I don’t frequent men’s shoe stores. However, I was strolling through the West Village with one of my best male friends, Christopher, who has more of a shoe fetish than me or any of my girlfriends – and so with bellies full of a good brunch, what did he want for dessert? Shoes, naturally. To feed his addiction, Christopher knows all of the best shoe boutiques in the city and swears on his favorite Aldens that Leffot is by far the very best – and so we set foot.
He was right. Enter Leffot, and you will feel like you have entered more of a shoe art gallery than some place you can actually purchase them. The ambiance is airy, sophisticated and so incredibly well-groomed, as are the sales people. To boot, they are totally unpretentious which is what you would automatically expect waking into such a refined space. On the contrary, the service is super-friendly, as is the owner, Stephen, who knows everything there is to know about footwear, leathers and the like. As a bonus, every pair of shoes at Leffot can be customized and made-to-order if they don’t slip on cozy as a glass slipper. They also sell accessories like cufflinks, polishing kits, poker chip sets and other man-friendly goods.
When it comes to designers, prepare to move to the head of the class; meaning, get ready to step up a level from the likes of Prada, Ferragamo and the like and into the realm of classier, more tasteful designers like Alden, Edward Green, G&G, Corthay, Wolverine and more. With higher craftsmanship comes higher prices, so don’t expect to spend less than several (yes, several) hundred bucks here – but do it with a smile, because it is one hundred percent worth it. Not only will you look better, but you’ll feel better - shoes of this caliber are made to give your foot a hug. Moreover, they’re crafted to last, so expect to take care of them and have them for many years.
My friend was in search of the perfect simple black shoe for an upcoming wedding and he found it courtesy of designer John Lobb. The “Riviera” is a travel, unlined loafer made of suede with cemented soles and, according to my friend, is incredibly lightweight and cozy. Since they are suede, said the sales guy helping us, the shoe will eventually form to the shape of the foot making them feel like he isn’t wearing shoes at all. Christopher fell in love instantly and had zero qualms about paying $725 for them.
As my friend tried on, I browsed on and eyed a few pairs that I found gorgeous including their St. Crispin’s 545 Kiltie Loafers. Handmade in Vienna, this pair features a monkstrap kiltie in olive calfskin with a wood-pegged waist. In layman’s terms: the shoe has no lacing, but is closed with a buckle and strap embellished with a tasteful tassel. The shoe resembles a classic Oxford, but is a little less formal. The price: $1,665. Yikes, I know, but if I were a man I might just go for it. I also adored a pair of Edward Green ankle-high boots called the “Galway”. At $1,400, the shoe flaunts deep dark oak and walnut colors and is made of calfskin, Dainite soles, and a tapered toe. To me, the boots straddle the fence between rugged and ultra-refined, making them perfect to either play in or show off at more dressy (but casual) occasions.
If I were a man, Leffot would be where it’s at for me. For now, I’ll accompany Christopher on his frequent binges-after-brunch anytime. If you’re in the market for some of the most highly crafted and over-the-top chic footwear, head to this store now. On a side note, Leffot often hosts trunk shoes, too – so be on the lookout for the next time they do so – it will take your shoe experience to a whole new level.