I was leafing through an old copy of Esquire magazine - March 1946 if you’re interested - (that's it above) and there amid the many ads for stylish hats and ready-mixed cocktails were a number of ads for shoes. By far the best was this one for British Walkers. Those British types know all about walking, y’know. And in fact I do own a pair of brogues that look very much like this.
Now I enjoy walking more than many people, but even I think this ad is going a bit far. “Naturally walking’s fun!” it announces in the small print, and the shoes provide “Just the walking joy you’ve always longed for.” Isn’t this overselling the product just a tad? Could any pair of shoes actually live up to this hype?
But whether they could or not you’d surely want them to look their best and fortunately there’s another relevant ad, this one for Hollywood Bootmakers Stain Polish – I think I’d go for the “Redwood.” Who wouldn’t want the soft glow of richly polished leather? Those Hollywood types know all about looking good, y’know.
So between Britain and Hollywood, it might seem that these ads were talking directly to me (had I been born in 1946, which I was not). But then, reading the smaller print I see that British Walkers shoes are made in the USA, by JP Smith of Chicago, and that the Hollywood Polish Company is based in Richmond Hill, New York. Still working out whether this is shameful fakery, or just the way the world works (or, of course, both).