The “Imperial” vs “Royal Imperial” distinction has always intrigued me. This catalog implies that the “hand finishing/polishing” of uppers is the only distinction, at least in circa 1969 times. Now, excuse my skeptical (cynical? )nature, but I kind of figured that, in later years, Florsheim pushed the “Royal” to assure the public that “the quality is still there” as they continued to fight loss of customers in the increasingly price-sensitive world market.
Your thoughts please, David…
In my opinion, the Royal Imperial shoes of the 1960s were slightly better than the 1960s Imperial shoes. The Royal Imperial shoes of the early 1990s tried to reestablish a quality product. Avoid the 1990s corrected leather Royal Imperials.
John, this style of shoe became very popular with youth in the early 1970’s in the UK. I don’t recall the Florsheim name but it was the Imperial on offer having 5 nails in the sole and the ‘suicide’ heel. Likely it was modified and re-badged for export. They were referred to as brogues, without the distinction of being ‘long wing’, a US rather than UK style, and were known as ‘Royals’. Burgundy was the preferred colour, as cherry red was with Doc Martens, and I doubt whether cordovan was on offer.
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