When college friends Ben Earley and Evan Fript started their banking careers in New York City, they couldn’t find smart-looking, high-quality footwear that met their discerning standards. So they decided to explore starting their own shoe brand. The ambitious duo set out on several trips to Italy to explore family-owned factories, ultimately partnering with a shoemaker in Naples who has created for them a collection of classic styles, including loafers, monk straps, tassel loafers, and lace-ups, in an array of richly hand-painted leathers.
Rather than selling their footwear in traditional retail channels, they launched Paul Evans last year exclusively through their website. Priced on average from $350 to $450, the shoes are made by artisans, many of them second- and third-generation cobblers. “We want to stretch and improve a guy’s shoe wardrobe,” says Earley, who admits to being among the set of young professionals who appreciate good quality and style and especially love shoes. (www.paulevansny.com)