I have come to the conclusion that shape alone is the key to a beautiful shoe. No matter how silly looking everything else might be, an elegant shape will at least command your attention and even if you may not appreciate the upper, you will at least admire the shoe for its shape. You know this when you look at a boring black brogue like this one shown and are blown away by its simplistic and elegant nature. But that elegance is simply created by its shape, not only in the last, but also in way that the upper hugs the last. This is one reason why one would go for bespoke shoes, because no RTW shoe, no matter how good it is, can match the shape of a hand lasted bespoke shoe.
This one by TYE shoemaker (Japanese), is a perfect example, as I am not sure that I have seen a more beautiful, simple black shoe. There is really nothing special about the upper. I have seen it done by every single English shoemaker, but the way the upper rounds and hugs those sharp curves on the outside of the vamp down to the toe box, is simply exquisite. It does not pretend to be a chisel toe either. It is one through and through with the sharp edges starting in the quarter of the shoe, directly below the facing line on the side. That detail creates a last that has character, not something so plain-jane and expected. Its melding between soft and sharp is brilliant and it is just another reason why I love Japanese shoemakers!