Oct 31, 2013

From Apprentice to Shoemaker: The J.Fitzpatrick Footwear Story

Many men who have interest in shoes probably know who...

Many men who have interest in shoes probably know who is “The Shoe Snob” aka Justin Fitzpatrick. Last week while visiting London I decided to go and meet the guy and at the same time take one of my pairs to get some little “facelift”.

To put it shortly, after his entrepreneurship studies Justin packed his bags, headed to Italy and started to get trained as a shoemaker with famous Stefano Bemer in Florence. After a year of apprenticeship and hard learning of bespoke shoemaking the man headed to UK, started his own blog and got to set up a shoeshine stand at Gieves&Hawkes on Savile Row No. 1 in London. After two years of work and a lot of polishing, many ideas, designs and plans early this year 2013 Justin released the first range of his own footwear brand - labeled as J. Fitzpatrick Footwear.



Took my old Cheaney double monks for Justin to give them a nice little buff.

imageLaurelhurst slip-on and saddle plain-toe Stefano featuring a nice mirror shine.



At his “stand” at Gieves&Hawkes Justin offers in general 4 different levels of shoeshine and care. According to him most of the clients usually wants the "military parade shine" which basically means few hours of work per pair but because of multiple polishing and drying phases will take couple of days from the point client drops off the shoes.

Unfortunately I had only limited time to spend in London so I this time settled for the "express buff". In case you wanna give the service a try, be fast as Justin is shortly moving out from Gieves&Hawkes to set his range available at Timothy Everest, another tailoring house located in London. He will also drop the shoe care services to be able to fully concentrate on the development of the range of his own.

Keep on reading to see more about the shoes.

What about the range?

The shoes offered are Goodyear-welted, made in Spain on bespoke lasts that Justin created himself, priced between £300 and £350. Shoes with leather soles have closed channels and rubbered soles open channels.

To describe in general it’s a collection of classic shoe models with a touch of modern style in the form of colors, material choices and small details that subtly differentiates the range from most of other players in the field.

There’s not just basic oxford and blucher models but also formal classics such as the balmoral boot spiced with modern materials as denim, tassel loafers, one-piece slip-ons in calf leather and denim as well and ankle boots with detachable fringes just to mention a few. Overall the collection at the moment includes around 12 different models.


imageThis is definitely one of the most elegant tassel loafers I’ve seen and the key piece of the collection in my opinion.


Three-eyelet chukkaboot, comes with detachable fringes. A model to wear with either jeans or a suit.

imageLaurelhurst slip-on loafer in black box calf.

imageDetails to show the unique material combinations on the backside of the slip-ons.

Take care of your shoes

Finally some small shoe care instructions pointed out by Justin at the Shoe Snob: One single and most important element that one can do to keep their shoes preserved is to make sure that you brush your shoes each evening after use and see that you have a pair of shoe trees in them. In addition to that a regular polishing (no more than once every two weeks) and conditioning is necessary to ensure that the leather remains prosperous and lasting as long as it should. A good (mink oil based) leather conditioner and a good set of wax and creams will keep your shoes in top condition. The cream basically for reproducing color and care and wax for shine and protection.




Justin has also launched his own range of shoecare products and based on personal experience these are top tier stuff. And colorful laces to spice up your footwear rotation.

imageThis is what this man can do.


And this is what he did in just 5 minutes.

Read more about shoes and how to take care of them at The Shoe Snob Blog.

Read the original ›

tagged menswear, jfitzpatrick, the shoe snob, london, savilerow, dresslikea