Ernest Hemingway shoes
Longtime Bozeman resident Patrick Hemingway tries on a pair of shoes inspired by his father, Ernest Hemingway, at Schnee's Boots and Shoes Friday evening. Schnee's is the first store in the country to sell the Ernest Hemingway.

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Patrick Hemingway, 82, walked into Schnee's Boots and Shoes on Main Street Friday night wearing a worn pair of H.S. Trask loafers and walked out wearing a new pair of shoes that bore his last name.

Schnee's is the first store in the nation to carry Thomas Raymond & Co.'s new Hemingway line of men's footwear, inspired by Patrick's father, author Ernest Hemingway.

"Hemingway was very fond of loafers," Patrick said. "A lot of celebrity endorsements are phony, but not in this case. Hemingway had a great sense of style. He especially loved leather boots from Madrid."

Thomas Raymond & Co. founders Chad Gombas and Gregg Jackson have been developing the line for the past year and a half, said vice president of sales, Jeff Gorham.

"Hemingway's name is just iconic," Gorham said. "It's a beckoning back to true Americana. He's both a real romantic and a man's man."

According to Gorham, Schnee's was "a natural fit" when it came to choosing a location to launch the line.

"(Schnee's president) John Edwards was an unbelievable partner. He had so many innovative ideas and was open to everything," Gorham said.

After being on display for only a few hours, Schnee's had already sold three pairs of the shoes, according to Schnee's manager Curt Smith.

"There was a definite void in the market for this kind of shoe," Smith said.

Patrick and his wife, Carol Hemingway, have lived in Bozeman since 1975. Their daughter, Mina Hemingway, and grandson, Steven Adams, also came out to see the shoes.

"There is nothing better than being fitted for a new pair of shoes," Patrick said.

Bozeman resident Bob Barbee stopped in to check out the new line.

"Schnee's is an institution in Bozeman," he said. "Between all my grandkids and family, I've probably bought over 125 pairs of shoes here."

The Hemingway shoes, priced between $150 and $235, are handmade in El Salvador using bison and calf hide.

Thomas Raymond & Co. has an initial batch of 30,000 pairs to distribute among 12 different retailers around the U.S. The full product launch is planned for fall of this year.

The Hemingway line is divided into angler, literary and sportsman collections, to reflect different aspects of the author's personality.

The company plans to expand their brand to cover different cultural icons. They are hoping to work on a women's collection next, possibly inspired by Audrey Hepburn or Alexander McQueen, Gorham said.

Patrick chose the black and brown moccasin-style loafers while his grandson Steven chose a pair of black moccasin "driving shoes."

"I love that you can wear these without socks. I hate socks. Hemingway hated socks too. Socks meant that summer was over and you were going back to school," Patrick said.

Samantha Booth can be reached at sbooth@dailychronicle.com

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