this thing's incredible

Artist Chase Hall Has Over 50 Pairs of Mephistos

Photo: Clément Pascal

I worked for the filmmaker and artist Grear Patterson in 2014, and he swore by Mephistos. He told me it was the shoe Steven Spielberg wore for decades, and that etched its provenance in my brain. The mix of quiet elegance, hard work, honor, and quality intrigued me. Something built by hand in France or Portugal seemed to me a great response to fast fashion and hype culture.

So I got my first pair in 2014. I am not going to out myself with a specific number I have now, as I am an obsessive collector of things that inspire me or that I care deeply for, but it’s well over 50. The first, a black-colored pair, was from the Mephisto store uptown — I wanted the purchase to represent a moment in my coming of self and hard work. I knew then I wanted to get every color at some point. Though after the first few I started to look for them secondhand online, anything in size 13. The price is pretty steep, but buying them on eBay or alternative websites is a way to find them for a lot less. I’d then send them to the Mephisto headquarters for repairs. It used to be about $50 for the full repair but recently they upped it to about $200 — so that upcycling scheme I had been running came to a screeching halt. (One lifehack, though, is when buying shoes secondhand, look at the sole. It’s like mileage on an engine. If the sole design is intact, then the shoe is lightly worn, if at all.) Now I have every color they offer and then some more rare duo- or tritone ones. The worst part is, I will even buy ones I know I will never wear, or ones not even in my size, just to put on a shelf like a tchotchke or to give to a friend or family as a gift. We all have to feed our spirit somehow.

I am on my feet over 16 hours a day, and I would say the Mephisto Match offers a tough-love type of support, not a gushy plastic type of support. It’s a sturdy, reliable, durable shoe. Like a saddle that molds to your body as it’s worn. It’s like a hard mattress or a nice car. Whereas Nike, Asics, Adidas are more like a soft mattress or a more consumer-friendly car.

I am a firm believer in the uniform mentality. When I wake up, I put on a white T-shirt with a button-up or a sweater, jeans or slacks, and my Mephistos. I work in them, skate in them, photograph in them, dress up in them. Even though Mephistos have become a bit mainstream in the last few years, I still love them. They’re the ones I keep returning to. I believe in the Hardworking Grandpa archetype, a high-low mix.

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Artist Chase Hall Has Over 50 Pairs of Mephistos