Its no big secret that Robb Report readers have a particular penchant for shoes. Stories covering the pairs you should be adding to your collection and the brands you need to know next constantly catch your attention, and this year was no exception. Here, we break down our 10 most-read stories–just in case you have room for another pair or two in what we are sure is your already well-stocked wardrobe.
10. The Classics
Though the shoe world is not immune to being stormed by trends (we’re talking about you, dad sneakers), there are a few pairs–namely the brogue, oxford, loafer, and monkstrap–that we’re willing to guarantee will always have a place in every collection. In this story, we broke down the must-have pairs in every category and the brands that do them best.
9. John Lobb’s 2018 Artisan Series
John Lobb has been one of the top bespoke purveyors for over 150 years, and its annual Artisan Series puts all of the brand’s knowledge to the test. This year, the resulting pairs had a surprising twist: They were completely seamless. Each of the five made-to-order styles is crafted from just one continuous piece of leather, an impressive–and supremely sharp–feat of engineering.
Out of all of the brands that came onto our radar this year, Parisian label Carvil was one of the ones that really caught your attention. And for good reason–the cobbler’s classic, dandyish shoes have been a favorite of rock stars and silver screen heart-throbs for more than half a century. Even its original Triomphe loafer is every bit as covetable today as it was when it was first introduced in 1952.
7. Tod’s No_Code
When Italian brand Tod’s–known best for it’s louche leather and suede driving shoes–debuted an edgy new look this summer, you certainly took note. The label launched its new No_Code project with a pair of black leather-and-neoprene sneakers, a bold style meant to set the streetwear–inspired tone for subsequent seasonless (and semi-random) drops under the No_Code umbrella. Whether the retail experiment works remains to be seen, but there’s no denying that the sneakers have been a crowd pleaser.
6. Scarpe di Bianco
Italian shoes are cult-classics for a reason. After all, it’s hard to beat the pedigree of brands like Santoni and Fratelli Rossetti, both of which are rooted in centuries-old cobbling traditions. But this year, under-the-radar brand Scarpe di Bianco gave these heritage houses a serious run for their money. The label leads a pack of young brands moving the needle in Italian aesthetics: its shoes reference all of those classic codes of Italian style (think muted but rich patinas and form-flattering shapes), but are built around innovative technology that allow them to feel more like your favorite pair of sneakers than your go-to dress shoes.
5. Eco-Chic Sneakers
Adidas is not often a brand that catches our attention–we admit we’re definitely more interested in a fine pair of loafers than the latest must-have basketball shoe–but based on how many people read our story, this year, its Ultraboost Parley LTD sneakers certainly caught yours. That’s because the breezy white and blue running shoes are made using 11 plastic bottles picked up off the beaches by Parley for the Oceans, an organization that has pioneered upcycling waste found in and around the oceans into decidedly fashion-forward shoes and clothing. Going green has never looked so good.
4. Behind the Scenes at APL
Hot on the heels of established performance brands like Adidas is the wildly successful APL. The label burst onto the scene in 2010 when it debuted the first pair of sneakers scientifically proven to actually make you jump higher and run faster (they were banned by the NBA for giving players an unfair advantage), and in the subsequent near-decade twins Adam and Ryan Goldston have helped create the now-booming luxury sneaker market. In this story, Robb Report sat down with the pair to discuss how they built their business and if it’s really possible to pull of sneakers with a suit.
3. Robb Report‘s Definitive Shoe Guide
How much do you really know about your favorite accessory? In our definitive shoe guide, we put your knowledge to the test–digging into the history of the 10 styles we think every man should have in his closet. And just incase our recommendations for the pairs and brands that do each style best, we threw in a definitive list of our favorite bespoke purveyors for good measure.
2. The Best British Brands
Like their Italian counterparts over on the continent, the Brits have a long history of fine cobbling. In this story, we narrowed the field to the four U.K.-based brands every fashion-forward man needs to know. Collectively, these brands have 400 years of experience handcrafting some of the finest shoes found anywhere in the world–and are more than happy to put that knowledge to good use for you today, as they are able to engineer just about any style you can dream up.
1. Stefano Bemer
This year, we (rather generously) uncovered Florence’s best-kept shoe secret: Stefano Bemer. The small label has been a favorite of those-in-the-know since the 80s, when Bemer himself would painstakingly hand-made every commission (actor Daniel Day Lewis spent the better part of a year studying under him while preparing for a role). Today, Tommaso Melani is at the helm, and is carefully expanding the cobbler’s supremely well-heeled footprint, launching its first ready-to-wear styles earlier this year. Here, wave you a peek into his vision for the iconic brand.