London is one of the best cities in the world for those interested in classic quality shoes. The capital of England contains a large number of shoe stores and bespoke shoemakers, basically an excellent selection of almost everything you can be looking for. Shoegazing guides you to it, and for those who have no plans of visiting the city there’s hundreds of pictures which hopefully can act as some inspiration.
G. J. Cleverley
28 Old Bond Street
Cleverley is one of only three remaining classic West End bespoke shoemaking firms (the other two are Foster & Son and John Lobb Ltd. which I will write more about below, and besides them there are also James Taylor & Son, located a little further north in the city and who has turned in a slightly different, less traditional direction in recent years). They house in The Royal Arcade right next to Old Bond Street, in premises that consists of no fewer than five floors, though each of them is very small.
The shop is of course on the ground floor, and here you find a lot of bespoke sample shoes, both older and newer ones, and their full Ready to Wear range. Cleverley has RTW shoes from the midrange price level up to their top line Anthony Cleverley which is of very high quality and on par with the leading premium manufacturers. More about Cleverley and their bespoke business in a separate post later this fall.
43 Conduit Street
In the most “luxury boutique crowded” parts of London Berluti is housed, in a large two-floor building. It was a while ago since Berluti just made shoes, the owner LVMH has transformed the brand into a comprehensive menswear brand, which has almost everything, including scented candles for €170. The London store has a decent selection of shoes, although many models aren’t available. Most are Blake stitched, with just a couple of models being Goodeyar welted. The patina work is what impresses the most when it comes to the RTW models, with beautiful depth in the often colorful shades.
On the second floor at the back is a room dedicated to the company’s bespoke shoes. A lot of different samples are on display, but unfortunately nothing from the new generation in the workshop in Paris, with Anthony Delos as a key player. Still several really nice pairs though. Here you can also order bespoke from the company, not just when lastmakers from France pay a visit. However, prices are very high, just as for bespoke at John Lobb Paris, they start at over €70 000 (some trivia is that Berluti follow their competitors’ prices, and make sure to always be at the top. Apparently it’s important).
67 Jermyn Street
Jermyn Street is the number one street for classic shoes, located in the middle of London’s West End neighborhood. All the major British Ready to Wear brands has a store on the street, plus several others. Tricker’s is one of them, whose shop is rather small but quite pleasant, located at one end of the street. It offers virtually the brand’s entire range of shoes, so for those who like the rougher style of Tricker’s shouldn’t miss this.
60 Jermyn Street
French JM Weston is a brand that in my eyes get undeservedly little attention in many parts of the world. They are huge in their home country and in Japan for example, but in more anglicised parts of the world it is a very small bran, even though the shoes they make are absolutely amazing. JM Weston is one of very few brands with financial muscles to own their own tanneries, they own both Du Puy which is one of the largest suppliers of calf leather for shoes and a sole tannery doing amazing chestnut bark tanned soles, so the level of material in their shoes are always very high. Cause in the same way as Hermés takes the best hides from tannery D’Annonay which they own to John Lobb Paris’ shoes, Weston can get the finest leather themselves, before other Du Puy customers have access.
Weston also has an impressive span of different models in its range, it clear when visiting the few years old London store, which still isn’t that large. Here’s everything from super slim Blake stitched loafers and elegant wholecuts to heavy boots and their signature model, the Demi Chasse, which is a heavy split toe derby with double or even triple leather soles. The prices are well below the British premium manufacturers, which I think they in most ways can be compared to, making it even stranger that they aren’t more popular in many parts of the world.
Crockett & Jones
69 Jermyn Street
Crockett & Jones actually has two shops on Jermyn Street, this is the smaller one. A little more old school in decor than the larger store, with very friendly staff. Large parts of C&J’s collections are available here, and what’s nice is that it is also possible to find some more unusual stuff on the shelves, like old discontinued models and shoes that otherwise are made only for the French market.
Foster & Son
83 Jermyn Street
As already mentioned above, Foster & Son is a classic bespoke house, which just as Cleverley also provides RTW shoes. These are made by among others Crockett & Jones and Edward Green, the former which are made to Handgrade standard is about €670 (£475) and the latter at about €1000 (£725).
Those visiting Foster should be sure to look closer at the originals to their special faded patina which they work with. These are shoes that stood in the shop window for decades thus being bleached by the sun, and in the 90’s customers came in and said they wanted to order shoes in the same shade as these. Then Foster developed a way to gently bleach aniline dyed leather to achieve the same effect. RTW shoes are also available to have bleached this way, at an extra cost. Just as with Cleverley a larger post about Fosters will be published later on.
38 Jermyn Street
Barker’s shop looks a bit different than many other shoe stores here on Jermyn Street, with a bright and spacious interior. Since the store is pretty big the still have place for most of their ranges. There are shoes from the budget sector at around €270 (£195) up to the nice Anniversary Collection which is double that. Barker Black is a separate brand and can’t be found here, from what I could see.
75 Jermyn Street
Edward Green may be a shoe manufacturer that has existed since 1890, but as with several of the great British shoemakers like for example Crockett & Jones it wasn’t until about 100 years later, in the 90s, as it was established as a separate brand. Before that they only did shoes for other brands. It was under the management of the now deceased John Hlustik as they began selling shoes under it’s own name, and also opened a shop close to the present venue. In the beginning no one knew what Edward Green, and they sold maybe one per of shoes a week. Today things are different.
Edward Green’s store is very busy, and here you find all the classics like Dover and Galway in different make ups as well as the latest new models. There is also the opportunity to place orders for their exclusive MTO line Top Drawer.
New & Lingwood
53 Jermyn Street
The haberdashery New & Lingwood was really big on shoes back in the days, and actually had its own bespoke department. Nowadays, however, it’s just RTW shoes made by among others Cheaney sold as private label, though there’s a fairly large range of these shoes. Last year they also sold Stefano Bemer’s shoes, but unfortunately not anymore.
John Lobb Paris
88 Jermyn Street
John Lobb Paris’ Flagship store in London has a retail space with a long, narrow and rather dark room that leads through a narrow passage to a more open and brighter part . As always with the brand the interior is in yellow, and it there’s a lot of shoe candy standing along the shelves here. In addition to virtually all Lobbs regular ranges models there are also some examples of MTO models which they call By Request, which only can be ordered in store.
Cheaney & Sons
21 Jermyn Street
The shop of Cheaney is a bit special when it comes to decorations. They still have the classic stuff like a wall with shoe lasts, a cut through shoe and piles of leather, but also things like a model of the factory in Northampton and a glass case where all the parts that make up a shoe is scattered. It’s always nice when there’s more to look at than just the shoes, though of course they are also the centre of attention here. Similar to for example Barker Cheaney has many different collections, from the City line which is midrange shoes for around 355 (£ 250) to the Imperial line which has oak bark tanned soles and nicely done waists for about €675 (£ 480).
100 Jermyn Street
Charles Tyrwhitt is a large supplier of low priced shirts, suits and other menwear articles. They also have a lot of shoes, some of those may not be of the best quality, but their better shoes are on par with, for example Loake 1880 and Barker’s corresponding lines, and are in many cases made from these factories. Just as in the online store Tyrwhitt has a constant sale in the physical stores, whichone shouldn’t be fooled by. The prices on their most expensive line is always around €280 (£ 200), never twice that which the pricing suggests. It’s still affordable shoes though.
110 Jermyn Street
Church’s is probably the shoe manufacturer that has the highest number of stores in London, there’s no less than six of them. Although Church’s range of shoes has modernised more and more since Prada took over the ownership two decades ago, with everything from sneakers to quirky glued models, the shops are still very classic in style. Straight and neat, no excesses. What’s good for those with narrow or wide feet is that the supply of various widths are quite good in their own stores.
John Lobb Ltd.
9 St. James Street
“The original John Lobb” is housed in the same premises as they have always been on the St. James Street. Here it’s very traditional, it does not feel like it happened much with the décor over many decades. It’s quite dark and drab, and a large number of sample shoes are lined up in big old glass cabinets. The shoes are from the look of it of varying age, although Lobb may not be known for making the most modern looking shoes.
What’s nice is that part of the workshop is on the ground floor open out onto the store section, this way one can see the employees at work, which mainly are lastmakers and pattern makers who they have in-house, otherwise it is primarily freelance workers they use.
3 Clifford Street
Drake’s is of course best known for its ties and accessories, but they also have some shoes in the store on Clifford Street. They have a small selection of shoes from Saint Crispin’s, some of them were reduced to half the price when I visited, and also they are one of very few stores in London selling Alden. From them they mainly cordovan and suede shoes.
Gaziano & Girling
39 Savile Row
Since a bit over a year Gaziano & Girling has had its own shop on the famous tailoring street Savile Row. A rather small but nice shop, where the company’s entire RTW-range is presented and where a lot of them are available in stock. In addition, there are many models from top line Deco and bespoke sample-shoes on the shelves.
It’s also in the shop that Gaziano & Girling paint the MTO and bespoke shoes that should have a hand painted patina. It is made by two former Corthay employees, and just inside the door is a desk where the painting is carried out. All visitors can follow the work, if there is some pairs who are being worked on when visiting.
J. Fitzpatrick / Timothy Everest
35 Bruton Place
On a great little street in Mayfair the tailor Timothy Everest’s shop is placed, and here Justin FitzPatrick also houses with his shoes. Here you find his entire range, and if one contact Justin in advance, he can bring all models in all sizes that are available from the office/warehouse nearby for trying on and purchasing.
150 Regent Street
American Brooks Brothers has a store on Regent Street, where a part of their range of shoes is available. They are made by among others Crockett & Jones and Edward Green, and in most cases it’s traditonal versions of traditional models.
Of course there are several more great shoe stores in London. Some I didn’t have time to visit, and some I might not know off. If you have your own favorites that aren’t featured above, please share in the comments section below.