If there is one addiction that I can understand and sympathise with it's the shoe addiction that men have on Instagram. It is far more alluring than that held for watches because shoes are a very personal thing and far more influential than something as standardized as a gold wrist watch.
Yes it might cost more to own a Rolex Sky dweller, but it's even more of a luxury to have the time to get to know a shoe maker, establish a relationship, create a last and then design your own shoes. It is quite possibly the most indulgent art form since it requires, as I was told by a Sydneysider last weekend who was still waiting on a pair of Gaziano and Girling shoes 24 months later, a number of iterations to get right and most of all, patience.
Any man who just made a big chunk of money can find a fine watch dealer and put something on his wrist. Few have the time to travel and get to know a shoe maker of distinction.
The Robb Report's Michael Stahl recently asked me to start thinking about an article on bespoke and made to order shoes and in my initial hunt for makers I fell in love, again, with George Cleverley, the esteemed London shoe maker run by the Glasgow family and whose patrons are some of the most affluent, famous and revered names from across the globe. They are located in the Royal Arcade in London's Mayfair and still make shoes the old way, from the last up.
More will follow but in the interim, here are two shoes they finished recently. Particularly on the black shoes, note the stunning toe box for which they are famous for, a chiseled forward curve with a kind of boxy look that if it had been applied elsewhere might have inspired the perfect bonnet of a coupe sports car.
It is these kinds of small details that make those in the know, know. And if you asked a shoe or menswear enthusiast, he'd be able to spot an iconic shoe from 20 metres.
Yes, you can own a fancy watch and it sometimes it is a form of currency, but to my mind an iconic and/or custom made shoe trumps anything that ticks.
|Recent custom made work by George Cleverley, Mayfair, London|