While the majority of these quality men’s shoe brands may be hard to justify for the less well-heeled amongst us, you almost certainly will get what you paid for when it comes to the best footwear you can buy. A solid initial investment will save you money in the long run because, when cared for properly, a serviceable, hand-made pair of shoes will last a lifetime.
At the end of the day, your dress shoes are the foundation of your outfit and really do say a lot about the type of man you are – especially the state of said shoes. Quality and craftsmanship won’t go unnoticed and just like a fine timepiece, the best men’s shoe brands are appreciated by all men everywhere.
“Spend as much money as you can afford because you are buying value and longevity; and look after them well, because you will be rewarded in style and longevity.” Simon Crompton from Permanent Style on buying shoes.
Here are the best shoe brands for men that you need to know – from the best Australian shoe brands from some leading Australian fashion labels to highly underrated international players that’ll ensure you never have to walk in a pair of Aquila or Bared Footwear shoes ever again.
RELATED: The 17 Best White Sneakers For Men
Table of Contents:
- A. Testoni
- Alfred Sargent
- Christian Kimber
- Crockett & Jones
- Edward Green
- Gaziano & Girling
- George Cleverly
- John Lobb
- R.M. Williams
- Stefano Bemer
- Vass Shoes
A. Testoni (Bologna, Italy) | $$$
After learning the secrets of Bolognese construction from local artisans, Amedeo Testoni opened his first workshop over a century ago in 1929 with a dream of creating the most beautiful shoes in the world. Today A. Testoni holds exclusive patents and strives to portray contemporary Italian style through a huge range of handcrafted construction methods and product lines.
The brand’s shoes are consistently rated for their exceptional quality, with each of the premium leather designs showcasing the premium materials used in an uncompromisingly elegant way. You won’t find many edgy designs with A. Testoni, but what you will find is handmade leather designs that will last you for a very long time. It’s one of the most iconic labels in this particular fashion industry for good reason.
Alden (Massachusetts, USA) | $$-$$$
Alden was founded in 1884 by Charles H. Alden and built a reputation for producing high-quality dress shoes. The brand is recognised as the finest American shoe company and a bastion of stylish footwear. It is the only original New England shoe and bootmaker remaining of the hundreds that began so long ago, carrying forward a tradition of quality genuine-welted shoemaking.
Expect to pay a high price for the essentials like the tassel moccasin loafers pictured above, but it’s worth it for one of the best shoe brands in the world.
Alfred Sargent (Northamptonshire, UK) | $$-$$$
Alfred Sargent was established in 1899 and has been working out of the same premises in Rushden, Northamptonshire, in the heart of the world-renowned English shoemaking region. Over four generations, the family-owned business has acquired an enviable reputation for its MTO (made-to-order) service and its slightly more affordable RTW collections.
Pay particular attention to their high-quality leather boots, which are some of the most popular in the industry and equal in quality to their most casual shoes.
Berluti (Paris, France) | $$$
Berluti was founded in 1895 in Paris and acquired by LVMH in 1993. It is regarded as one of the best luxury shoe brands in the world, however, certain fashion-forward styles aren’t for everyone, despite being impeccably built. Their RTW prices rival the MTO prices of many of the fantastic shoemakers on this list, which may explain why the brand has so much cache in certain circles.
Carmina (Majorca, Spain) | $-$$
Carmina was founded by Matías Pujadas in 1866, when he opened a small workshop in Inca, Majorca, and began crafting tailor-made shoes. His passion became a family tradition. The brand became the first European producer of Cordovan shoes and boots. In terms of quality, their entry-level product sits below Crockett & Jones. An excellent starting point for shoe enthusiasts who’d love a diverse range of affordable quality footwear to choose from.
Christian Kimber (Melbourne, Australia) | $-$$
British born designer Christian Kimber established his business in Melbourne c. 2011, first gaining attention with his tassel loafers and later sneaker collection. Today he offers a casual but sartorially inspired menswear line and a smaller assortment of sneakers and loafers, including his signature Positano loafer pictured above.
Christian Kimber is now one of the most successful and best known Australian fashion labels in the business, and that kind of reputation didn’t come from a lack of clear, long-lasting quality.
Crockett & Jones (Northamptonshire, UK) | $$-$$$
The quality of Crockett & Jones products sits above Church’s in my opinion, hence their inclusion in this list. Across their range of price points, Crockett & Jones offer excellent build quality and represent excellent value for money. Their bespoke service is also up there with the best in the business.
Edward Green (Northamptonshire, UK) | $$$
When it comes to the top tier of shoemaking, it doesn’t get much better than Edward Green – a fact since 1890. Respected for their understated elegance and unrelenting strive for quality, Edward Green ensures only three pairs of shoes are made from each hide. Preferred by Hemingway, perfect for you.
Gaziano & Girling (Northamptonshire, UK) | $$-$$$
Gaziano & Girling was founded in 2006 by Tony Gaziano & Dean Girling, both experienced Northamptonshire shoemakers. The brand adds some modern flair to traditional styles is regarded as the best of the best in both their RTW collection and their bespoke service. Simon Crompton has written an awesome 5 part article for The Rake about getting a bespoke pair of G&G’s measured and made. Check it out here.
George Cleverly (London, UK) | $$$
George Cleverley built a formidable reputation on creating only bespoke shoes, out of the storefront in the Royal Arcade in Bond Street in London. The Cleverley process pays a wonderful homage to the craftsmanship of shoemaking and the brand has fitted some of the most prestigious names in history – today adored by Prince Charles, David Beckham and Jason Statham. Double Monk holds yearly trunk shows with George Glasgow Jr from GC for bespoke fittings, but don’t expect much change from $5,000.
John Lobb/John Lobb Ltd (Northamptonshire/London, UK) | $$-$$$
John Lobb has a fascinating history, founded in 1866 in London and 1902 in Paris. In 1976, John Lobb was acquired by the Hermès Group. However, the London bespoke workshop, John Lobb Ltd, remains in the hands of the family and continues to operate independently from its premises at 9 St James’s Street. John Lobb Ltd focuses solely on bespoke while the Hermès group offers a RTW and MTO service, the latter made in their Parisian workshop, requiring over 50 hours of work for each pair.
Meermin (Majorca, Spain) | $
Meermin rocketed onto the scene during the hashtag menswear days as one of the most stylish and accessible men’s shoe brands in the world. Their affordable approach to construction (partially made in China) spawned various copycats creating classically styled shoes starting at US$175 (~AU$240), with more exclusive Linea Maestro range starting from US$290 (~AU$398). If you can’t justify the higher priced names on the list, Meermin is a worthy choice.
R.M. Williams (Adelaide, Australia) | $$
One of our most visited posts of all time pays homage to the versatility of the Reginald Murray William’s iconic leather boot, the icon of this lauded Australian footwear brand and the most emblematic Australian shoe in history. Their acquisition by LVMH has seen a host of new styles introduced like the Yard Boot and Sneaker, but we like to keep it classic in the leather or suede Craftsman. The Surry is also a no-brainer for anyone after the classic tennis sneaker.
Now considered the best of all Australian shoe brands, R.M. Williams holds a certain level of global prestige that simply cannot be denied. The Australian footwear brand prides itself on being one of the most reliable labels in the country, to the point where the high price tags could easily be seen as bargains.
Stefano Bemer (Florence, Italy) | $$$
Florentine Stefano Bemer has established a globally unrivalled reputation through an uncompromising approach to the art of shoemaking. Originally started by Stefano Bemer in 1983, the company was acquired by Tommaso Melani after Bemer’s death in 2012, who wanted to continue his unique handcrafted approach to every aspect of shoe construction.
Vass Shoes (Hungary, Budapest) | $$$
If exclusivity is what you desire, then Vass is for you. Family-owned Vass has been producing shoes since 1978 out of a humble shopfront in Budapest. They offer an unbelievable range of styles with English and Italian heritage in both RTW and via bespoke order. If you’re in Budapest, it’s a must-visit for any shoe snob, and certainly earns its place on this list of the best men’s shoe brands money can buy.