Fortunately for men, there is a great variety of handmade shoes to choose from in the UK, as this country is the birthplace of many heritage brands and modern labels highly influenced by traditional styling including H by Hudson, Oliver Sweeney, Loake and Grenson. There’s no excuse – every English gent should own at least one pair of beautifully crafted shoes.
The UK’s association with classic footwear for men stems back hundreds of years, and the techniques developed by skilled craftsmen over the centuries are still employed today by high quality brands that have respect for the tried and test production processes.
Brands including H by Hudson are clearly influenced by the UK’s long love affair with well-made shoes for men. It was launched in 2004 as a diffusion brand of Hudson Shoes which was established 14 years prior, and the ‘younger brother’ brand offers a wide selection of men’s shoes that are more fashion forward than the mainline, but its footwear is still made to an exceptionally high standard making it a great choice. In-keeping with the latest trends, it offers classic brogues, loafers and lace-ups, alongside more casual options such as desert boots and boat shoes.
A more traditional slant on footwear is offered by traditional English shoe maker Grenson, which has over 140 years’ experience in making shoes of outstanding quality, with the mantra that a shoe is only as strong as its weakest element. Its handmade shoes are still constructed in Northamptonshire, which has been the epicentre of the British shoe-making industry since the 17th century. It’s also still based in the same factory it’s been running since 1895.
Whatever brand you opt for, for the quintessentially English look that works so well with suits, choose a British brand and stick with traditional styles without too many fashion embellishments that may date them quickly. Good quality shoes may be a must-have for the season, but they will actually last you for many years to come if you take excellent care of them, so invest in a pair with classic styling to future proof your purchase.