Why Italian Men's Shoes Are The Best

   It is a truth universally acknowledged that there are few items of clothing that can cause greater man-to-man jealousy than a fine pair of Italian-made shoes. The craftsmanship and the artistry imbibed in the footwear grant those sporting them an air of regal sophistication and dapper elegance - indeed, the timeless qualities associated with such shoes put them at the pinnacle of the male fashion canon.

   To simply speak the phrase "Italian shoes" is to summon images of high quality, top of the range styles. They are, to put it succinctly, the type of item you'd expect George Clooney, or any of the Ocean's Eleven posse (from either the original or the remake), to wear on their feet. They project a classy and debonair image and mark out the wearer as a man of great taste.

   Yet, at this point, it most also be noted how broad a phrase "Italian shoes" truly is - whilst we may all have various images we conjure when presented with the term, "Italian shoes" do not constitute a uniform style in the same way as, say, "Oxford" or "Brogues" do. Whilst each item may be united by artisanal construction, or treated, hand-finished leathers, the sheer range of Italian designs further constitutes part of the charm for their shoes.

   To illustrate the point, this post will feature a couple of the Italian shoe designs currently available at Oliver Sweeney. Paired, as they are, by their premium assemblage, sleek silhouettes and sophisticated sartorial timbre, the two examples also highlight the disparate design styles in which Italian-made shoes can manifest themselves.

   The first of the two items, Oliver Sweeney's Finelli Lace-ups  (a formal derby shoe currently retailing at £295), are the type of shoes its easy to fall head-over-heels in love with at first sight.

   The understated, calf leather formal shoes combine a traditional, refined aesthetic - as evidenced through their profile and tan finish - with the aforementioned classic craftsmanship. Having previously worked in-house at a national footwear retailer, I'm more than au fait with the best (and, it must be noted, worst) examples of men's shoes and it is quite clear these rate near the top. Its easy to stare at them and become intoxicated with images of the type of sartorial ensembles one could compose with these as an anchor piece.

   Whilst it is evident to all who gaze upon the exteriors of these Italian-made shoes that they are devilishly and indisputably handsome, it is the durable construction of the footwear which puts them head and shoulders above the competition. These Finellis are beautifully Blake stitched - the shoes are made by attaching a leather upper to a leather insole which is then stitched directly through to the sole (a difficult style pioneered during the industrial revolution); this provides a durable sturdiness and, equally, allow for a pleasant wearability to those who sport them too.

   In conclusion, these are statement shoes which remain understated and subtle rather than garish or brash. The detailing - including the "O" and "S" lettering on the heels, the stitching, and the layered application of the overall colouring - showcase a sophisticated modesty whilst providing testament to the unmatched quality of Italian-made shoes.

   It goes without saying that were one tempted to save a few pound with an alternative "Made in China" choice of shoe, there would be none of the precision or reverence to craft as showcased here. These are a real investment shoe in that, whilst the outlay may be higher than alternatives found in many high street retailers, their quality and longevity mean they will last a lot longer too without needing to be replenished (and, of course, will mean those who purchase them will look better for longer than those who purchase a series of cheaper replacements).

   The second of the two illustrations in this post comes in the form of the very different Biva Black Bologna construction shoes  (also retailing at £295) - a footwear design which, despite their slick exterior, focuses on the wearer's comfort. Simultaneously, they address one of the primary problems we males suffer from when selecting what to wear on our feet.

   Many men, you see, often cite comfort as perhaps the most important factor when selecting footwear - this, of course, leads to many a young man abandoning formal footwear altogether in favour of ghastly looking trainers. Yet, it is clearly folly and ignorance to assume that, in the case of male footwear, comfort and style are natural enemies. We male folk are lucky in that we can have the best of both worlds and that we don't have to totter in vertiginous Louboutin heels, for example, to feel like we're at the top of our fashion game. With this in mind, there's simply no excuse to not invest in smarter shoes.

   The Biva Black shoes, then, featuring a deer skin upper and calf leather inner, provide a perfect example of how one does not have to sacrifice either style or comfort when choosing shoes. The Bologna design on these means that, rather than featuring a conventional insole, the footwear's lining forms a leather "sock" of sorts - the result is a shoe as comfortable as a slipper.

   Indeed, another remarkable aspect of the shoe is the supple, flexible qualities they feature without crossing over into becoming flimsy. Despite being made from top-end materials, its possible to bend the shoe in half (from the toe) when not being worn to illustrate the malleability of the footwear and how the item lacks restrictive qualities one may find in a cheaper alternative. It must also be noted that, despite this suppleness, the Biva Blacks also feel rather strong and sturdy when on one's feet too. Its rather incredible.

   So, whilst it has been evidenced that the look, construction and profile of Italian shoes can differ wildly across these two examples, it is also clear that our assumptions and prejudices on Italian men's shoes may indeed hold true - despite the difference, the styles boast craftsmanship, discerning aesthetics and artisanal application of the finest materials.

   The shoes featured in the post are, of course, available in the links found within this article and, also, for those who like to go into shops and try before buying, available at the brand's various retail outlets across the country. For those in Yorkshire, like myself, their new look Leeds store (which sells both these shoes) is now open in the Victoria Quarter - you can find out more about the store here .

1 comment

  1. http://www.thestyleexaminer.com/2014/08/in-search-of-perfect-pair-of-mens.html

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