You can’t beat a cracking pair of new shoes. Whether it be smart brogues or a pair of lightweight summer loafers, there’s something very satisfying in doning your new clogs for their first step out. In the past I never use to be that clued up on what constituted decent footwear.
During my early to mid 20’s I would run my footwear into the ground; the stitching would be giving way, the leather soles hanging off and standing on the back of my shoes in order to take them off didn’t help. Why after owning shoes for a matter of months were they literally falling always apart at they seams? I know British Winters are wet but surely my sneaks should be holding up better than this? The answer was quite simple, they were cheap rubbish!
Over recent years I’ve concluded that you really do get what you pay for when it comes to hard wearing, durable men’s shoes. So with this in mind, I’ve put together a selection of 6 must have men’s shoes In 2014.
1. Grenson – Archie Brogue
Grenson are one of the UK’s most distinguished and established shoe makers. Quality and durability is pretty much guaranteed when you purchase a pair of Grensons. The company was set up by one man named William Green way back in 1835 and has gone on to sell a range of high quality footwear globally. All Grenson shoes are ‘Goodyear welted’ is a time consuming method of construction that follows various stages before finally to creating the finished item.
This lengthy process which can take up to 3 weeks leads to the shoe last longer than any other and means it can be re-soled multiple times. Therefore, you really do get what you pay for! The Archie Brogue is one of Grenson’s classic hard wearing shoes that looks the absolute business!
2. Sander: Bruno Gibson Brogue
I think we’ve established early on here that I like a Brogue. Similar to Grenson, established UK footwear designer Sanders have some stunning brogues to offer this summer. Sanders have been making shoes since the late 1800’s and also adopt the ‘Goodyear Welt’ technique when constructing their footwear. Sanders remain in the same factory they’ve been for one hundred year in Rushden, Northamptonshire and have a philosophy of creating durable, elegant shoes of the highest quality.
My pick of their current collection is the Bruno Gibson Brogue in Bottle Green. The Bruno Gibson is constructed with a supple leather upper, a classic wingtip punch hole design and finished off with a soft leather lining for a seriously comfortable shoe.
3. Burberry Prorsum – Crepe Sole Suede Shoes
Thought UK brand Burberry were just about men’s designer clothing? Think again! After reviewing Burberry’s Prorsum collection in my article on the blog last week, I really have fallen in love with these Crepe Sole Suede Shoes. These are perfect summer shoes, crafted from textured suede and featuring a distinctive crepe sole with the sown Burberry Prorsum emblem. The lace up features a classic raised seam detail and soft leather lining. These beauties are available in a range of bold colours, but this deep blue is my pick by far.
4. Church’s Loafers – Keats Ii Burgundy Polished Binder
I don’t own a pair of Church’s, but I wish i did. Another product of Northampton a UK town swathed in shoe making history (Grensons and Sanders both originate from the town). Church’s shoes date way back to 1673, with handcraft Goodyear construction techniques key to Church’s reputation for quality. My pick of the bunch (and what a superb bunch to choose from) are the Keats Ii Polished Binder Loafers in Burgundy. Very special indeed!
5. Jeffrey West: Bonham – ‘Confused’ Wing Gibson Navy Calf
There’s certainly element of flair associated with a pair of Jeffery West’s. Yes, they use the same thorough, intricate construction techniques as all the other shoes featured so far in this article. However, Jeffrey West shoes have something a little bit extra special. The shoes they produce have pedigree, flair and character in abundance and a victorian gothic influence that runs through all their collection. My winner is the Bonham ‘Confused’ Wing Gibson Shoe. The burnished navy calf leather against the red laces looks ace and the ‘Do What Thou Wilt’ sole design is about as original and individual as you can get. A true boss amongst shoes!
6. Stemar: Mix Toecap Derby Shoe
Now I couldn’t have must have shoes top six, without an classic Italian design on the list. Azzuri shoe maker Stemar have been around since the late 1960s when and were establish by the Moreschi Family. The brand has always stood for quality, luxury and timeless footwear. My choice from their superb 2014 collection is the Mixed Toecap Derby Shoe. The Derby shoe has a superb contrasting suede upper with leather toecap and has been hand crafted with the finest Italian construction techniques. A superb contemporary dress shoe with great understated, original features.