True shoe aficionados focus on something which layman never pays any attention to. Heel nails are definitely a great example expressing aesthetical innovation and brand identification.
The bottom of a heel block mostly consists of a piece of leather and a small piece of rubber, both glued to the upper layers. To make sure the connection is sound even when the glue looses its function, nails are hammered.
For full rubber sole, such as Allen Edmonds shoes, nails are not utilized although they still can be.
Seeing and summarizing, below are the interesting categories.
The most seen and popular choice. Descended from most British shoe brands, most dress shoe brands around the world take it for granted.
But current John Lobb abandoned this finely arranged nails to use more loosely pattern.
J.M.Weston uses the exactly same pattern as John Lobb.
Handgrade collection from Crockett & Jones, I feel the execution is perfect, the line is straight, the distance between nails is consistent.
Benchgrade from Crockett & Jones (Peal & Co is produced by Crockett & Jones), the size of nails decreases and the distance larger.
Cheaney, at the same level with Crockett & Jones benchgrade, make all points almost identical.
Church’s which you can read Cheaney presents the same pattern.
Sons of Henrey from Belgium is closer to Crockett & Jones Handgrade.
Maybe Alden shoes are very rough and ill produced, but its heel follows English tradition.
J.FitzPatrick is clearly cutting corner at the heel block, and nails are much bigger and distance hugely away.
Carlos Santos sees J.FitzPatrick as its best friend.
Quite few example in this category, Edward Green is the best.
Although the line is broken up, the nails are big, no bad feeling to anyone, still regarded as one of the finest design.
Current John Lobb, the feeling is simply lowering the cost. bad taste in the mouth.
Comparing to its artful forefoot, the copper nails of Paolo Scafora are too normal and boring.
Nail size is quite small and only presented at four corners, Gaziano & Girling shows elegance along with its beveled waist.
John Lobb bespoke, push the boundary with even less nails and more edge closing position.
Saint Crispin’s use 5 nails to form a L shape and square the heel.
Rozsnyai from Hungary uses 3 nails to frame. Even the rubber part is decorated with big, strong nails.
Jack Erwin, an entry level brand from US, express great taste on heel.
Three in A Triangle
It can be put into Intermittent or scattered, but this three in a triangle pattern of Maftei Vienna gives a unique aesthetical feeling.
Vass utilizes the same pattern with small nails, the feeling is not as good as Maftei.
One of the kind. When John Lobb used its iconic rubber part of the heel, no matches in the world. there is not too much room for nails.
A special edition of Carmina from nowhere, the nails are hammered by a drunken man probably, hope he did not hurt himself.
The nails may lose its functional value as glue becomes better and lasts longer, but its aesthetical value skyrockets, every brand should pay attention.