The Art Of Colors
Welcome to this week’s special Review of Altan Bottier Shoes.
Specifically, I will be taking an in-depth look at a wonderful pair of Norwegian Stitched Wholecuts in Patina.
Join me as we talk about all aspects of this shoe and it’s value in the current shoe market.
Are you equally as excited as I am?!
Before I get into the actual Review and History of Altan Bottier, I wanted to tell you about today’s pair.
First of all, having the opportunity to Review Altan Bottier Shoes helps me complete the puzzle of French Shoemakers.
Most importantly, this blog is a hobby with educational purposes.
Having almost 60 pairs of shoes means that I do this for the pure joy of shoemaking and exploring new brands.
So when I reached out to Altan Bottier last week, I kindly asked them if they can provide a pair for a Review.
I will not be keeping this wonderful pair of shoes and will send them back afterwards.
This also helps me keep a non-biased, honest approach to my Reviews as I have no connection or benefit from this collaboration.
I want to kindly thank Altan Bottier for trusting me with these shoes before I send them back!
Who Is Altan Bottier?
Despite their rising popularity in recent times, Altan Bottier has decades of shoemaking experience.
Born in Konya (Turkey), Sukru Sensozlu began training to become a bootmaker young just like all great shoemakers.
After apprenticing with Bespoke specialists in Paris, he created his own brand in 1973.
The name of the brand was Altan Bottier (Bootmaker/Shoemaker) and named after Sukru’s son, Altan.
It was not only until 1998 where the first real RTW Collections began and shifted from the exclusive Bespoke offerings.
Altan’s popularity has risen dramatically over the past few years and that’s mainly due to the quality and unique style of their shoes.
Ranging from Blake, to Goodyear and Norwegian Stitched Shoes, Altan Bottier makes shoes using great workshops around Europe.
Their strongest point is of course the in-house, custom and exclusive patina work which is extremely popular.
Not only that, but they have some absolutely breathtaking exotic leather models, such as their Ultimate Chelsea Boots in Hippo Patina.
This is of course just a brief introduction to the brand and the people behind it.
Maybe when I finally return to Paris I will be able to interview Altan and visit his workshop!
Here are the specifications of today’s wholecut oxford:
- Brand: Altan Bottier Paris
- Model: Roc
- Style: Wholecut Oxford
- Patina: Autumn Leaves
- Leather: Raw Vegetable Tanned
- Source: Italy
- Construction: Norwegian
- Last: Stratos
- Sole: Leather
- Heel: 30mm
- Lining: Leather
- Made In: Italy
- Price: €1250/$1300
As you see there’s a lot to unpack here, so we will try to do that in detail in the following sections!
Unboxing & Delivery
After communication with Altan Bottier, they shipped the shoes with DHL to me.
As expected, DHL Express is superfast and it took only 1 business day from France to Italy.
Everything was in a custom cardboard box with an easy opening and the shoebox fit snug in there.
The box itself has a nice sort of maroon color and is very sturdy with a quite deep lid.
Inside everything is really neat and the shoes come already in the shoe bags.
The shoe bags have the same tint as the box and are quite simple but functional from what seems to be cotton.
It’s not the most luxurious unboxing experience at this price point, but nothing that would personally bother me.
I already had an idea of how the model looks after my discussions with Altan.
However it is always a great moment to unbox and unveil a new pair for the first time.
Especially when it has all the components of the type of shoes you (I) love.
My favorite shoes in the world include a Norwegian Stitch and patinas.
And the Roc by Altan Bottier is a wholecut oxford, which already is a very elegant shoe style.
For the uninitiated, a wholecut oxford is made from a single piece of leather stitched with a single seam.
There is even a more advanced model called a seamless wholecut which has no seams and needs to be perfectly cut to match the shoe during lasting.
In France they often refer to the wholecut as one-cut even.
A few things caught my eyes immediately but overall I must admit it was a striking pair of shoes.
The patina was vibrant, the Norwegian stitch prominent and reminiscent of my favorite Italian brand and the leather looked nice.
I think that at this price point you are making a conscious choice of styling so you would only feel satisfaction when unboxing it.
Since this is a pair that I cannot keep, wear and analyze in time I cannot make many comments about its leather quality.
I heard from some people that it’s great and supple, while others mentioned it creased more heavily.
A fact I found a bit confusing is that on the product page it says that the leather is French Calf but during my talks with Altan he said it’s raw vegetable tanned Italian leather.
I am not sure if there was a mistranslation or just a website mistake, but it doesn’t really matter at the end.
It is definitely a crust type of calf since that’s what you usually apply the patina on.
The shoes came also with a relatively high shine and glossier feel.
Talking about feeling, the leather itself is extremely supple and pleasant to touch.
When I run my fingers all over it it feels buttery and slightly waxy.
The coloring also feels a bit more natural and less like the multiple layers of Septieme Largeur for example.
From my (new) shoemaking experience and working with leather the combination of leather and lining feels a bit thicker and more like the vegetable tanned ones.
I could be wrong but it’s actually really lovely to hold and a great part of the shoe.
Then again, all I can think about is how it would be to last this leather by hand as each one has different properties!
Honestly, given that Altan Bottier has a great reputation about patinas and exotic leathers, I would expect you to be happy with the leather quality.
If you have positive or negative experiences with it please let me know in the comments!
I absolutely adore the Norwegian Construction and its variables.
There’s a lot of them with different names and unique features but for the average consumer it’s the chain stitched construction between the uppers and the sole of the shoe.
Very interestingly enough, as I am typing these lines I am learning the Norwegian Construction at the Stefano Bemer Bespoke School.
In the Norwegian Construction you fold the uppers outwards instead of inwards and it has a reputation for being a strong, waterproof style.
For many people it’s considered bulky or unattractive maybe and I probably thought the same when I started my journey.
However with time you can learn to appreciate the beauty and handmade process that goes into it.
Depending on how far it runs, it can be 180°, 270° or 360° but often abbreviated as Half or Full-Norwegian in Italy.
Speaking about Italy, this construction is a very Italian tradition and to be fair it looked instantly familiar.
To my eye it looked like the work of Paolo Scafora and the shoes are made in Napoli so that would be my guess.
Whether that’s true or not, it means that the construction has a very high standard of quality.
If I am not mistaken, under the chain stitch you can also see a welt that is also folded outwards.
It does give it a more noticeable appearance but it’s a good job.
One thing I noticed was some glue around the thread, but after closer inspection it just looks like wax or resin.
Update: I should’ve known better but Altan Bottier confirmed that the construction is from someone else in Napoli.
The Patina Work
Looking at the shoes indoors they look quite uniform in color.
However it’s outside where they really shine.
When I took them for a photoshoot today, the color changed and showed different shades and hues depending on the lighting or shade.
This particular patina bears the name “Autumn Leaves” so it’s only appropriate I took it to the park.
Look closely and there are a lot of different colors in this patina.
There’s a definite shade of olive green, with hints of blue or teal and brown.
The patina work is really nice and seamlessly blends in.
It’s definitely not their best or most extravagant work, but it’s certainly good.
In fact, the picture above is one of my favorites in recent times as it perfectly showcases what a patina is.
Sole & Stitching
This is a wholecut oxford so the only stitch you will see is literally the backseam and around the laces.
Everything looks nice and tidy with only a few minor inconsistencies in the stitching.
We already talked about the welt so I will move on to the sole instead.
Unless you are Stephane Jimenez of course but that’s a whole different game.
This means that the outsole will look bigger and this is really visible on the heel block.
However I think it still manages to look aesthetically pleasing and beautiful as a result.
The sole has a closed channel stitch which they hide pretty well and is only visible under certain light conditions.
Overall it’s a pretty good, tidy job and everything you should expect at this price point.
Lining & Shoe Trees
I always dedicate a small section to the interior parts of the shoe and the shoe trees.
The lining has a darker black color with a full insole.
Now that I know how people trim the lining I can gauge better the job in those areas.
This one is pretty good and only a couple of sections are a bit uneven in height and sharpness.
The hollowed shoe trees are excellent, functional and lightweight and appear to be lasted.
For such a high end shoe I always recommend getting the appropriate shoe trees.
Update: Altan Bottier confirmed that the shoe trees are lasted and made in France.
The Stratos Last
Hearing the word “Stratos” reminds of two things.
My native Greek word that means “army” or the legendary Lancia Stratos car.
Not sure what the inspiration was behind this shoe and last, however it is very elegant and so was the Lancia Stratos.
This last has a very soft square shape with emphasis on the soft.
It also has a nice low profile with very structured sides and a quick drop at the front.
It is only at the tip where it starts to become a little rounder.
Thinking about the shape of the last, it’s quite appropriate to this shoe.
I would also say it’s not too elongated or pointy, but just right.
My guess is you are going to really like it.
Since this is a pair that I cannot really wear or use, it is hard to give sizing advice.
This model is a UK 7.5 and I usually wear UK 8 (US 9D) in normal lasts.
However according to the Altan Bottier webpage they tend to run larger than usual.
I have great experience with trying shoes carefully so I put them on just to get a feel.
It confirmed my suspicions that they run large but also surprised me in a way.
But what surprised me is how short it was at the front as my toes were almost touching the front.
It was not uncomfortable or bothersome, but many people expect to have some space there.
For the little time that I had them on, the shoes were extremely comfortable.
As always, make sure to reach out to the respective retailer and ask about the sizing in detail.
How To Style These?
This is another quite vague question where the answer will always be “it depends”.
The reason for that is that the patina will be custom and different so you might not choose this green one.
Also because this is quite a bolder looking shoe, it does take some confidence to wear.
Luckily this is a rather versatile color that will match well with light, mid or darker colors.
Don’t be afraid to mix and match and try to make them the focal point of your outfit (or not!).
Generally treat them as a regular pair of wholecut oxfords and you should be fine.
The Roc by Altan Bottier will set you back about 1250 Euros ($1300) and it’s a fair price considering the handmade nature of the shoe.
It also has a custom hand-painted patina on top of all this.
Altan Bottier sells their shoes exclusively through their website and selected retail locations in Paris.
If you are in the city of lights, I certainly recommend taking a look!
They also come with great endorsements by my friends Justin Fitzpatrick and Hugo Jacomet.
And here is the Review in Video Format and 4K Resolution!
This Norwegian Wholecut Oxford by Altan Bottier is a great shoe.
Its only disadvantage is that it has to compete with very serious players at those price points.
For a little more, you can get shoes from Paolo Scafora or Antonio Meccariello for example.
However it still retains its authenticity and French identity and blends it with excellent quality.
I think that if you decide to invest in a pair of Altan Bottier you will be happy not only with the shoes but also with the great service.
Personally I certainly look forward to one day exploring more of their ranges and especially their exotics.
Let me know what you think about Altan Bottier in the comments!
I will see you next week with something new and amazing.
Thank you for reading,