There is nothing quite like the thrill of not just wearing something exclusive but wearing something you know has been crafted especially for you. Over the last few years, handcrafted footwear has become part of bespoke parlance. After all, what can replace a pair of customised, statement-making shoes in the skin, colour, width, softness, fabric, stitching that makes you never want to take them off.
Some of the designers who have taken bespoke men’s footwear to new heights are Santoni, Joseph Cheaney, Grenson and Oliver Sweeney.
Santoni shoes spell quality, craftsmanship and perfection. With a creative emphasis on stylistic evolution, Santoni have transformed this craft into an art form. Today their shoes are a blend of design, form, processes, experience and culture that has expanded from a male ‘shoe cobbler connoisseur’ to encompass women, children and accessories.
English shoemaker Joseph Cheaney and Sons was established in Northamptonshire in 1886. For more than a century, their shoes have been handcrafted in their original factory, right from the cutting of the leather to stitching and polishing. From classic like the timeless oxfords and brogue shoes to their Contemporary range to their Country and Leisure range including loafers and boots and their luxurious Imperial range crafted from the finest leathers, oak bark in-channel soles and hand-painted fiddle waists.
Northamptonshire county is known as ‘the home of the English shoemaker’s art’. This is also where William Green, who learned to handcraft boots from his mother set up William Green & Son in 1866. It morphed into Grenson in 1913. Among its many pioneering achievements, the company introduced the Grens-In Sole to provide soft underfoot flexibility. Grenson boasts the ability to innovate with design and materials to stay relevant and modern while also retaining the shoemaking heritage and craftsmanship.
Founded in Britain in 1989, Oliver Sweeney shoes are designed around ‘Anatomical Last’: a clever tool created by Oliver Sweeney’s founder. Based on extensive research, this tool mimics the shape of the foot and its movement to provides an outstanding shoe fit. With a factory in the Italian Marche region, their designs are contemporary British with a flash of Mediterranean flair.
Image Courtesy: Santoni