FrontRunners April 2015: Great Strides

The British shoemaker Oliver Sweeney ( 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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