Photography: Michail Androulidakis
Editor: Katerina Theocharis
If Mr. Churchill, Mr. Gary Cooper, and several Rothschilds were to find themselves under one roof a few stark values would probably bond them: pride, dedication, good humor and their appreciation of fine handmade shoes.
Going bespoke is indeed an art, especially when it comes to elegant, masculine shoes designed for strolling across city pavements, polished floors, gentlemen’s clubs, antique rugs, or the best restaurants in town. If you are reading this over the rim of your glasses. I’m certain I’ve caught your attention, so here are 5 good reasons why you should own a pair of handmade shoes.
Quality at its Best
Cobbling apprentices can train for years to even get the shot at testing their skills on an actual pair, which means exceptional know-how and unrivaled quality.
Nothing beats the comfort, quality, and durability of handmade shoes. A bespoke pair is made of leather in different stages of refinement. The material is supple and won’t crack or split over a long period of time as it happens with poor quality machine-made footwear. They age beautifully gaining a smooth patina (let’s say they take after their wearers) and breathe right, allowing for proper foot hygiene.
In handmaking bespoke shoes, the finish is key.
The skiving (cutting the leather in the “closing” stage) the toe puff (the stiffener that lines and maintains the shape of the toe box), sewing in the welt, putting the sole on, the stitching and the finishing (making the shoe more attractive) are all done by hand. This has handmade shoes stand miles apart from the pairs one finds in the mass emporium.
Although ordering a pair of handmade shoes has a lot to do with the foundation and the good last I’d be remiss not to mention one of the bespoke shoemaking’s greatest advantages, namely their customization facility. From shoe detailing that suits one’s mood, the colors, the types of leather and texture (suede, crocodile, snakeskin, woven, etc), to perforation, heel type, and height, shape, the style just to mention a few, each silhouette can be as unique as its commissioner.
The English put it best in their adage “I’m not rich enough to buy cheap”.
Few things can beat the durability of finely welted handmade shoes, and the machine is not one of them. Cobbler masters will pay tremendous attention to the craftsmanship and the high quality of their raw materials. A finely crafted bespoke pair will grow with us and with some extra good care we won’t even have to bid its stability farewell.
The comfort fame precedes a pair of handmade shoes, and for a very good reason.
Always crafting according to the wearer’s needs and measures a master cobbler will take into consideration any possible foot shape and sizing, the arch, the instep, even condition, like flatfootedness or other. Handmade shoe makers allow the shoes to rest between crafting stages which results in superior fit. And if you’ve been suffering from bunions or Plantar fasciitis bespoke pair will resolve any issues.
3 Pro-Tips Aspiring Handmade Shoe Commissioners
- If you already wish to start buying handmade shoes your first buy should gravitate around a timeless, easy to style pair. A black pair is hardly the first you should own, as black pairs are not eligible for any look and can’t be styled with casuals. Instead, go for a pair of derbies or oxfords in dark brown.
- Eccentric bespoke pairs may look so Instagram friendly, but if you’re not stocked on essentials a non-traditional handmade pair will be unreasonable and a waste of money.
- Shoes are considered to be the foundation of an outfit. Therefore a gent should go for brushed and polished footwear to nail a sharp and flawless look. Quality leather shoes are an investment piece, and we should put some effort to keep them looking pristine and ensure their longevity in wear. Leather shoes are organic objects and must be cared for properly.
My latest asset?
A Single Monk Strap in chocolate brown and two drops of the burgundy base, crafted by master cobbler Kwnstantinos Theofanides.
I wished to own a pair that’s easy to combine and works wonders with my well-tailored suits and casual looks, even with denim. I went for delicate lining, which gives the shoes a great contour, which the artisan evinced the best possible way.
I am convinced the pair will help me beat the heat in A-list style.