No great outfit should be worn without great shoes. To help make the right decision about what you should slip on your feet, Executive Style sought advice from 10 of Australia's most respected shoe experts.
There is nothing this collection of buyers, retailers, designers, makers and repairers don't know about quality footwear. We asked what shoes they would be most likely to put on their own feet.
Managing Director of Henry Bucks, Melbourne
Wears Church's Cowes Double Monk shoes, in walnut calf
"I am pretty hard on my shoes but Church's make incredibly solid shoes that look better with age and become like old friends. These double monks are a couple of years old but I have a few pairs that are around eight years old and are yet to need resoling. When it's eventually needed, you can send them back to Church's for a full refurbishment. They will re-line the heel and any other wear points, put them back on the last, resole and reheel the shoe and give them a full polish, hand burnish before sending them back, ready to carry on strong for another decade."
Co-founder of Feit shoe store, Sydney
Wears 'PNTHA Hi', a high-top sneaker by Feit
"This is a shoe we've been making for quite a while, basically since we started the company. The idea was to do a handmade version of a basketball shoe – the shape is particularly influenced by the first Air Jordan shoe. We use traditional methods but my brother [Tull] and I come from more of a streetwear background so my aesthetic is still in line with that. I like it when we apply these handmade techniques and natural materials to something that is a little more street."
David Jones men's footwear & accessories buyer, Sydney
Wears RM Williams Craftsman boots
"I was seven or eight when my parents bought me my first pair of RM Williams, my mother being from country Queensland it was the natural choice and I have never looked back! They are comfortable from the first wear and can be worn with anything, dress them up with a suit for the office or wear them with a denim tee and a blazer like I do."
Co-founder 124 Shoes, Melbourne
Wears brogue boots by Preventi in colour Ruggine (Oxblood)
"I love the wintery look of this boot, its depth of colour and hand burnishing. What I love most, though is the comfort and structure the Preventi triple-stitch goodyear welt construction gives me, as I'm on my feet all day. The softness of the washed buffalo upper is pretty special, too. These boots are ageing beautifully."
Co-founder 124 Shoes, Melbourne
Wears two-tone Double Monk Strap Shoes by Officine Creative in T-Moro brown
"Whilst monk strap shoes have now hit the high street, Officine Creative's interpretation is unique, left of centre and pure artisan luxury. I love the dip-dyed two tone effect and the absence of buckles. The handcrafted sole unit and the suppleness of the leather provide incredible comfort. These shoes always seem to draw attention and I can't seem to take them off my feet."
Head Buyer at Harrolds, Melbourne
Wears Maison Margiela Replicas, leather and suede sneakers
"These are my favourite shoes because they are iconic to the Maison Margiela brand and capture the essence of concept working alongside construction. As Martin Margiela designed the original Replica before he left the company, they provide a lasting connection both to the brand's origins and founder. This gives them an important place in sneaker history."
Cobbler and owner of Manfred's Shoe Lounge, Melbourne
Wears a selection of shoes by Jeffery West
"I'm a third generation cobbler and have been working with shoes for nearly 40 years. It was while working in Melbourne's Hub Arcade in the early 1990s that I first saw Jeffery West shoes. I instantly fell in love with their style – the shape, the artwork, the gothic references – but also the brand's high standards of construction and materials. As with all the best English shoemakers, nothing is spared. They use the best materials for every part of the shoe."
Bespoke shoemaker, Sydney
Wears bespoke, two piece, horse leather, zip-back boots by Andrew McDonald
"Like a lot of the boots I make, we go to a lot of trouble to make them look like they've already had a bit of age. The way I approach shoemaking is that the leather is the canvass we build the story on. The thing that really drives us is this constant experimentation with the material and the way we can create different effects, not only in the leather but also by challenging the boundaries of footwear design."
Owner of McCloud Shoes, Melbourne
Wears Finsbury Oxford Brogue in Espresso & Walnut by Joseph Cheaney & Sons
"Joseph Cheaney & Sons is an interesting story. In 2009 the company was bought by Jonathan and William Church, who used to be on the board of Church's, another highly celebrated English shoemaker. I've been to the Cheaney factory and I know the Church boys – known them many, many years – and with their shoes they've bought a slight touch of fashion into the realm of classic English shoe making."
Head Cordwainer at Wootten, Melbourne
Wears dark brown Balmoral Oxford, in calf and vintage lizard skin
"It's a classic balmoral style shoe. It's made from American vegetable-tanned cow hide, vintage lizard skin, and is hand-burnished. Over the last four years the business has really focused on designed dress shoes and it has been a great pleasure to offer a bespoke service for both men and women. The drawback of making other people's shoes is that I tend to ignore myself – I've only three pairs. However, I did make a pair for my wedding last year, I felt that was a pretty important day to wear shoes that weren't worn out."