FrontRunners: Footwear Fetish

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Steven Taffel wants you to stop suppressing your footwear fetish. “Men enjoy great shoes as much as women do; they just don’t talk about it,” says Taffel, who recently opened Leffot (www.leffot.com), a men’s footwear boutique in Manhattan’s West Village. The shop carries seven European brands of handmade shoes (priced from $610 to $1,315), including the first U.S. offerings from English shoemaker Gaziano & Girling and the French brand Aubercy. Taffel, a fashion-industry veteran who previously worked at Bottega Veneta and Prada, serves customers himself and will help design custom-order shoes. His shop resembles a dining room, with a 14-foot-long, solid-ash table sitting under a crystal chandelier and displaying footwear like an array of delectable treats. Chairs covered in elegant white slipcovers are set against the room’s walls. “It’s meant to be inviting,” Taffel says of the room’s decor, “but masculine at the same time.”

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