“The trend for ‘investment shoes’ — those with quality craftsmanship — is one seen in all markets”
the quality of the shoes and accessories we are stocking,” explains Christopher. This range includes brands such as Crockett & Jones, Edward Green and GJ Cleverley — shoes, it should be noted, that carry an average price point of about $1000. In Australia, shoes — indeed, suits — that fetch such prices would have been unheard of a few years ago. But as Betts explains, the trend for “investment shoes” — those with quality craftsmanship and materials from specialist brands such as John Lobb and Church’s— is one seen in all markets. “A younger generation is investing in andappreciatingthecraftsmanshipthatgoesintoproducing elegant, timeless footwear,” he says. Adds Bertouch: “It’s part of the whole shift in menswear to a more classic way of dressing that has been happening over the past few years, and it’s really evident in footwear.”
Bertouch believes the shift is a result of education. “Guys shop in a totally different way to women. In North America, 60 to 70 per cent of online or offline sales have web-research prior to shopping; and if you took women out of that statistic, I imagine it would be closer to 90 per cent. Men like to know where the nubuck is coming from, where it’s made, how it fits, how to take care of it. They’re realising that shoes are worth spending money on.” Fukoyoshi adds: “Men, more so than women, have always been more interested in quality, history and longevity. Look at how they shop for suits. If it’s something that they’re going to wear every day and will last a long time, why not invest the money? It was inevitable that this trend would trickle down to footwear.” As the adage goes, I’m too poor to buy cheap shoes.