Today the British brand Gaziano & Girling introduced their new Optimum MTO range, it’s shoes made by their bespoke workshop to bespoke standards, but on their regular RTW lasts. The ambition is to make the absolute best craftsmanship available to more people. Shoegazing has had a look at a sample from the new range.

 

When Gaziano & Girling was launched in 2006 by Tony Gaziano and Dean Girling, they introduced a bunch of features that one hadn’t really seen, at least in a long time, on factory-made Goodyear welted shoes, and their premium segment footwear looked more like how bespoke shoes looked than what one was used to for factory-made shoes. Then a few years later they presented the Deco range, available as MTO, which was another step up in terms of sleekness, slim waists, construction details etc. Now they’ve gone the whole way. With Optimum range, you basically can’t get further in terms of material and make. G&G’s bespoke has a reputation as among the best bespoke shoes you can get, and now this level is made available as Made to Order on the brands regular standard lasts.

One of the first samples of the Optimum range. The model Grant in Vintage Oak, on the DG70 last, made to bespoke standards, so hand lasted, hand welted, handmade sole stitch, hand-built heel and so on.

You can basically choose any model in any leather on any last from Gaziano & Girlings extensive stable of offerings, small modifications of patterns are possible, like removing a medallion or similar, and you can also do small addons to the lasts for improved fitting, like built up the instep more or add at the inner ball of the foot or similar. You also choose specs like type of sole, straight or tapered heels etc. The shoes will then be made fully handmade by the in-house bespoke department which houses on the top floor of their factory in Kettering, Northampton, to exactly the same standard as their bespoke shoes, with hinged lasted shoe trees included. Delivery time is approximately four months. The price is hefty – €3,850 (£3,300) including VAT for shoes, and €4,200 (£3,600) for boots – but I’d say it’s quite understandable.

Lovely sole.

I’ve had a sample of the Optimum range here at home, to get a real look of them. Now being an owner of several pairs of Gaziano & Girling bespoke shoes, I do know the standard, and this sure is on that level. They are made by their main bottom maker Kiichiro Ozeki, previously at Hiro Yanagimachi but he has been at G&G for a couple of years now, and he is making things extremely clean. It’s more or less completely flawless, the only thing I still think Kiichiro can improve is having the heel stacks more levelled all along towards the breast edges, but now we are really nitpicking here. What I was most hesitant about was how the arch support would end up, it’s one of the key reasons for getting fully handmade shoes in general and bespoke shoes in particular, that you can get a level of arch support not really possible when making machine-made shoes, and since they use regular RTW lasts I wasn’t sure how it would be with Optimum. Now I haven’t been able to try them on, but judging by the look of it the arch really comes in well and the heel stiffener goes along the whole arch, as is standard on their bespoke, so I’d believe one experience a clear improvement on this regard compared to the regular RTW/MTO.

Here one can see how nicely the arch hugs inwards, towards the very narrow waist.

10 spi (stitches per inch) sole stitching, very neatly done.

Tapered heel.

For those who really like Gaziano & Girling and find their lasts to fit good, and at the same time want to step up the game to the absolute top level of shoes, the Optimum range sure is a nice addition. Also for those who never would be able to visit England or one of their trunk shows for full bespoke, but want to get as close to that as possible with a remote order, can have their wish fulfilled now.

To get a better view of how Gaziano & Girling’s bespoke shoes are made, which then is the same as Optimum now are, read this article here following the making of a pair step-by-step.

Top view.

Seriously sleek.

Posture like a race car.

Here’s the Optimum range Grant (to the right) compared to a regular RTW range Strand without medallion (to the left), both in Vintage Oak on DG70.

Not that welt finishing is bad on the RTW shoe to the left, but when done by hand to top level you sure get something else.

Soles. Now Optimum to the left, RTW main line to the right.

Hinged lasted shoe trees included.

Finish off with some of G&G’s photos of other Optimum range samples.

Very sharp stuff.

Of course they had to make a version of the St. James II in Vintage Cherry.

Kiichiro Ozeki in the workshop. Last four photos: Gaziano & Girling