Footprint Leather Shoulder Straps

“Darling.. before we get married there’s something I need to tell you.” My wife-to-be froze for a few seconds and then moved to the sofa on the other side of the living room. She eyed me suspiciously before nervously encouraging me to continue. “Errm.. well.. I have a leather fetish!!” Her eyes now looked threatening so I continued quickly: “Yes, planners, wallets, camera cases, straps, portfolios, you name it, I love it!! Mulberry English leather, indestructible American Filson goodness, Luigi’s Italian half cases, I just can’t get enough of them!!” I blurted. My wife, now visibly more relaxed, smiled sweetly, approached me, kissed me and closed my eBay account. Now sellers all over the world can’t understand for the life of them why a woman needs eight men’s wallets.

Yesterday my new Luigi Half Case arrived and I reviewed it here. Today a strap arrived that I was beginning to think would be surplus to requirements as Luigi’s cases come bundled with a beautiful strap and shoulder pad. My only gripe with Luigi’s strap is that it could be a tad longer. It’s about 40 inches long and sits just proud of where I’d ideally like it to sit, which is with the top of the X100’s dial in line with the middle of the belt on my trousers when the strap is worn diagonally from right shoulder to left hip. Knowing this, I’d ordered the Footprint bridle leather strap in 45 inch length and that turned out to be pretty much spot on for my 5′ 11″ frame.

FOOTPRINT LEATHER SHOULDER STRAP

Footprint is run by an amiable English gentleman by the name of Clive Goff. When ordering the strap I decided to give him a call as I usually do when ordering handmade bespoke items such as this. With Luigi’s chocolate half case on it’s way I wanted to make sure the strap would either match or compliment it. Clive advised me to go for the Dark Havana strap with matching stitching and I have to say he was spot on. It works very well with Luigi’s case and for all intense and purposes you might well think they were a matching set.

FOOTPRINT LEATHER SHOULDER STRAP

One concern I did have was whether this strap could be used with Luigi’s spare batter and SD card case. The Footprint strap is much chunkier and at 3/8 of an inch wide it’s narrower, too. I needn’t have worried as the fastener on Luigi’s case works so well that it moulded around the new strap beautifully and hung there like a Koala Bear with Rigamortis.

FOOTPRINT LEATHER SHOULDER STRAP

Luigi’s strap utilises a leather flap that sits between the camera body and the case and thereby avoids any damage to the camera. Footprint’s straps use a small rubber O ring, instead, that you place over the lug of the camera and then attach the strap. That O ring serves the exact same purposes as Luigi’s leather flaps, albeit it in a slightly cruder form. I was a tad worried that the case would not fasten over those O rings but I needn’t have been: the strap retainers snapped firmly closed and the little ring is then held firmly in place between the case and camera body. There is now absolutely no way any hardware can come even close to causing any damage as you now have double protection! Not a bad thing if you’re an active or over-enthusiastic photographer.

FOOTPRINT LEATHER SHOULDER STRAP

One thing that can annoy even the most placid photographer is a tangled shoulder strap. One of Footprint’s straps  incorporates a swivel attachment that allows the strap to turn a constant 360 degrees in any direction so righting any tangles is a breeze and doesn’t require a sit down and a cigarette afterwards.

FOOTPRINT LEATHER SHOULDER STRAP

The waxed thread used on this strap seems strong, very strong and it looks like in terms of durability it should keep up with the rest of the strap.

FOOTPRINT LEATHER SHOULDER STRAP

If you’ve ever ridden a horse this strap will feel familiar in your hands. The 3/8″ bridle leather is substantial yet flexible and it will just get better with age.

FOOTPRINT LEATHER SHOULDER STRAP

But isn’t this just a Gordy strap that’s made in England, I hear you screech? Well, certainly the design mimics the Gordy strap closely but the leather used and it’s dimensions are different. I haven’t had the pleasure of owning a Gordy strap but I have heard very good things about them but if they are better quality than the Footprint strap it would be difficult to see where and how as there’s not much you could improve on this strap. It’s made from robust English bridle leather that will last forever and then some, it’s beautifully bound with as good a thread as you’re likely to find and the hardware is well attached and good quality. At the end of the day if you’re going to choose between the two it’s probably down to aesthetics (which style you prefer), price and geographical location. It’s easier for someone in the US to purchase the Gordy strap. For anyone in the UK or Europe, however, the Footprint strap is probably the way to go.

So, will I be using Footprint’s Havana swivel strap or Luigi’s soft leather strap with shoulder pad? Well, the FujiFilm X100 is not a heavy camera so a shoulder pad is over-kill at best. I also prefer 45 inch over 40 inch and the swivel attachment of the Footprint strap makes it a far more practical strap. Sooo, I’m afraid Luigi’s strap will sit in my drawer until they are no longer made, at which point I can whip out my mint condition one and make my fortune on the ‘bay.. and on the X100 my Footprint will stay!! (Did I just write poetry?)

The 45 inch swivel version in Dark Havana costs £32.98 including UK domestic shipping via First Class Recorded. That translates to roughly $52 USDs at today’s exchange rate. For my money, that’s good value for a strap that will undoubtedly serve both yourself and your offspring for a lifetime and then some.

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