An instant classic, and our best seller from the start, the George Split Toe Derby in Utah Grain. We'd love to share some details with you about how this shoe came to be, where we source the leather and why there is a months-long waiting list.

The split toe derby model presumably originates from Norway, where it was worn by fishermen. Fishermen needed a sturdy, water resistant shoe, which required a pattern with as few seams as possible. The original split toe derby would have had no heel counter and a skin stitched toe, leaving only a single stitch line at the back where water could potentially pass.

Our version, the George, takes a slightly different approach. There is the presence of a heel, and the vamp and upper pieces are stitched together in a raised manner. Together with the inside-out stitching of the toe, this balances the pattern and makes for a very striking shoe, especially in grained leather or suede. It is almost always built on our specifically designed Contemporary Almond last, which features a narrow heel and waist, medium instep height and medium width across the ball. It has a slightly finer toe and more symmetric shape, which makes it the ideal last for the split toe derby model.

The George featured here uses Utah calf leather, tanned only by the infamous Alsacian Tannerie Haas from France. Dating back to 1842, no less than 6 generations have honed the intricate art of leather tanning. Locally sourced hides, hand selected for the tightness of their grain, are vegetable tanned and stuffed with a mixture of no less than 9 different fats and oils. The resulting suppleness of he leather is what makes Utah calf so unique, and highly praised after by shoe enthusiasts. 

It should come as no surprise then, that there is a waiting list, and a long one at that. The fact that only the best hides are selected, and the time intensive tanning process, do not make it any easier. We do 4 production runs per year, and all of them almost completely sell out by the time the shoes hit the shelves.

If you're interested in owning a pair, the George Split Toe Derby in Ebony Utah grain is on permanent pre-order through this link:


October 06, 2021 — Sons Of Henrey

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