Grampa KISS shoos

The Shooman

A Pretty Face
A special edition post for the forum here.
A basic story for the history archives.

It has been said by some bespoke shoemakers that Silvano Lattanzi uses the highest quality of leather of any shoemaker today, it is because he invested a lot of money into buying the entire stock of vintage leather when Pebody in England shut down in 1991. None of the leathers the bespoke cordwainers around the world use today compares to it; not John Lobb Paris, not anyone according to a bespoke maker who has travelled the world and met many of the world's top bespoke makers and worked with some of them. Lattanzi knew the opportunity and spent the money that few bespoke cordwainers would have been able to afford. He still has a supply of the leather. His ethics for shoemaking are outstanding, and it seems to be that the quality of leather now isn't suitable to make the really great shoes.

The cows/calf grow quickly because they are fed additives that make them grow fast, however the faster the cow/calf grows the poorer the leather quality; that is why calf leather from the Swiss Alps and French Alps is some of the best - the calves grow slower in the colder weather, none-the-less the leather is nothing like it was in the 1940's. Hillary at Edward Green told me that even in the 1950's the cordwainers were saying the leather was poor quality. Eventhough Lattanzi leather is outstanding, it is still not as good as the old leather on some of the vintage shoes

So lets talk about Gramp KISS. His shoes are probably the best quality shoes in the world today with a leather even better than Lattanzi. Why? He used an old quality of leather not seen for many years. It's the type of calfskin that doesn't even need moisturizing or polishing, it is just high quality and tough as tough. Vass uses some of the highest quality calf, and they apparently pay more for their calf than most shoemakers because they insist on the best materials, and Vass wholecuts use better leather than some bespoke makers. Yet Grampa Kiss leathers are far superior. Indeed Grampa Kiss shoes are made to last forever when cared for, that's how good the leather is.

His shoes come from a different world. Grampa Kiss was born not long after 1900, and his old teacher was born in the 1800's, and he was taught the ancient wood pegging techniques as the main construction. Most of Grampa Kiss's shoes are hand welted with wood pegged soles (a common construction in the 1800's for luxury shoes). Grampa Kiss also did the hand stitched shoes which are even better because of the higher integrity of the construction.

I was lucky the poster Walker (Fritzl) sold me numerous pairs. Just as amazing was when he used his clout to bring the legendary Kalman Berta to make shoe trees by hand to fit into the Kiss shoes. Few people in the world make shoe trees by hand anymore, yet l had one of the great masters make me 3 pairs of masterpieces.

Most people never appreciated the Grampa Kiss shoes on the forums because the style was really old school and Austrian, but some people did realise what they had. They could be the greatest shoes in the world today with one of the greatest legends in tree making do his part in forming a formidable combination. There will never be anything like that again. It is history. To celebrate Grampa Kiss l am wearing his shoes today. One of my pairs is a bit too wide, so l am going to ask my shoemaker to re-last it and stitch it back together.

Today's Grampa KISS in `bandaid tan'.
Kiss shoe 3.jpg

Kiss shoe 2.jpg

a Kalman Berta masterpiece carved all by hand to individually fit into my shoe.
Kiss - mine 8.jpg

One of the rare Grampa KISS stitched shoes in REAL pebblegrain in a REAL traditional reddish/orange colour. It's nothing like the stuff you get today. What a stunner!
Kiss shoe 4.jpg

Another Grampa KISS masterpiece, but this time a BIG Daddy in black pebblegrain. You don't see shoos like that these days, check out the pattern and the pebblegrain.
Kiss brogues.jpg

Who is Grampa Kiss? I will show his picture and talk about him next.

Doctor Watson

Any close ups of the leather? Pics of them worn? Looking forward to hearing more about GK. And do you know if Walker/Fritzl is OK?

Sammy Ambrose

Well-Known Member
I knew a Steve Kiss (pronounced Keesh) in London in the early 70s. He was seriously into shoes and spoke about shoemaker relatives in Hungary.


Created the finest posts in internet forum history
Any close ups of the leather? Pics of them worn? Looking forward to hearing more about GK. And do you know if Walker/Fritzl is OK?
I'll take some pics of my Grandpa Kiss boots when I next get a chance. Fritzl is fine. He just got his scooter tricked out with upgrades and has been zooming around.
Top Bottom