The 10 Best Shoe Brands Every Man Needs To Know
From work boots to oxfords to comfort and casual wear to everything in between there are a few (10 to be exact!) shoe brands that if you don’t already know about, you definitely should.
There are a few classic Italian lines as well as some tried and true Americana and English brands. Prepare for an education in the most iconic brands on the market.
1. Dr. Martens
Of all the brands on this list, Dr. Martens are the most rock-n-roll of the group. What originally started off as a work boot, Dr. Martens quickly transformed into a symbol of working-class pride and rebellious attitudes, especially when Pete Townshend of The Who began wearing them.
This classic style of boot became a symbol of self-expression amongst the youth culture, both in England and abroad. Today, Dr. Martens come in a variety of styles and leathers (including vegan, if you’re into that sort of thing) and they are always doing limited collaborations that guarantee you will be wearing something special that not everyone has – and let’s be honest, don’t we all like to feel a little special?
2. Oliver Cabell
Started in 2016 as a way to bring luxury leather sneakers, drivers, and boots to the market without the typical markup, the Oliver Cabell brand stands for design, craft, and value.
They hand-make every pair using high-quality materials such as Margom outsoles and ethically sourced Italian leathers. They also pride themselves on not marking up the prices in the ways that traditional retailers do, therefore, making luxury affordable.
Santoni is a family-owned, high-end luxury brand based out of Italy. What helps to set them apart from other Italian brands is their bespoke service created to satisfy even the most demanding clients’ desire for exclusivity.
Based on tradition, Santoni delivers a luxurious, innovative, and personalized experience. Santoni’s made-to-order service allows customers to play an active role in the creative process of designing a pair of shoes, giving you the chance to choose your ideal shape, leather, and finish. If you’re looking for premium quality at a premium price, then head to their website to see their collection of ready-to-wear shoes or to request information on how to get started on personalizing your own pair.
Did you know Clarks has been around for almost 200 years and have almost 22,000 shoe styles under their proverbial belt? The first pair of Clarks was a slipper made from sheepskin off-cuts and the innovation did not stop there.
Their advanced construction techniques, technologies, and contemporary materials help Clarks continue to deliver innovative shoes for the modern world. The Clarks Wallabees are an iconic shoe and available in a variety of colors and materials.
What makes Grenson stand out from the other brands on this list is the unique way in which they are made. Aside from their new moccasin collection, all Grenson shoes are Goodyear Welted, which is a shoemaking technique invented in the mid-1800s.
The main feature of this process is that the upper is stitched to a leather band called a “welt” and then that is stitched to the sole. This all takes up to eight weeks to make an individual pair. There are several collections to choose from as well as the option for a bespoke pair.
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Long associated with hippies and affectionately referred to as “Jesus shoes,” Birkenstock has been around for centuries. While they are best known for sandals, they also make sneakers, mules, slippers, and a line of non-slip “professional” shoes for the medical, culinary, and hospitality fields.
Birkenstock prides itself on using a variety of responsibly produced leathers, textiles, and synthetic/blended materials that are monitored to ensure they are kind to skin. They are continuously collaborating with other brands, including Rick Owens, to create one-of-a-kind collections that are sure to make you stand out from the crowd (if you’re into that sort of thing).
Ever since introducing their original waterproof boots, Timberland continues to make innovative products that will get people outdoors. Made to last with environmentally-conscious materials, Timberlands also minimizing their impact on the environment.
Their slogan “A Greener Future is a Better Future” is part of their plan to plant 50 million trees by 2025 and to create a net positive impact on the environment by 2030. Being net positive means leaving nature better than we found it – one way is to pull more carbon out of the air than we emit. We can also improve biodiversity (think plants, animals, and insects), water quality, and farmer wellbeing.
8. Cole Haan
Founded in 1928, Cole Haan combines traditional methods, timeless style, and modern innovations to create footwear and lifestyle accessories that customers wear from work to workout, to weekend and everywhere in between. With a wide variety of sneakers (for golf, running, tennis, and casual daywear), oxfords, wingtips, boots, and accessories galore, Cole Haan offers quality materials at prices that are sure to keep you coming back for more.
9. Red Wing Shoes
Red Wing Shoes was established in 1905 for workers in the mining, farming, and logging industries to be able to have durable and comfortable footwear. All their safety footwear must pass a variety of stringent and rigorous tests at a facility specially built for Red Wing Shoes testing.
The shoes are then sent to a third-party tester to ensure global safety regulations as well. With over 990 footwear styles it would be impossible not to find the perfect fit for you.
If you’re a true shoe lover (and I don’t mean a sneakerhead) then you need to know about Berluti and their unique patina process in which they color and bleach leather through the use of solvents, essential oils, pigments, and dyes. While their signature Venezia leather is most often selected for its splendid patinas, for custom-made items they offer a wide array of exotic leathers including ostrich, alligator, shark, lizard, or shagreen for a shoe, or for certain details on the upper.
All of the rare and exotic leathers are selected with respect to the preservation of species. Another personalization feature they have is custom tattooing. The Berluti tattoo offer is available by special order for custom footwear as well as belts, bags, and small leather goods in Venezia leather.
Whatever your imagination can come up with, they will make it happen. Visit their website to book your bespoke appointment today!
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