A few weeks ago, I did a podcast about Comparing Shoe Brands and how I feel that so many people are often seeking to justify the best based on someone else’s opinion when really one’s favorite must be personal and for reasons most likely not tied to stitches to the inch on the sole, fiddleback waists, and/or final price. At the end of the day those things do not move us emotionally but rather are only a small detail in a much larger picture. So, that being I thought I would tell the world my favorife shoemaker and let you know why that is.
Naturally, I am my own favorite shoe brand but for the sake of giving you a perspective of my favorite brand outside of myself lets delve into the brand that has been the biggest influence in my journey as a shoe blogger/shoe designer/maker etc. For most of you this probably won’t come as a surprise as if you have followed me for a long time you will probably have seen this brand more than most, at least in reference. And that brand is Gaziano & Girling.
Gaziano & Girling was the first brand that I was really exposed to in this realm of footwear. I vividly remember the day that my father brought me a Robb Report that he had saved for me. He told me ‘I saved you this magazine as I know there is something you will really want to see in there’ and that was G&G’s first serious interview about their new brand. It was an epic piece that highlighted their diamond cap Regent oxford in what I believe was the vintage cedar calf. When I saw it, I was blown away and immediately knew that I wanted to make shoes like them, so to speak.
Later in life, I was fortunate enough to actually have made a relationship with Tony (Gaziano) and Dean (Girling) and learned a lot from them about shoes, how to make them as best as possible and the industry as a whole. Tony shared with me a lot on the side of last and pattern making. I really understood through him what makes a shoe beautiful. These subtle details that people do not even realize they are appreciating when they are looking at a shoe.
My time with Tony really opened up my mind to how I saw shoes and I could then easily spot a well made shoe in a matter of seconds. I also used that knowledge to create my only line as best as I could with the skill of shoemaking I had available at the price I wanted to sell at. His teachings were invaluable to me and once I learned them I understood why Gaziano & Girling shoes are so alluring. Tony doesnt miss a detail and knows how to perfectly execute a pattern on any given last. And that is what makes the best shoes in the world, in my humble opinion.
Dean shared with me more of the aspects of the industry and factory production as he headed up the RTW side of things. He helped me a lot in understanding implementations that I could do in my own factory that could further help in the making of my own brand of shoes. Dean also taught me about profit margins, wholesale selling, factory production and running the business.
During my 7 years living in London I ended up becoming good friends with both Tony and Dean. They are like my big brothers. I have owned many of their shoes. They fit and feel great. They look good and are amazingly made. The DG70 is probably my all time favorite last. All around, pound-for-pound they are my favorite shoes. Are they the best I have ever seen? No. Are the the best value for money? No. But all around they make a perfet shoe that is justified in its price for what you are getting in return and for where the shoes are made. And to top it off Tony and Dean are amazing guys.
And all of the above is why they are my favorite shoe brand in the world. It has nothing to do with price, level of details in the finishing or any of that inconsequetional stuff to what makes a shoe great, IMHO. They execute perfect patterns, make well-shaped lasts that fit good, feel good and have owners that are great people.
Learn more: https://www.gazianogirling.com/