Shoe named for Greensboro on sale again
Especially his Nettleton split toe tasseled loafers, a shoe named after Greensboro and coveted by men living in the city and beyond during the late 1950s and 1960s.
Garrison always kept his loafers covered in shoe bags. He had two pair: black ones he wore to work and a pair of tan ones he reserved for special occasions.
Until about a year ago, that is. The president of Nettleton, the company that made The Greensboro shoe famous, asked to use Garrison’s shoes to remake the loafer.
Buffaloe said yes. And this week, The Greensboro went on sale again, bringing back a flood of memories to the men who owned them.
“This shoe goes back a lon air max 2015 g time,” said Gordon Turner of Gordon’s Menswear, which debuted the shoe during a trunk show Thursday. The show continues today at the Lawndale Drive shop.
To understand the sentiment that surrounds the Greensboro Nettleton, you’ve got to take a trip to another time. At Christmas, walking downtown was like walking down Fifth Avenue in New York City.
“It was the mecca,” said Turner, who was working at The Hub at that air max 2015 time. “Not only that, everybody from a 50 mile radius had to come to Greensboro to shop.”
It was also a time when shoe companies leased space inside departmen air max 2015 t stores.
“That was the way all the big company shoe stores could get into men’s specialty stores,” he said.
Nettleton sold its shoes in Younts DeBoe on Elm Street, what Turner called “one of the most elite stores in the Carolinas.” One shoe, a split toe, tasseled loafer, became so popular among Greensboro men that Nettleton dubbed it The Greensboro.
“We named all of our shoes,” said Nettleton’s owner, Ed Tognoni. “And we named them based on the image that they portrayed, or that we were trying to capture in the design of the product.”
The image that The Greensboro portrayed was that of the North Carolina gentleman who dressed well, Tognoni said. Men from high school age to adulthood wore them, he air max 2015 said.
“It was such a popular shoe back then,” Tognoni said.
They came in various colors: black, tan, navy even red, white and blue.
“They would make anything,” Turner said. Tognoni was named president in 1974 and bought the company two years later.
He sold it in the mid 2000s, but later bought the company back. It’s now based in Coral Gables, Fla. And he decided about a year ago to bring back The Greensboro, but only if he could make the shoe the same way so many Greensboro men had known and loved it.
The company used Garrison’s tan Greensboros which had never been resoled and were in excellent condition to make a new batch of the shoe.
Turner recalled the shoes’ earliest price at $22.95, but he said they cost $39.95 at the height of their popularity, pretty expensive during a time when a man could buy a dress shirt for $5 and a tie for $1.50.
High school boys mowed a lot of lawns and baled a lot of hay to afford them, Richard Sisk said.
“Every high school kid in Greensboro . had at least one pair,” said Sisk, a retired teacher who owns five pairs.
Guys, prepare to pull a little more money from your wallets if you’re planning to treat yourself to a new pair of Greensboros now. The cost could run you as much as $800.
But forget the price for the moment. Tognoni said the shoe is the finest product possible and is made the old school way, something he expects the Greensboro market will appreciate.
Nettleton took no shortcuts with The Greensboro, Tognoni said. They are made of aniline calf leather. Nettleton is one of only three shoe manufacturers using this particular grade of soft, well tanned leather, he said. The outsoles have a wear factor 40 to 50 percent greater than others on the market, he said. And the shoes are hand finished.