05 September 2011

Focus on Shoes - Putting Your Best Foot Forward

A man's feet are like the girders supporting a bridge. They are an integral piece of the human body that must be respected and protected. A great deal can be learned about a man from the keen observation of his choices in shoes. The right pair affords a man both strength and protection. Without proper footwear, even Atlas could not support the weight of the world.

A bespoke shoe can be worn with pride, knowing that it has been made to support every idiosyncratic angle of one's own foot. The cordwainer's trained hands give you entree to generations of gentlemanly culture, from the carving of the last to the selection of the finest materials, the application of hundreds of steps of leather work and stitchery, down to the presentation and final fitting of the personalized end product. If you can only afford this experience once in a lifetime, the cost, time and effort are well worth it and repaid ten-fold in comfort and quality.

Below is a photograph of HRH Prince Charles of Wales touring the facilities of John Lobb, observing shoemaking history in the collection of lasts.

For those who would like to take in the John Lobb experience before committing to the bespoke process, below is a gorgeous John Lobb ready-to-wear shoe, the William II Boot.

For those interested in high end shoes from the United States, a great choice is shoemaker George Esquivel. Mr. Esquivel's custom shoes generally run from $800.00 to $4,000.00 USD with his ready to wear line between $500.00 and $1,000.00 USD.

Below are examples of Mr. Esquivel's handiwork.                                     www.esquivelshoes.com

Like a peacock's colorful plumage, certain shoes make a bold, graphic statement for the modern dandy... "I am here". A man's powerful expression of self confidence and non-conformity while retaining decorum and style.

The above shoe is from designer Giacomo Morelli's Giacomorelli Shoe line. This shoe exhibits characteristics reminiscent of fashion of the 18th century. These shoes are available here.

 Below is a pair of snakeskin shoes from Fratelli Borgioli.

Next is a pair of antique finish Teak colored shoes from Salvatore Ferragamo, the Farese 2 lace-ups. A tasteful statement shoe, I must say. Available here.

Below, gorgeous peacock blue lace ups from Lanvin.

Lanvin's incredibly talented designer, Lucas Ossendrijver, surrounded by a wall of shoes.

In certain situations, a more rugged aesthetic is called for. Whether chopping wood at the lodge in preparation for cooler weather, surveying your vines in the vineyard, or traversing the landscape of Williamsburg, Brooklyn - these boots will do the trick. 

Meanwhile, let the smell of the leather inspire you to take in a glass of Lagrein from the Alto Adige.

Below, Saddle Oxford inspired boots from Billy Reid. Southern charm at its refined best. Available here.

Above, an excellent desert-island pair of Alexander McQueen boots that look both well-worn, tough and immaculate all at once. Below, the man himself. Attending the McQueen show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art was a highlight, the five hour long line an astonishing tribute to the man's genius. Rest in peace, dear Sir.

Now, some reinterpreted classics for today's man. Beneath, a photograph of talented shoe designer Mr. Hare walking the brisk streets of London sporting a note-perfect outfit for the birth of fall.

A great example of Mr. Hare's handiwork, a modern interpretation of the saddle shoe, 'Zukies'. Are you ready for this?

Below, the 'Dorney' from Church & Co. Inimitable British style with a tiny hint of crimson to keep you perfectly on trend. Fine handiwork.

A pair of must-have laceless wingtip Oxfords from Florsheim by Duckie Brown.  A most desirable honey color for a most desirable pair of classic shoes.

Below, perfect shoes for those compulsory black-tie events that come up every season. Look sharp, gentlemen. The Ferragamo clan have done it again.

Menswear designer Thom Browne looking sharp in crisp black and white. Below, Mr. Browne's superb black boots for Moncler Gamme Bleu with his signature red white and blue accents. The man can seemingly do no wrong.

Time to relax and take it easy. Time to take off the dress shoes and move into some more leisurely attire.

These shoes from Creative Recreation will do the job just fine. 'Turino'. Spartan, modernist and affordable. Available here.

Below, two twists on the classic basketball shoe from PF Flyers. Tasteful pops of color to complete your outdoor attire.

Next, the Prada Grip-Strap shoe in black for fall. Properly understated. Thanks, Miuccia.

In celebration of one of history's ultimate men's men, this delightful blue shoe from Clae is named for famed deep sea explorer Jacques Cousteau. This brash reimagination of the classic boat shoe brings a bit of well needed levity to the seas.

What are your favorite shoes for the fall season?

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