My housemate and I have spent the last 3 hours flicking through the internet looking at men’s shoes. I envy my housemate’s shoe collection and his box of shoe care products, my collection isn’t bad but it’s not even in the same league as his. I watched him polish his John Lobb Penny Loafers yesterday and decided then and there that it was time to step my shoe game up so I decided I’d compile a list of quality men’s shoe brands you should consider before purchasing your next pair.
Whilst the majority may seem slightly out of reach at the moment quality men’s shoes will last a lifetime if cared for properly (more on that to come). I often think people consider the purchase of shoes the same as they would the purchase of a mattress, they’re prepared to look for cheaper alternatives at the time but know that if they just purchased a better quality product it would last a lot longer. At the end of the day, your shoes are the foundation of your outfit and really do say a lot about the type of man you are. Quality and craftsmanship won’t go unnoticed and like a solid timepiece are appreciated by all men everywhere.
Simon Crompton from Permanent Style says this about buying shoes: “spend as much money as you can afford because you are buying value and longevity; and look after them well, because you will be rewarded in style and longevity”.
Here are the quality men’s shoe brands you need to know with our handy price indicator.
Alfred Sargent: $$$ Northamptonshire, England. Founded in 1899. Produce two lines: the more moderately priced ‘ready to wear’ Exclusive range and the AS ‘made to order’ Handgrade line. A very serious contender.
Carmina: $$ Majorca, Spain. Hailing from as late as 1866. Carmina is a shell cordovan specialist, this gives Carmina its primary claim to fame offering a number of unique colours. Huge in the current menswear scene.
Christian Kimber: $ Melbourne, Australia. British born designer Christian Kimber established his business in Melbourne in 2011. He specialises in chukka boots and tassel loafers, all shoes are available made to order and come in at a very accessible price!
Crockett & Jones: $$ Northamptonshire, England. Crockett & Jones sit above Church’s in my opinion, hence their inclusion in this list. Across their range of price points Crockett & Jones offer excellent build quality and represent excellent value for money, their bespoke service is also up there with the best in the business.
Edward Green: $$$ Northamptonshire, England. Edward Green is essentially the same quality and prestige as John Lobb however certainly less acknowledged. For this reason they are often preferred to Lobb as the more understated brand. Mostly handmade Edward Green is at the top of the spectrum.
Gaziano & Girling: $$$ Northamptonshire, England. Founded in 2006 by Tony Gaziano & Dean Girling both experience Northamptonshire shoemakers. Gaziano and Girling add some modern flair to traditional styles and are regarded as the best of the best in both their ready to wear collection and their bespoke service. Simon Crompton has written an awesome 5 part article for The Rake about getting a bespoke pair of G&G’s measured and made. Check it out here.
George Cleverly: $$$ London, England. In my eyes, it doesn’t come much better than George Cleverley (or Lobb). Completely handmade, often out of the storefront in the Royal Arcade in Bond Street in London, the Cleverley process pays a wonderful homage to the craftsmanship of shoemaking. Nick and Chris from Double Monk in Melbourne have invited George Glasgow Jr from GC to Australia for bespoke fittings on the 23/24th of August, head over to their Facebook page for more details but don’t expect much change from $5000. Check out the awesome video below.
John Lobb: $$$ Northampton, England. Just like Cleverley, Lobbs are going to set you back an astonishing amount of cash but they really are the Ferrari of shoes. Perhaps Ferrari is an understatement, maybe the Aston Martin One-77 of shoes, especially if you’re ordering bespoke which are made in their Paris workshop and require over 50 hours of work for each pair. Double Monk are the only retailer of John Lobb in Australia and will cost you around $1000. Next time you’re in Melbourne, treat yourself.
Meermin: $ Majorca, Spain. Arguably the best value and most accessible men’s shoe brand in the world right now. I’ve got a pair of Double Monk straps and am currently waiting for the arrival of a pair of Brown Calf Oxfords. Their Classic collection comes in at only 160 Euro and their more exclusive Shell Cordovan range comes in for around 260 Euro plus 40 Euro for shipping. I just can’t see another brand that is touching Meermin for this price and quality.
R.M. Williams: $$ Victoria, Australia. One of our most visited posts of all time pays homage to the versatility of the Reginald Murray William’s iconic leather boot. Their recent acquisition by LVMH has seen a host of new styles added but we like to keep it classic in the leather or suede Craftsman.
Vass: $$$ Hungary, Budapest. If exclusivity is what you desire, then Vass is for you. Vass produces an unbelievable range of styles with English and Italian heritage, they truly have a shoe to cater for all tastes. Unfortunately, cannot speak from experience as I haven’t been into the store but if you’re in Budapest it’s a must visit for any shoe lover.