Fairfax & Favor: Fill Your Boots


NICK HAMMOND enjoys the pleasure of grateful ‘plates of meat’ before, during and after a leisurely stroll around the gold-paved streets of London…

YOU know that feeling when something becomes an ‘instant classic’ in your wardrobe.

First crack out of the box, it’s great. Looks like and feels like you’ve had it for ever; you’re instantly on first name terms; you’ve shared memories; ran laughing through the spume on Hunstanton beach on a freezing January morning under a leaden sky. All that jazz.

That’s the feeling I have about my new boots.

Except that I wouldn’t submit the little darlings to the outrage of a sand and salt demise on a Norfolk seafront. They’re far too good for that.

The Trafalgar from Fairfax and Favor is my new best friend. I’ve worn them during that all-important post-shooting day, pre-shoot supper, quick-pint-in-the-local scenario, where they performed with sparkling elegance. Pulling them on after walking six miles in wellies, with a recalcitrant dog, a gunslip and a bag of cartridges you haven’t managed to shoot was pleasure unalloyed.

I’m not entirely sure on the specifics, but they’re incredibly comfortable. Yes, there’s the pleasing snugness of fit any well-made article of clothing should possess, but there’s also a magic in them thar heels too; a soft, springy cushioning that is simply a treat for the feet.

You may think I’m over-egging the pudding for the sake of currying favour (or should that be Favor) with the makers, but I’m giving you the full on, honest injun reporter’s notes here. If the boots were lacking, I’d tell you.

I’ve worn them out and about too, having conscientiously cleaned them of mud first, of course. They’re equally at home in the ‘burbs as they are out in the sticks and to be honest, I felt relieved that they weren’t about to get trashed. These are the Premier League of gents’ boots and the thought of covering them in mud and sploshing through puddles actually made me wince a little.

And so to Belgravia I strolled one lunchtime – because, perhaps for the first time, I really felt suitably attired to do so. I’m a country bumpkin at heart, so always tend to gloss over quite how many miles one schlepps when walking about town. In the past, I’ve limped home in agony with bleeding feet when the shoes which appeared to fit like a glove in the morning revealed their true flaws after a few miles of pavement pounding. I even now keep a stash of plasters in my pocket (currently Hello Kitty ones, raided from the kids’ emergency stash) in case the blisters appear to put a dampener on the day.

I can report that Hello Kitty was not needed this day, or any other since. I strolled insouciantly around the expensive smelling fleshpots of Belgravia, even spreading my bonhomie as far as crossing the threshold elegantly into Mayfair and parading – with, dare I say it, an alarming degree of savoir fair – into the heady heights of Covent Garden. There was nary a squeak of complaint from the Trafalgars, nor a tell-tale tightness around a crease or a chafed heel. They were as sweetly compliant as the first moment I slipped them – Cinderella-like, you can picture – on my dainty tootsies.

I think that’s an overlooked point when it comes to footwear. When I was little and handed my latest horrendous new pair of shoes which would result in at least a day of ribbing from schoolmates (‘New shoes, new shoes, red and pink and blue shoes’) I was always told I’d need to ‘wear them in.’ Why? Is it beyond the wit of man that a pair of shoes might actually fit when one first tries them on and not cripple one in the interminable interim period before they gave up the ghost and generally collapse around the feet like a balloon post pin-prick?

I’ve had incredibly expensive pairs of shoes or boots before that have been the devil to wear for months. Indeed, some have never budged an inch, requiring contraceptive use of Hello Kitty before a day’s play. It’s too much for a feeble-minded fellow to be expected to remember.

So, I sing the praises of Trafalgar to anyone who’ll listen. Yes, they cost a pretty penny, but by ‘eck, they’re worth it. Give your feet a treat and try a pair. They’ll thank you for it.

The Trafalgar Boot, £235 by Fairfax & Favor, available at www.fairfaxandfavor.com.