Putting your best foot forward in either your business or personal life is the key to success and, these days, beautiful footwear isn’t something solely reserved for the ladies. Gentlemen, too, are free to try on several pairs of nigh-perfect must-have luxury shoes in order to keep in step with the latest trends.
The truth is that modern society feeds off the aesthetic. The better dressed you are, the better treatment, service and respect you’ll command from everyone you encounter. Even though this might, at first glance, seem a little superficial, it has been the way of the world for centuries. Long ago, only royalty and the aristocracy could afford the very latest in fashionable footwear. Today, with a little hard work and a following wind, every man can enjoy the finer things in life.
It was Mark Twain who once famously said: “Clothes make the man. Naked people have little or no influence on society.” And this has never been truer. Dressing to impress, though, isn’t just about the clothes you wear. It’s also about the footwear you favour.
Indeed, a great pair of shoes can make your outfit really pop. In short, they can take an ordinary look and make it extraordinary. Beyond this, though, they empower you as a person. It was perhaps put best by Christian Louboutin, the shoemaker best known for his iconic red soles, when he said: “Shoes transform your body language and attitude. They lif t you physically and emotionally.”
Buying just the right luxury shoes, though, requires a great deal of homework. Beyond jus t being an expression of your personal taste and status, they are the only things in your wardrobe that absolutely have to be supremely comfortable. After all, who would really wish to walk a million miles in someone else’s shoes if blisters appeared after the first five?
The last word on the subject, though, really has to go to one of the greatest living examples of The American Dream – Oprah Winfrey, the US TV host and author – when she said: “I still have my feet on the ground, I just wear better shoes”
Of course, many people will already be familiar with the big names in fashion footwear – the Gucci’s and the Prada’s. There are, however, many other luxury brands that make excellent and – dare it be said? – even more desirable ways to shod yourself. With a little bit of research, you can find some amazing shoes from famous designers that will put you firmly one step ahead of the crowd.
John Lobb is a British company with a long history of hand-crafting high quality men’s shoes. Striding ahead of the competition for 170 years, the company has become the goto luxury shoe brand for many of the world’s most discerning men. The brand’s client list features a host of past and present A-listers, including Frank Sinatra, Aristotle Onassis and Prince Charles.
“Dressing to impress, isn’t just about the clothes you wear. It’s about the footwear you favour”
All of their shoes are bespoke designs and all are handmade to custom specifications. The company’s 2016 Autumn/Winter collection is so toe-tantalising that it’s hard to pick out just one pair for your delectation. Its Desert Boots, though, are just beautiful and so versatile that they could easily become a staple of anybody’s wardrobe.
Wear them on casual days with jeans and a tee or dress them up for an edgier look with some slim fit trousers and a tailored shirt. Their deep brown hue will literally go with every color and they’re built to last, meaning you’ll get good use from them for years to come. Priced at just under US$500, you might just be tempted to buy them in pretty much every available colour.
If you’re planning a summer getaway to a swanky European resort this year, then you’ll need something stylish to slip into after you’ve sloshed out of the pool. In that case, Tod’s new Suede Slipons are sure to provide you with buckets of comfort and spades of Club Tropicana cool.
Perfect for those who love to lounge around the pool watching the world go by, these slip-ons provide for a truly laid-back look. Available in an assortment of colours, they can easily be matched with even the most outré of summer wardrobes. The range boasts super-comfortable elastic side panels and come stamped with the designer’s iconic monogram.
The handcrafted woven rope trim on the bottom of the slip-ons give them a more casual feel, while Tod’s iconic rubber outsole – complete with embossed pebbles – will remind everyone that you do indeed know your fashion. Overall, they’re a welcome variation on Tod’s iconic driving shoes, and a more modern version of the classic Espadrille, only with a far more masculine vibe than George Michael could have ever hoped pull off.
Any true gentleman’s shoe collection should always include at least one sturdy pair of boots, indispensable when it comes to handling life’s more unexpected adventures. It could be that Church’s Caldecott boot is just what you need. The world famous shoemaker is well known for its high quality footwear, its expert craftsmanship and its attention to detail.
Such boots will certainly give your wardrobe a chic edge with their ruggedly refined suede or leather looks and classic brogue detailing. By hijacking the style of an Oxford shoe and reinventing it in a boot form, Church has created a timeless traditional finish, giving you the best of two looks in one shoe. Their rounded toes and chunky low heels make them comfortable to wear, while they remain versatile enough to meet any challenge – from office power games to partying into the wee small hours.
“A true gentleman’s shoe collection should always include at least one sturdy pair of boots”
For a more relaxed look, of course, there is always Saint Laurent’s range of Paris sneakers. Under the creative direction of Hedi Slimane, the brand’s Head Coach, the renowned Parisian fashion house is now soaring to new heights.
The brand has now redefined the luxury sneaker market with its range of low and high-top sneakers, all available in a variety of colours. Its SL/10H Signature Court Classic High Top Sneaker in black and red leather, though, remains the star player in its squad.
Should you wish to slam-dunk your style credentials and be the envy of your homies, A true gentleman’s shoe collection should always include at least one sturdy pair of boots this high-top sneaker sports the signature Saint Laurent embossed, padded ankle, wide-side stripe and contrasting coloured sole for that big statement look. If red isn’t your colour, you can opt for blue or black. And, if a high top is too big a jump, you could always go with the low top version in the same colour combo.
Wearing them is simple, as sneakers go with just about everything you already own. Dress them up with some formal jeans, a button-down shirt and a blazer or wear them with casual clothes on a sunny Saturday outing for that laid-back, yet luxuriant, look.
Who would have thought that Michael Jackson’s legendary loafers, the shoes that powered his groundbreaking Moonwalk, owed a huge debt of thanks to Norwegian Farmers? In fact, all modern loafers are derived from the style of traditional Norwegian moccasins, a design conceit was first spotted and popularised by American Esquire magazine in the 1930s.
As Jacko himself once said, if you want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make a change… possibly into a pair of Berluti Andy Leather Loafers. In its trademark Tobacco colour, an intoxicating mix of brown and tan, these loafers positively embody comfort and elegance.
Berluti specializes in menswear, blending expertise with tradition and modernity, with its Andy Loafers proving a fusion of all three. The brand was founded in Paris in 1895 and, today, it is owned by the LVMH group. Led by Creative Director, Alessandro Satori, the fashion house has continued to create coveted, readyto- wear pieces for the sartorially astute gentlemen.
A case in point, the Andy loafer is made in Italy and features hand-stitching around the top of the shoe, with a traditional stacked f lat heel and apron toe completing that classic loafer look. The strap across the vamp and leather lining further underline t he br a nd’s c ommi tment t o craftsmanship. Even at US$2,130 a pair, they make a fine addition to your wardrobe and one you’ll never regret.
If you simply have to have footwear as singular and memorable as your high performance luxury car, then take a look at Salvatore Ferragamo’s Custom Parigi Driving Shoes. These Parigi pedal pushers are 100 percent bespoke, entirely made to your own specifications.
Salvatore Ferragamo is, of course, a staple of the menswear fashion world. A native of Naples, in 1927, Ferragamo moved to California to become a shoemaker, founding a hugely reputable brand in the process. Today, the company is still familyowned and has branched out into handbags, fragrances and women’s shoes, as well as retaining its specialism in menswear.
Its made-to-order driving shoes are sexy, practical and available in a myriad of materials and colour choices. A bit like specifying a new Bentley to your own taste, everything on the shoe is fully customisable, right down to the colour of the metallic hardware.
You can choose from either suede, calfskin leather, crocodile or full-quill ostrich. With 14 different color options, ranging from classic black or tan to bold red and green, you can choose an option that will best match your beloved automobile. Hardware colors include palladio (a dark grey/ taupe), light palladio (a lighter gray) and bright gold, allowing you to mix and match to your heart’s desire. Each driving shoe is hand-cut, hand-stitched and handmade by Italian craftsmen, so you’ll own a shoe wholly like no-one else’s. The Parigi also features a rubber sole and heel guard for added comfort, as well as precision control at the heel. Depending on how you customize them, each pair can cost anything from US$750 all the way up to US$2,400.
And there you have it. A few luxury footwear choices that will up your style game and impress the world. Now all that’s left to do is to find your sole trader of choice.