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FrontRunners April 2015: Great Strides

The British shoemaker Oliver Sweeney (oliversweeney.com) produces classic shoe designs that can incorporate such comfortable contemporary elements as lightweight rubber soles and durable yet pliable leather. Examples include the Walberswick derby brogue boot ($450, left) and Ashby derby brogue shoe ($395, right). These styles usually are made with heavier leather uppers and hard leather soles. The Brantham double monk shoe ($395, center), a style that originated in 15th-century European monasteries, features a traditional leather sole, but the treatment of the leather upper gives the shoe a modern look.

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