Shoes that make a statement.
I’m not a religious person, but I do believe in shoes. Sure, I’m all for the new wave of what you might call fast casual footwear; I own three pairs of All Birds, because there’s nothing wrong with a $100 pair of kick-around shoes. But even in the age of anti-suit fashion—especially in this dressed-down era—I believe in dress shoes, which is to say, beautiful, stylish, expensive, handmade, custom shoes. You can be a gentleman without beautiful shoes, but they certainly help.
The ones I’m admiring right now are made by Stefano Bemer, a small Italian company founded by its namesake in 1983 and now owned by Tommaso Melani, whose family launched a handbag business in post-war Italy. Melani is one of those dashing Italians who makes dressing beautifully look effortless, but he’s such a warm and modest man, you can’t really get upset about it. He’s also passionate about craftsmanship, and you can see his commitment to perfectionism in the shoes that Stefano Bemer makes. Whether they are ready to wear, made to order or bespoke, these are shoes made with the finest materials, an obsessive attention to detail and a devotion to technique. If you can—they cost about $3,000 to $4,000—go the bespoke route. (Ready to wear are in the $1,000 range.) The process requires two separate fittings and four to eight weeks, but the end result is worth the wait: These shoes make a statement. Plus, you’ll enjoy the pleasure of good conversation and good espresso with Tommaso Melani at his Manhattan atelier. stefanobemer.com