know that the Italian version strikes you as more stylish and more substantial ...
 

Marco

B&B's Man in Italy
Ambassador
@Marco will be glad to know that the Italian version strikes you as more stylish and more substantial ...
Undoubtedly, I'm glad to hear!

Velasca is a very solid Italian brand, entirely hand-made here in Italy by skilled artisans. Materials are excellent. Prices are reasonable and honest. Furthermore, most models take inspiration from the great classics, especially those coming from the United Kingdom.
 

tankerjohn

A little poofier than I prefer
An acquired taste for sure. My preferred esthetic runs more towards CDBs, but I can appreciate the idea behind the Wallabee. Like the CDB, it remains a good value for a low cut boot with decent leather and distinct style.

I do like your Italian version there. Sort of a moc toe boot with a little extra swagger.
 

johnniegold

Moderator Emeritus
Thank you, @Marco.

I just re-read your excellent essay about Velasca. Overall, Velasca seems to get good reviews. I also read a lengthy thread about them on Styleforum which is mostly positive with some discussion about some GC issues that one of the owners, Enrico Caserti, responded to directly.

As with any product, the old adage that “you get what you pay for” I’m sure is applicable.

The shoes that I ordered cost just under $200. That’s not nearly the $500 (approx.) one would spend if purchasing a similarly-designed, Tyrolean-type shoe, like Paraboot’s “Michael” shoe like the one shown here...
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For that price, one would expect/demand a very high-quality made shoe.

The Barbee by Velasca is slightly more expensive than Clark’s Wallabees by approximately $40 but as I indicated above, Wallabees are not as aesthetically pleasing to my eye and as several members here have stated, the QC of the Wallabee has declined.

So paying a bit more for a shoe that is more pleasing to my eye and hopefully is a bit higher in quality is, IMO, worth a few dollars more.

The Barbee is a very casual shoe to be worn with jeans or khakis and (hopefully) are comfortable enough for some extensive walking around both town and country.

Now... what are your thoughts on the Italian-made Greenflex Desert Boot by Astorflex? 😀

They have been on my radar. 😎
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@Doc4

(... we are really putting “B&B’s Man in Italy” to work.)

:thumbup1:
 
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