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You can often judge a man by the type of shoes he wears, for a well-polished shoe speaks volumes. As they say, a pair of good shoes brings you to great places. Meanwhile at the workshops, shoemakers work tirelessly to perfect their craft, right down to the very last stitch. From Oxfords and brogues, to Derbys and monkstraps, we bring you four highly sought-after shoemakers.
The Alessandro lace-up court shoe is part of what Berluti calls their Emblematics. Created by founder Alessandro Berluti in 1895, the minimal classic has changed very little since. Crafted from a single piece of leather with nary a stitch in sight, the revered French house proclaims this to be an essential in the modern man’s wardrobe. The original version in Venezia leather is hard to beat, but should you fancy, the brand has a wide array of materials and patinas for your picking.
2. George Cleverley
This quintessentially English brand was started by its eponymous founder, after he spent 38 years training at a high society shoemaker in London. It’s a firm celebrity favourite, having shod the likes of David Beckham and The Rolling Stone’s Charlie Watts. A special series of oxfords were designed for the Colin Firth-led film Kingsman, exclusively available from Mr Porter. To make a subtle statement, consider the Anthony leather oxford brogues, also a Mr Porter exclusive.
3. John Lobb
John Lobb may have been named official bootmaker to the Prince of Wales in 1863, but it’s making a strong case for monkstraps with its William leather series. Considering that a pair of shoes goes through 190 steps to completion, shoe care is deemed a necessity. John Lobb’s unique partnership with luxury hotels will be a boon to the jet-setting fans of the English brand. Butlers in London’s The Connaught and Hong Kong’s Mandarin Oriental have been personally trained and certified by John Lobb to provide shoe-shining services on a bespoke chair specifically for leather polishing, created by Rena Dumas Architecture Intérieure.
4. Masaru Okuyama
After honing his craft under the tutelage of renowned Japanese shoe craftsman Chihiro Yamaguchi, bespoke shoemaker Masaru Okuyama started his workshop in 2008 and in two years, went on to win the gold medal in the custom-made shoes category of Inter-Schuh-Service, a German international shoemakers competition. Currently based in Hong Kong, Okuyama only makes a single pair from an entire cowhide instead of the usual four or five, which means that only the finest part of hide is used.