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We made unbeatable shoes
Small-batch Spyplane slappers, crafted in Helsinki by the tasteful pros at Tarvas
What’s up!! For the next hour, today’s full email is only available to our “beautiful & blessed” Cla$$ified SpyFriends.
After that it’ll go out to our public list and unlock online…
Late last summer we heard from our homie Jukka at Tarvas Footwear, a cool Finnish brand whose flagship jawn is a very sick hiking / walking shoe called the Explorer. We’d written about Tarvas during Spyplane Year One and Jukka hit us up back then to introduce himself. But NOW he was coming thru with an intriguing proposal:
DID BLACKBIRD SPYPLANE WANT TO LINK & BUILD ON A PAIR OF SHOES??
This was exciting, not only because we’re fans of Tarvas but because we’re fans of other elite jawn-world figures Tarvas has invited to collaborate with them — most prominently Engineered Garments and C’H’C’M’.
Tarvas’s factory is in Helsinki, where Jukka had a bunch of cool materials on hand. If any of these struck us as popping, he explained, we could SERVE Spy Nation some rare unisex footwear. He sent us pics of the materials in question, most of which were high-quality leathers — we are not a vegan sletter, but we do try our best to respect the sanctity of cuties’ lives, so we asked if he had any non-animal options we could peep. He rummaged around and sent a bunch more swatches…
Our eyes immediately went to a highly characterful deadstock patinated THICK canvas swatch (above), with mad FLAVOR, a NUBBY texture, and a perfect TAN TONE. What the f**k was this beauty??
Jukka filled us in: “We bought that roll from a storage room of a local shoe factory that went bankrupt in 2018,” he explained. “It looks like canvas, and has quite a ‘hemp’-like feel to it. The backside has a soft padding, approximately 2mm, so I can imagine it feeling comfy when worn as a shoe.”
🐝🐝 OH & ONE OTHER THING 🐝🐝, Jukka said: “It is not water-repellent, but how cool would it be if we massaged beeswax on it to make it naturally waterproof?”
It would be mad cool. Erin and I decided we could use that beeswaxed deadstock canvas for the upper, and then put some of Jukka’s Italian hairy suede and Italian veg-tan leather cuttings to good use as trim and lining respectively!
On an Italian natural-rubber sole… with recycled polyester laces…
With a FAT BLACK Italian rubberized-canvas “mud guard” wrapped handsomely and durably around the whole s**t!!
Jukka told us “sano vähemmän” (Finnish for “say less”) and threw together a rough mock-up (above) at the Helsinki stu … It was clear that the final result was gonna be big gas. G*D D*MN OUR CHOICES WERE EXQUISITE.
Tarvas made a sample pair in size 11 US mens ( ⚠️📏 FYI I’m an 11 US in Nike and a 10.5 in New Balance and Salomon, and the size 11 Explorer fits me great 📏⚠️ ) & Jukka emailed over video of himself with a heat gun, setting the beeswax:
This is truly “lovingly crafted artisan footwear” on a level rarely encountered.
The sample touched down at Spyplane HQ last fall and I took them out to the MF post office AND on a local nature walk … These babies looked good as f**k … they were SOFT and SPRINGY … and I was very happy that every time I rocked them, a different Mach 3+ friend would ask me, “Doggy what R those sick shoes??” TRUE STORY.
When February rolled around and I vowed to wear ONE OUTFIT for the whole month, there was no question which shoes were gonna get me thru the challenge — these handsome, neutral-colored, comfortable, unbeatably multi-purpose walking / hiking / chilling gems!
After a few months of extensive Spyplane Field Testing we reported back to Jukka: “RUN ‘EM UP.”
Today we are very proud to share these SLAPPERS with Spy Nation. To recap they are:
made in Helsinki from
thick deadstock beeswax-massaged canvas
with Italian gray hairy suede trim,
super soft Italian veg-tan lining,
a textured Italian rubberized-canvas “mud guard,” and a bouncy Italian natural-rubber sole, with recycled polyester laces…
They cost $290 a pair, and they’re highly “limited edition” in the sense that there’s just one roll of this fantastic canvas sitting at the factory in Helsinki and when it’s gone that’s that!
🐝 From now till 8 a.m. PT / 11 a.m. ET these are only available to our Cla$$ified subscribers. The window to place an order closes this coming Sunday. 🐝
UPDATE: 5:10 p.m. PT 4/28 — Sold Out! Wow, we were not expecting these to go that fast. Thanks everyone!!
SpyFriend Access Passcode: BEESWAXEXPLORER
P🌻E🌻A🌻C🌻E🌻 — Jonah & Erin
Our profound essay archive is HERE, our interview archive is HERE, the SpyTalk chat room is HERE, the Blackbird SpyMall is HERE, and the Master Jawn Index — our guide to earth’s slappingest s**t — is HERE.