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The best way to buy a Brooks bicycle seat

If you’re the least bit uncertain about committing to a Brooks bicycle seat, there is one vendor out there made for you. It’s the Wallingford Bike Parts Company, in New Orleans. Unlike virtually every other Brooks vendor, Wallingford offers you a six-month unconditional guarantee of satisfaction. In other words, if you find that a Brooks…

The best bicycle seats on the planet: A factory tour

Anyone who knows bicycles knows Brooks—the legendary, iconic British company that has been making simple, old-fashioned leather bicycle saddles since 1882. In the ensuing years, many have tried to improve on these seats with new designs and new materials. Yet the consensus remains: Nothing can beat a Brooks, which celebrates the brand’s 150th anniversary this year. So of course we had to go see how these saddles get made.

Story by GRACE RUBENSTEIN and JAMES DALY
Photography by JAMES DALY
Videos by GRACE RUBENSTEIN

The Shinola Polish

In the 1960s, Shinola, the venerable American shoe-polish company that became famous for a World War II soldier’s crack, “You don’t know shit from Shinola,” shut its doors. The move was a fitting bookend to the golden age of American manufacturing. Then, in 2011, a Texas developer revived the name as a maker of watches, leather goods, and retro bicycles in the broken heart of downtown Detroit, where, the company says, “American is Made.” Is making things in America again that easy?

By LAURA FRASER

The Search For The Perfect Leather Bag

Boutiques selling hip shoulder bags seem to be all the rage these days. Some look rustic enough to take into the woods, some more suited to the streets of Manhattan. With all these offerings, how does an eager consumer judge quality? Herewith, a visit with four contrasting American leathercrafting shops. And a little story about Marv Obenauf, a former firefighter turned master artisan of leather dressings.

Story by TODD OPPENHEIMER
Photography by ROMAIN BLANQUART, SCOTT CHERNIS, SHAWN LINEHAN, and courtesy of L.P. STREIFEL

The High Art of the Mask

Many cultures have enjoyed the playful freedom that one feels after donning a mask. But no place has taken it to greater extremes, both elegant and diabolical, than Venice. A tour of the world of Venetian masks, and the annual Carnival mega-party they have inspired.

Story by ERLA ZWINGLE
Photography by RICCARDO ROITER RIGONI and ERLA ZWINGLE

The Soul of the Italian Shoe

In Venice, Italy, a city built for endless walking, a determined young woman named Daniela Ghezzo has mastered the rare art of simultaneously beautifying and comforting the human foot.

Story and photography by ERLA ZWINGLE

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