Town & Country (Philippines) - - STYLE SPY MEN - By Pierre A. Calasanz

The re­la­tion­ship isn’t ob­vi­ous, but there’s a his­tor­i­cal link be­tween the com­mon road tire and the trendy rub­ber boot from French out­door life­style brand Aigle. In 1844, af­ter years of ex­per­i­ment­ing with var­i­ous ma­te­ri­als and chem­i­cals, Charles Goodyear per­fected vul­can­iza­tion, a process by which nat­u­ral rub­ber ac­quired more strength, dura­bil­ity, and flex­i­bil­ity while elim­i­nat­ing its in­her­ent sticky, tacky feel. A few years later, a fel­low Amer­i­can by the name of Hi­ram Hutchin­son met Goodyear, and in 1850, ob­tained a li­cense to use the vul­can­iza­tion process. He wasn’t in­ter­ested in man­u­fac­tur­ing tires, though, he was in­ter­ested in mak­ing rub­ber boots; to this end, he founded Com­pag­nie du Caoutchouc Sou­ple in 1853, shortly af­ter mi­grat­ing to France. Among the com­pany’s first patented prod­ucts was a wa­ter­proof pro­tec­tive boot called A l’Aigle, which means “to the ea­gle,” an homage to the Amer­i­can ea­gle and clearly a nod to the founder’s roots. It was this boot that even­tu­ally gave the com­pany the name by which we know it to­day.

Hutchin­son’s orig­i­nal goal was to pro­vide France’s large ru­ral pop­u­la­tion, es­pe­cially its agri­cul­tural work­ers, safe and re­li­able footwear; in this as­pect he suc­ceeded be­yond all ex­pec­ta­tions. By some ac­counts, his fac­tory in Mon­tar­gis was pro­duc­ing nearly 14,000 pairs a day, all by hand. De­spite the mass pro­duc­tion, qual­ity has al­ways been im­por­tant to the com­pany. To this day, Aigle’s boot­mak­ers at the cur­rent fac­tory in Chateller­ault, France, un­dergo rig­or­ous train­ing, tak­ing up to two years to mas­ter the 60 steps re­quired to pro­duce a sin­gle boot. More than a hun­dred and sixty years on, Aigle is still best known for its sturdy yet com­fort­able boots (which have tran­scended their orig­i­nal pur­pose to be­come an un­ex­pected fash­ion sta­ple), but has also de­vel­oped a range of prod­ucts for sports and leisure in­clud­ing sneak­ers, hik­ing and hunt­ing boots, polo shirts, jack­ets, and parkas. Up­town Mall, Ayala Malls Ver­tis North, The Podium, SM Mall of Asia; 541.8730; @AiglePH on In­sta­gram.

SpLASh prooF clock­wise: the Aigle flag­ship store in up­town Mall; boots at the Aigle fac­tory; en­joy­ing the Aigle life­style; in­side the flag­ship; wa­ter­proof jacket and parka.

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