With prevalent countries like England and Italy, it comes as no surprise that Europe has a significant shoemaking heritage. Indeed, their craftsmanship is revered around the world.
Therefore, we’ll examine what’s on offer throughout the whole of Europe and provide you with a detailed top 10+ list of the Best Men’s European Shoe Brands:
- Gaziano & Girling [England]
- Ace Marks [Italy]
- Idrese [Spain]
- Taft [Spain]
- John Lobb [France]
- Carmina [Spain]
- Laszlo Vass [Hungary]
- Joseph Cheaney & Sons [England]
- Salvatore Ferragamo [Italy]
- Antonio Meccariello [Italy]
- Aubercy [France]
- Trickers [England]
- Maglieriapelle [Turkey]
- Saint Crispin’s [Romania]
- Jan Kielman [Poland]
- Carlos Santos [Portugal]
You can use the links to jump ahead or scroll down to read more. You can also learn more about the Europe’s shoe-making history and industry below.
What Are The Best European Shoe Brands For Men?
After creating our guide to the best Spanish-made shoes, we’ve overhauled this page to include shoemakers from Italy, France, and England. Please note that the brands below haven’t been necessarily featured in any order of preference.
- Workshop: Kettering, Northamptonshire
- Services: Bespoke, MTM, MTO, RTW
- Pricing: $1,200 – $7,000 [Official Site]
Combining their 25 years of experience in the English shoemaking industry, Tony Gaziano and Dean Girling founded their eponymous brand in 2006. As a trained architect, Tony’s eye for aesthetics brought something new to footwear. Meanwhile, Dean has shoemaking in his blood and was born into the craft.
Together, they operate from both their Jermyn Street shop and Kettering workshop near Northampton. Although they retail a rich plethora of benchmade ready-to-wear shoes, you can also opt for made-to-measure or even true bespoke footwear.
"A pedigree specimen of English shoemaking, Gaziano Girling's attention to detail and exquisite traditional craftsmanship are unmistakable.."
Read More: Gaziano Girling Brand Guide
Although their share share a passion for shoemaking, Ace Marks is a remarkably different brand to Gaziano Girling. Founded in 2012, Ace Marks offers genuine Italian-made shoes crafted in a fourth-generation family-run factory near Rome.
As a direct-to-consumer online brand, Ace Marks is able to reduce its production costs. Consequently, the brand offers exceptional value for money by providing excellent quality at an extremely attractive price point.
When Jawad Malik founded Idrese, his objective was to provide people with Goodyear-welted shoes for less than $300. Furthermore, the shoes were to be made with nothing less than full-grain Italian leather.
His ambitious project came to fruition as recently as 2019 and the shoes are manufactured in Almansa, Spain. With Idrese, the sky’s the limit and you can design your own dream pair of shoes from $335.
The result is a beautifully-crafted dress shoe that is designed and crafted according to your own specifications. Idrese also offers a wide selection of sizes and widths, which caters to people that are often overlooked by shoe brands.
Founded by the Utah-based husband-and-wife team, Kory and Mallory Stevens, Taft Clothing works in partnership with a family-operated factory in Spain. In its short history, Taft has earned significant critical acclaim as well as a cult following for its radical designs.
Despite its eccentric styles, Taft faithfully incorporates traditional craftsmanship and their shoes feature either Goodyear welting or Blake stitching. Similarly, they are crafted using premium grades of calfskin leather as well as carefully sourced fabrics.
Unless you’re a seasoned shoe enthusiast, you may well think that there is only one John Lobb. However, Hermès acquired the London shoemaker’s Paris boutique in 1976. As a result, they are now separate entities.
Only the French John Lobb offers ready-to-wear shoes, which are showcased in the link above. Nevertheless, these are actually produced in a traditional English factory in Northampton. Meanwhile, all of their made-to-order and bespoke shoes are completely hand-crafted from their Parisian workshop.
Carmina is one of Spain’s most celebrated shoemakers. Located in Mallorca, it is the fruit of more than five generations of shoemakers! After enjoying success with a brand on mainland Spain, José Albaladejo Pujadas returned to the Balearic island to launch Carmina in 1997.
Today, he runs it with his wife and children. They produce ready-to-wear shoes from $315 as well as made-to-order products that can be customised online from $585. Additionally, they are known to work with exotic leather. Needless to say, the resulting price points become a little bit more premium!
Founded in 1978, László Vass’ Hungarian workshop is critically acclaimed for producing high-quality ready-to-wear and custom shoes. Each of his shoes are hand-made using traditional techniques while employing refined leathers sourced from selected tanneries.
A descendant from several generations of shoemakers, Vass embraces Austro-Hungarian shoe-making heritage while incorporating contemporary aesthetics. Today, he continues to run his company alongside his daughter, Eva. However, he is already training his grandchildren, the next generation to carry the Vass torch.
Although Cheaney has been operating since 1886, it didn’t become a household name until the mid-20th century when it began producing shoes under its own name. In 1966, it was purchased by Church & Co, another well-known as celebrated brand.
However, when Church & Co was acquired by Prada, Jonathan and William Church, heirs of the Church name, subsequently bought Cheaney! Today, it operates as a traditional shoemaker that has been restored to its former glory.
An icon of the roaring twenties, Salvatore Ferragamo was known to rub shoulders with some of the biggest names in Hollywood. In many ways, Ferragamo’s influence can be credited with popularising Italy’s reputation for craftsmanship.
Today, his brand continues to be operated by his extended family, which includes an impressive team of 23 grandchildren. Although Ferragamo will work in partnership with a number of other factories throughout Italy, its premium shoes continue to be produced in the Florentine workshop that first opened in 1927.
After two successful years, Antontio Meccariello sold his shares in a designer brand that he had launched with Ciro Paone and Antonio de Matteis. He subsequently returned to his Airola workshop and focused on crafting his premium shoes.
Although he has an exciting range of ready-to-wear shoes, Meccariello also offers made-to-order, made-to-measure as well as fully bespoke services at very competitive prices.
Recently recognised as a “Living Heritage Company”, Aubercy is one of the last independent shoemakers in Paris. Founded in 1935, it’s now operated by the the founder’s grandson. Nevertheless, his parents can still often be found in the workshop!
Every shoe is crafted directly in their Parisian workshop with a hand-sewn welt by the in-house artisan, Yasuhiro “Yasu” Shiota. Therefore, even their ready-to-wear offerings are in limited quantities. Meanwhile, they also offer made-to-order, made-to-measure, and fully bespoke services.
Tricker’s is best-known for having created the world’s first country boot. However, it still plays a major role in England’s shoemaking industry today. Founded in 1829, it’s still a family-run business and was even awarded a Royal Warrant on its 160th anniversary by Prince Charles.
Their celebrated boots and shoes start at $530 and are produced using a Goodyear welt as well as a traditional wooden shank.
Although not technically a part of Europe, we would be amiss to omit Turkey. Given the millennia of shared influence between Turkey and Europe, its shoes deserves a mention.
Husband and wife duo Tarik and Gaye Özkan founded Maglieriapelle in 2010 following their 25 years of experience in the leather industry. Meaning “woven leather” in Italian, their collections are inspired Italy’s shoe-making tradition but they have developed their own distinctive Turkish identity.
Maglieriapelle’s Istanbul workshop consists of only 15 artisans who produce the brand’s shoes entirely by hand with a unique finish thanks to a hand-painted patina. Despite the labour-intensive production process, Maglieriapelle prides itself in providing high-quality yet competitively affordable handmade shoes.
Read More: Maglieriapelle Brand & History Guide
Named after the Patron Saint of shoemakers, Saint Crispin’s is a unique brand that was founded in 1985. Inspired by Viennese shoe-making tradition, the brand incorporates styles and techniques from its German, Anglo-Saxon and Mediterranean neighbours.
Originally, the workshop catered only to bespoke shoes while designing footwear for international brands. In 1992, the company was registered in Austria with a discerning clientele in Germany and Italy. By 2008, Saint Crispin’s had fully introduced its ready-to-wear collection.
Today, Saint Crispin’s continues as a family business that operates from its Romanian workshop. With a staff of 28 artisans, the brand manufactures a selective quantity of only 1,500 shoes a year.