Looking for Robb Report UK? Click here to visit our UK site.

Bespoke List: 9 Bespoke Designers Elevating the Humble Shoe (and Other Accessories)

Never underestimate the power of a perfectly personalized accessory to transform your wardrobe.

George Glasgow Jr. Photo: Courtesy Jamie Ferguson

Creating an automobile, timepiece travel experience, or wardrobe tailored specifically to your tastes requires professionals of uncommon skill. It also demands an investment of time on your part. To simply your search for the personal touch, we’ve assembled a directory of select purveyors who have mastered the art of the custom-made—this article is a part of the 2017 Robb Report Bespoke List.

George Cleverley

In the 1950s, Winston Churchill approached the late British shoemaker George Cleverley with a request: a formal brogue that didn’t need to be tied. The resulting shoe, a discreet slip-on with trompe l’oeil laces and elasticated sides, was dubbed the Churchill and remains one of the brand’s best-sellers to this day. It is just one example of the personal touches that have made discerning men such as Cary Grant and Tim Cook loyal Cleverley customers.

Now run by George Glasgow Sr.—who trained under Cleverley—and his son, George Jr., it is a rare, intimate family operation that produces everything by hand in London while managing to serve clients across the globe. The Glasgows make semiannual trips to 13 cities across the United States (in addition to locations throughout Europe and Asia) to personally meet customers and guide them through the bespoke process. It begins with copious foot measurements and then continues with a selection of style, leather, and details like the lining and sole. Once a wooden last is carved to the client’s measurements, the shoes are assembled. Finally, after a preliminary fitting, they are delivered in 7 to 9 months. “The traditions in which we operate today are the same as they were 100 years ago,” says George Jr. “We’re unique in that the same guy that takes your measurements will make your shoes and any future shoes. Even with how fast the world is moving today, nothing will replace a bespoke shoe created by a master craftsman.”


For more than 120 years, Berluti has been a go-to for elegant shoes with a painterly patina. Unlike many other shoemakers, Berluti will often create an entirely new last for each style of shoe a customer orders.


Maison Bonnet

Founded in 1950, this Parisian lunetier has made custom glasses for the likes of Yves Saint Laurent and Le Corbusier. Tortoiseshell, horn, or acetate is hand cut to fit your facial measurements.

John Lobb

The esteemed shoemaker offers a traditional bespoke service, drawing on its 151-year history as well as a made-to-measure program that allows customers to tweak dozens of existing styles to their liking.


A fourth-generation family business based in Sweden, Hestra brings new meaning to the phrase “fits like a glove.” A variety of styles, from dress to skiing, can be customized and hand sewn to fit a client’s specific measurements.

Hand-sewn Hestra gloves

Hand-sewn Hestra gloves  Photo: Courtesy Hestia


This French shoemaker is favored for his sleek, modernist designs that can be custom made in everything from rich chestnut suede to glossy electric-blue alligator. The shoes are handmade in his Paris atelier.

Albertus Swanepoel

The New York–based milliner, known for whimsical riffs on classics, works one-on-one with clients to design headwear that fits like a Savile Row suit. And unlike most bespoke orders, Swanepoel can turn your hat around in just 10 days.

Albertus Swanoepel

Albertus Swanoepel hat  Photo: Courtesy Albertus Swanoepel

Ex Nihilo

Utilizing both technology and traditional perfumery, Ex Nihilo allows customers to choose from three fragrance variations as the foundation used to blend their own custom scent, and they can also personalize the bottle cap with everything from onyx to mother-of-pearl.

Il Micio Di Fukaya Hidetaka

A Japanese native working in Florence, Fukaya creates sculptural shoes that marry exquisite craft with avant-garde design. His dedication to detail means he produces only 50 to 60 bespoke pairs annually (+39.055.212295).

More Men's Fashion