If The Shoe Fits: The Best Bespoke Shoemakers In The World

Putting your best foot forward is a whole lot easier when it’s bespoke — here, the master craftspeople and makers to turn to.

By Tanisha Angel 24/07/2023

While there’s certainly no shortage of covetable footwear produced by luxury fashion houses and dedicated shoemakers, when it comes to fit—bespoke is best. Steeped in heritage and tradition, the world of bespoke footwear can be a difficult one to navigate. Traditionally, bespoke shoes refer to footwear made from scratch by a custom shoemaker following a consultation wherein a client’s measurements are taken and their desired style ascertained. The truly bespoke process involves the crafting of a personal last (a foot-shaped mould) prior to any production taking place; with the entire process often taking months or even years until completion.

Bespoke Carmina dress shoes | Credit Mr. Pulam, Carmina

However, the term ‘bespoke footwear’ is now also being ascribed to pre-designed styles that are made-to-measure. These can be produced in a far shorter time frame and are often priced at a fraction of their traditional bespoke counterparts.

To that end, there are only a select few truly bespoke shoemakers around the world. While England, Italy, and France are known purveyors of bespoke footwear, Spain and Japan are known emerging markets.

From heritage souters to up-and-coming makers, these are the best bespoke shoemakers in the world.

George Cleverley, England

the best bespoke shoemakers in the world

Currently helmed by George Glasgow Snr and George Glasgow Jr, who inherited the company from George Cleverley himself, the eponymous company was founded in 1958. Known for its quintessentially British approach to bespoke shoemaking, each pair of George Cleverley shoes utilise resoleable Goodyear welting with footwear styles ranging from tried-and-true Oxfords and derbies to louche velvet loafers and double monk strap shoes. In keeping with the times, George Cleverley also offers a ready-to-wear range, however, the bespoke experience underpins the brand.


Carmina, Spain

Founded in Spain in 1866, Carmina offers a viable entry point into the world of bespoke footwear. Since its inception in the mid-19th century, it’s earned acclaim across the globe for its assiduous attention to detail and handmade craftsmanship. Sitting in the made-to-measure category, the Spanish souter offers 15 lasts designed to cater for various foot sizes and aesthetics and uses resoleable Goodyear welt stitching. Taking on a streamlined, distinctly European appearance, Carmina shoes showcase contemporary appeal despite the brand’s heritage credentials.


Berluti, France

Italian-born Alessandro Berluti founded his eponymous label in Paris in 1895. Although the maison has since expanded into accessories and ready-to-wear, bespoke footwear remains the cornerstone of the brand. Over a century since its establishment, Berluti’s dedication to craftsmanship hasn’t changed, with the truly bespoke offering requiring around 250 operations and 50 hours of labour. The ideal option for those who want their shoes to reflect their personality, Berluti’s artisans are able to accommodate each client’s unique desires—think intricately brogued details and original embroidery. Key to any Berluti piece is the patina, with the final step transforming the supple leather into the colour of your choice, with variances in shading details ensuring each pair of shoes is exclusive.


Loake, England

Founded in the shoemaking capital of Northampton, England by a trio of brothers, Loake has been producing Goodyear-welted shoes since 1880. Today, the brand has lasted thanks to its adoption of contemporary styles into its classic range–though no longer truly bespoke, they offer a solid entry point into made-to-measure footwear while combining machinated and handmade elements.


Edward Green, England

the best bespoke shoemakers in the world

Also established in Northampton, England in 1890 by Edward Green, to eponymous company maintains its fastidious approach to craftsmanship to this day, making just 350 pairs of shoes a week. Taking a made-to-measure approach, the British shoemaker has a vast array of leathers and finishes to select from, with each pair of shoes using a Goodyear welt.


Stefano Bemer, Italy

best bespoke shoemakers in the world

Founded by Florentine shoemaker Stefano Bemer in 1983, the eponymous company offers both bespoke and partially bespoke shoes; the latter involving some machine-made elements. With a distinctly Italian aesthetic, Stefano Bemer shoes take on a slim-fitting silhouette, with burnished and patinaed leather aplenty. Expect to find classic silhouettes like derbies and penny loafers, as well as laceless ‘lazy man’ oxfords, Jodhpur boots, and bow-tie loafers.


Yohei Fukuda, Japan

Founded by Yohei Fukuda in Tokyo in 2008, the namesake brand offers both bespoke and ready-to-wear footwear (the latter is produced in a limited run of 200 shoes per year). Each pair of bespoke shoes is handmade by the company’s in-house artisans and take approximately three to four months to complete. Reconciling heritage shoemaking techniques with contemporary tastes, Yohei Fukuda brings a unique eye to the world of bespoke footwear, with sleek designs set to stand the test of time.


John Lobb, England

best bespoke shoemakers in the world

One of England’s finest shoemakers, John Lobb founded his brand in 1866. Today, the company operates independently in England and as part of the Hermès group in Paris. Representing (and defining) the archetypal English shoemaking style, John Lobb shoes are understated and steadfast in their design. With several styles remaining unchanged for almost a century, a pair of bespoke John Lobb shoes is a failsafe investment.


Gaziano & Girling, England

best bespoke shoemakers in the world

With a century of shoemaking experience between them, Dean Girling and Tony Gaziano founded Gaziano & Girling in Northampton in 2006. Combining Italian comfort with British craftsmanship and sturdiness, Gaziano & Girling shoes are known for their commitment to exclusively using oak bark on their soles. Available both truly bespoke and made-to-order, each pair of shoes exudes heritage style while being perfectly at home in the contemporary era.


Paolo Scafora, Italy

best bespoke shoemakers in the world

Established by Paolo Scafora in Naples in 1956, the brand remains in the family to this day—currently run by his grandson of the same name. Beginning with handmade ready-to-wear footwear, Paolo Scafora has been offering a made-to-order service for the past decade. The key draw card? The comparatively quick turnaround time, with the souter able to produce shoes in just four to six weeks thanks to the use of plastic lasts rather than wood.

Aubercy, France

Founded by André and Renée Aubercy in 1935, the bespoke and ready-to-wear shoemaker has an illustrious past, with footwear initially designed to meet the tastes of high society clientele in Paris. At the turn of the millennium, the shoemaker introduced a bespoke service. Embodying quintessential Parisian style, the Goodyear welted shoes exude old-world elegance.


Hiro Yanagimachi, Japan

best bespoke shoemakers in the world

Another key player in the emerging Japanese market, London Cordwainers College alumnus Hiro Yanagimachi has been offering a truly bespoke service since 1999. Each pair of shoes is fully handmade at the Tokyo atelier, with made-to-order, made-to-measure, and bespoke services available (the latter involving a last made from scratch). Incorporating Japanese traditional Japanese design principles, materials are selected to beautify with age while handmade details are celebrated.


Crockett & Jones, England

The brainchild of brothers-in-law Charles Jones and James Crocket, the heritage British company was founded in Northampton in 1879 and today is owned and operated by the fourth generation of the founding families. Employing an eight-stage construction process and utilising the tried-and-tested Goodyear welt, Crockett & Jones shoes have been worn by two generations of the royal family—King George VI and Prince Charles—as well as unofficial royalty in Daniel Craig’s James Bond who sported them in Skyfall and Spectre. Pillars of traditional British style, Crockett & Jones footwear is primarily ready-to-wear, however there is also a made-to-order service available which allows for personalisation.


Alfred Sargent, England

Another Northamptonshire shoemaker (are you sensing a pattern here?), Alfred Sargent was founded in 1899. Handcrafted in the traditional English style, Alfred Sargent specialise in Goodyear welted dress shoes.



Who are the best bespoke shoemakers in the world?

John Lobb, Paolo Scafora, and George Cleverley are among the best bespoke shoemakers in the world.

Who are the best Japanese shoemakers?

Japan is steadily emerging as a key market for bespoke footwear. Yohei Fukuda and Hiro Yanagimachi are two of the best Japanese bespoke shoemakers.

What is the oldest shoe brand in the world?

The oldest shoemaking company still currently in operation is Ed Meier. Founded by Hans Mayr in Munich, Germany in 1596, the company began as a fully bespoke service, primarily serving the supper class and going on to earn a Royal Warrant through its service to the Saxon royal house, the House of Hohenzollern-Sigmaringen, and the Bavarian royal house. At the beginning of the 20th century, Ed Meier expanded into ready-to-wear footwear.


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Escape from the Ordinary

Ponant, the luxury cruise line known for its meticulously planned itineraries and high-end service, ups the ante on their upcoming European Journeys that promise an unrivalled exploration of the Mediterranean.

By Robb Report Team 19/02/2024

Not all cruises are created equally. Ponant, the luxury cruise line known for its meticulously planned itineraries and high-end service, ups the ante on their upcoming European Journeys that promise an unrivalled exploration of the Mediterranean. From the stunning Amalfi Coast to the pristine Greek Islands, the narrow Corinth Canal to the picturesque Dalmatian coast, historic Istanbul and beguiling Malaga, each destination is a unique adventure waiting to be unravelled. With Ponant, these aren’t just locations on a map; they’re experiences that come alive with the intimate knowledge and insight that their expert guides provide.

Ponant’s luxury cruises are renowned for their individuality, with no two journeys the same. This is not by chance. Itineraries are scrupulously designed to ensure that each passenger is left with a feeling of having embarked on a journey unlike any other.

Athens-Venise. Photograph by N.Matheus. ©PONANT

In 2025, their fleet will set sail for a combined 56 departures from March to October, exploring the dreamy locales of Greece and the Greek Islands, Malta, Italy (including Venice and Sicily), Croatia, France, Turkey, Spain and Portugal. These European Journeys offer an intimate encounter with the Mediterranean, its people and culture. As you cruise in luxury, you’ll dive deep into the heart of each destination, exploring historic sites, engaging with locals, sampling scrumptious cuisine and soaking in the vibrant atmospheres.

The company’s small, sustainable ships, which can accommodate from as few as 32 to 264 guests, have the exclusive ability to sail into ports inaccessible to larger cruise liners, affording privileged entry into some of the world’s most treasured alcoves. Picture sailing under London’s iconic Tower Bridge, crossing the Corinth Canal, or disembarking directly onto the sidewalk during ports of call in culturally rich cities like Lisbon, Barcelona, Nice and Venice, among others.

Photo by Tamar Sarkissian. ©PONANT

This singular closeness is further enriched by destination experts who unravel the tapestry of each locale’s history and traditions.

Onboard their luxurious ships, every guest is a VIP and treated to refined service and amenities akin to sailing on a private yacht. Whether at sea or ashore, their destination experts guarantee a fascinating experience, immersing you in the rich cultural and historical diversity of each region.

Indulge in the finest gastronomy at sea, inspired by none other than gastronomic virtuoso and Ponant partner, Alain Ducasse. Each voyage offers an expertly crafted dining experience, from a-la-carte meals with perfectly matched wines by the onboard Sommelier at dinner and lunch, to a French-inspired buffet breakfast, featuring all the favourite pastries, fresh bread and quality produce.

Chef Mickael Legrand. Photograph by NickRains. ©PONANT

For a more intimate discovery, consider Le Ponant, with its 16 high-class staterooms and suites—perfect for private charter—sailing eight exclusive routes between Greece and Croatia, offering guests unparalleled experiences both onboard and ashore. Ponant’s commitment to crafting unforgettable experiences extends beyond itineraries. Aboard their ships, the luxury is in every detail. Unwind in opulent cabins and suites, each offering private balconies and breathtaking views of the azure water and destinations beyond.

Ponant’s upcoming European Journeys are more than just cruises—they’re your passport to a world of cultural immersion, historical exploration, and unrivalled luxury. Don’t miss this opportunity to embark on the voyage of a lifetime: the Mediterranean is calling.

To book European 2025 sailings visit au.ponant.com; call 1300 737 178 (AU) or 0800 767 018 (NZ) or contact your preferred travel agent.


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Saint Laurent Just Opened a New Bookstore in Paris. Here’s a Look Inside.

The chic new outpost is located on the city’s arty Left Bank.

By Rachel Cormack 14/02/2024

Saint Laurent is taking over even more of Paris.

The French fashion house, which only just opened an epic new flagship on Champs-Élysées, has launched a chic new bookstore on the Left Bank. Located in the 7th arrondissement, Saint Laurent Babylone is a mecca of art, music, literature, and, of course, fashion.

The new outpost is a tribute to the connection that Yves Saint Laurent and partner Pierre Bergé had to the Rue Babylone, according to Women’s Wear Daily. (In 1970, the pair moved to a 6,500-square-foot duplex on the street.) It is also inspired by the house’s original ready-to-wear boutique, Saint Laurent Rive Guache, which opened in the 6th arrondissement in 1966.

The exposed concrete in contrasted by sleek marble accents. SAINT LAURENT

With a minimalist, art gallery-like aesthetic, the space is anchored by a hefty marble bench and large black shelves. The raw, textured concrete on the walls is juxtaposed by a soft blue and white rug, a wooden Pierre Jeanneret desk, and sleek Donald Judd stools.

The wares within Saint Laurent Babylone are the most important part, of course. Curated by Saint Laurent’s creative director Anthony Vaccarello, the collection includes everything from photos by British artist Rose Finn-Kelcey to books published by Saint Laurent itself. Some tomes on offer are so rare that white gloves are required for handling.

The store also offers an enviable selection of records that are no longer being pressed. Highlights include Sade’s Promise, Kate Bush’s Hounds of Love, and the debut studio album of electronic band Kraftwerk.

Other notable items on the shelves include Leica cameras, chocolates made in collaboration with pastry chef François Daubinet, prints by Juergen Teller, and brass skull sculptures. You’ll also find an assortment of YSL merch, including pens, lighters, and cups.

To top it off, Saint Laurent Babylone will double as an event space, hosting live music sessions, DJ sets, book readings, and author signings over the coming months.

Saint Laurent’s latest endeavor isn’t exactly surprising. With Vaccarello at the helm, the Kering-owned fashion house has entered new cultural realms. Only last year, the label established a film production company and debuted its first movie at Cannes.

The space is fitted with a Pierre Jeanneret desk and Donald Judd stools.

Perhaps Saint Laurent film reels and movie posters will soon be available at Babylone, too.

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The Best Watches at the Grammys, From Maluma’s Jacob & Co. to Jon Batiste’s Vacheron Constantin

Music’s biggest names sported some outstanding watches on Sunday evening.

By Rachel Mccormack 08/02/2024

Weird yet wonderful watches punctuated this year’s Grammys.

The woman of the moment, Taylor Swift, who made history by winning Album of the Year for an unprecedented fourth time, wore an unconventional Lorraine Schwartz choker watch to the annual awards ceremony on Sunday night. That was just the tip of the horological iceberg, though.

Colombian singer-songwriter Maluma elevated a classic Dolce & Gabbana suit with a dazzling Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon and a pair of custom, diamond-encrusted Bose earbuds, while American musician Jon Batiste topped off a stylish Versace ensemble with a sleek Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon. Not to be outdone, rapper Busta Rhymes busted out a rare Audemars Piguet Royal Oak for the occasion.

There was more understated wrist candy on display, too, such as Jack Antonoff’s Cartier Tank LC and Noah Kahan’s Panerai Luminor Quaranta BiTempo.

For the rest of the best watches we saw on the Grammys 2024 red carpet, read on.

Maluma: Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon

Maluma busted out some truly spectacular bling for this year’s Grammys. The Colombian singer-songwriter paired a classic Dolce & Gabbana suit with a dazzling Jacob & Co. Astronomia Tourbillon and a pair of custom, diamond-encrusted Bose earbuds. The sculptural wrist candy sees a four-arm movement floating in front of a breathtaking dial adorned with no less than 257 rubies. For added pizzaz, the lugs of the 18-karat rose-gold case are invisibly set with 80 baguette-cut white diamonds. Limited to just nine examples, the rarity is priced at $1.5 million.

Asake: Hublot Big Bang Essential Grey

Nigerian singer-songwriter Asake may not have won the Grammy for Best African Music Performance for “Amapiano,” but did wear a winning Hublot Big Bang at Sunday’s proceedings. Released in 2023, the Essential Grey model is made purely of titanium for a sleek, uniform feel. The 42 mm timepiece was limited to just 100 pieces and cost $37,000 a pop.

John Legend: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Selfwinding

Multihyphenate John Legend wore a legendary Audemars Piguet with silky Saint Laurent on Sunday evening. The self-winding Royal Oak in question features a 34 mm black ceramic case, a black grande tapisserie dial, and striking pink gold accents. The watchmaker’s signature is also displayed in gold under the sapphire crystal. The piece will set you back $81,000.

Jon Batiste: Vacheron Constantin Overseas Tourbillon

American musician Jon Batiste received four nominations but no wins at this year’s Grammys. The “Butterfly” singer can take solace in the fact that he looked ultra-sharp in Versace and Vacheron Constantin. A tribute to the spirit of travel, the Overseas Tourbillon features a 42.5 mm white-gold case, a bezel set with 60 baguette-cut diamonds, and a blue dial featuring a dazzling tourbillon cage inspired by the Maltese cross. Price upon request, naturally.

Fireboy DML: Cartier Santos

Fireboy DML’s outfit was straight fire on Sunday night. The Nigerian singer paired an MCM wool jacket with a Van Cleef & Arpels bracelet, several iced-out rings, and a sleek Cartier Santos. The timepiece features a steel case, a graduated blue dial with steel sword-shaped hands, and a seven-sided crown with synthetic faceted blue spinel.

Noah Kahan: Panerai Luminor Quaranta BiTempo

Best New Artist nominee Noah Kahan wore one of Panerai’s best new watches to Sunday’s festivities. The Luminor Quaranta BiTempo features a 40 mm polished steel case and a black dial with luminous numerals and hour markers, a date display at 3 o’clock, and a small seconds subdial at 9 o’clock. The timepiece can be yours for $14,000.

Busta Rhymes: Audemars Piguet Royal Oak Offshore

Legendary rapper Busta Rhymes busted out a chic Audemars Piguet for this year’s Grammys. The Royal Oak Offshore Chronograph in question is distinguished by a 42 mm rose-gold case and a matching pink méga tapisserie dial with an outer flange for the tachymeter scale. The face is fitted with three black subdials, large black numerals, and a black date display at 3 o’clock. You can expect to pay around $61,200 for the chronograph on the secondary market.

Jack Antonoff: Cartier Tank Louis Cartier

Producer of the year Jack Antonoff took to the red carpet with a stylish Cartier on his wrist. The Tank Louis Cartier in question appears to be a large 33.7 mm example that features an 18-carat rose-gold case, a silvered dial with black Roman numerals and blued steel hands, a beaded crown set with a sapphire cabochon, and a brown alligator strap. It’ll set you back $19,900.

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This 44-Foot Carbon-Fiber Speedboat Can Rocket to 177 KMPH

The new Mayla GT is available with a range of different powertrains, too.

By Rachel Cormack 03/02/2024

We knew the Mayla GT would be one of the most exciting boats at Boot Düsseldorf, but a deep dive into the specs shows it could be downright revolutionary.

The brainchild of German start-up Mayla, the 44-footer brings you the blistering performance of a speedboat and the luxe amenities of a motor yacht in one neat carbon-fiber package.

Inspired by the go-fast boats of the 1970s and ‘80s, the GT sports an angular, retro-futuristic body and the sleek lines of a rocket ship. Tipping the scales at just 4500 kilograms, the lightweight design features a deep-V hull with twin transversal steps and patented Petestep deflectors that help it slice through the waves with ease. In fact, Mayla says the deflectors decrease energy usage by up to 35 percent while ensuring a more efficient planing.

The range-topping GT can reach 185 kph. MAYLA

The GT is also capable of soaring at breakneck speeds, with the option of a gas, diesel, electric, or hybrid powertrain. The range-topping GTR-R model packs dual gas-powered engines that can churn out 3,100 hp for a top speed of more than 100 knots (185 kph). At the other, more sustainable end of the spectrum, the E-GT is fitted with an electric powertrain that can produce 2,200 horses for a max speed of 50 knots. The hybrid E-GTR pairs that same electric powertrain with a 294 kilowatt diesel engine for a top speed of 60 knots (111 km/h/69 mph). (The GT in the water at Boot sported two entry-level V8s good for 650 hp and a top speed of over 70 knots.)

The GT is suitable for more than just high-speed jaunts, of course. The multipurpose cockpit, which can accommodate up to eight passengers, features a sundeck with sliding loungers, a wet bar and BBQ, and a foldaway dining table for alfresco entertaining. Further toward the stern, a beach club sits atop a garage with an electric transom door.

The garage has an electric transom door. MAYLA

The GT is even fit for overnight stays. Below deck lies a cabin with a double bed, sofa, wardrobe, vanity, and en suite. You can also expect a high-tech entertainment system with TVs and premium audio.

As for price, the GT with the entry-level powertrain will cost between $2.7 million and $2.9, depending on the final configuration. (You can fine-tune the layout, hull color, and interiors, naturally.) Interested buyers can set up a sea trial with Mayla, with test-drives set to begin this spring in Europe.

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Red Centre

First Nations artist Shaun Daniel Allen joins forces with Chopard to create a timepiece inspired by the Australian landscape.

By Horacio Silva 29/01/2024

Shaun Daniel Allen does not look like your typical collaborator on a prestige watch. For one, Shal, as he prefers to be known (“There are many Shauns but only one Shal,” he explains), is more heavily tattooed than your average roadie. His youthful appearance, bad-boy ink and all, belies his 38 years and leads to a disconnect. 

He recounts being recognised on the street recently by a journalist, who, unable to remember his name, shouted out, “Chopard!” “I was with a friend,” Shal says, holding court in his apartment in Sydney’s inner city, “and he’s, like, ‘What the hell? Does that happen to you often?’”

Perhaps because of his body art, he reasons, “People don’t put me and Chopard together.” It’s not hard to understand the confusion, Shal adds; even he was taken aback when Chopard reached out to him about a potential collaboration a little more than a year ago. “When I first went in to see them, I was, like, I don’t know if I’m your guy. I’m not used to being in those rooms and having those conversations.”

He’ll have to adapt quickly to his new reality. Last month Chopard released Shal’s interpretation of the Swiss brand’s storied Alpine Eagle model, which in itself was a redo of the St. Moritz, the first watch creation by Karl-Friedrich Scheufele (now Co-President of Chopard) in the late 1970s. 

Previewed at Sydney’s About Time watch fair in September, to not insignificant interest, and officially known as the Alpine Eagle Sunburnt, the exclusive timepiece—issued in a limited edition of 20—arrives as a stainless steel 41 mm with a 60-hour power reserve and a burnt red dial that brings to mind the searing Outback sun. Its see-through caseback features one of Shal’s artworks painted on sapphire glass.

When the reputable Swiss luxury brand approached Shal, they already had the red dial—a nod to the rich ochre hues of the Australian soil at different times of the day and gradated so that the shades become darker around the edges—locked in as a lure for Australian customers.

Shal was charged with designing an artful caseback and collectible hand-painted sustainable wooden case. After presenting a handful of paintings, each with his signature abstract motifs that pertain to indigenous emblems, tattoos and music, both parties landed on a serpentine image that evoked the coursing of rivers. “I have been painting a lot of water in this last body of work and the image we chose refers to the rivers at home,” he says, alluding to formative years spent at his grandfather’s, just outside of Casino.

It says a lot about Chopard, Shal points out, that they wanted to donate to a charity of his choosing. “Like everything else on this project,” he explains, “they were open to listening and taking new ideas on board and it actually felt like a collaboration, like they weren’t steering me into any corner.”

In another nice touch, a portion of the proceeds from sales of the watch will go to funding programs of the Ngunya Jarjum Aboriginal Corporation—an organisation, established in 1995 by Bundjalung elders, whose work Shal saw firsthand after the 2022 eastern Australia flood disasters ravaged their area. “Seeing Ngunya Jarjum suffer from the floods,” he says, “and knowing how much they do for the community on Bundjalung Country was heartbreaking. I want to see Bundjalung families thriving and supported.”

So what’s it been like for this booster of Australian waterways to be swimming in the luxury end of the pool? “I’ve done a few things with brands,” he offers, referring to the Louis Vuitton project earlier this year at an art gallery in Brisbane, “but nothing on this scale. It’s definitely fancier than I’m used to but I’m not complaining.” Neither are watch aficionados.

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