It's likely that you don't know what Padmore & Barnes is, or that it was ever gone. But for the few Irish-made Wallabee purists out there (sup, guys?) this is big news. HUGE news.
Here's a little backstory: For many years, beginning in 1967, Wallabees were made in Ireland at the Padmore & Barnes factory. They were made for Clarks, Supreme, Killah Shoe Co., United Arrows Japan and a grip of other shops and brands. P&B made more than just your standard issue Walter White Wallies—there was a Plaintoe, the Weaver, the Side-Lace and other versions of the crepe soled comfort shoes we've all come to know and love. If you know what you're looking for, it's possible to find a pair of vintage P&Bs on eBay or in a thrift shop. Otherwise, you're fucked. The Irish factory was shut down in 2003. All Wallabee production has since been done in China and Vietnam. A straight bummer, I know.
“The Chinese production of the Wallabee was really a copy and very little effort was made to recreate the original product,” P&B's general manager Frank Bryan told me in an interview for Sneeze Magazine a couple years back.
Well, guess what? They're back. Sources tell me that P&B is going back into production using original lasts and original materials. This is particularly good news because most of the complaints about the Asian-made Wallies had to do with the shape of the shoe and the quality of the leathers. Fret no more, Wallabee geeks. Soon, let's hope, you'll be able to get your hands on the real deal. There will be a multitude of styles rolled out—we were able to get our hands on a few early samples, but there will be others. There will also be a webshop. The Internet was a wee toddler when the last P&B shoe was made, so let's all make sure they get a warm welcome upon their return.
No word on dates or pricing for the actual release. Stay tuned.