Most of the shoes we buy as style enthusiasts come from England, Italy, and the United States, but other countries have rich shoemaking traditions as well. Japan, for example, has a vibrant community of bespoke cordwainers, who are renowned for their sleek styling and shapely lasts. Certain countries in Central Europe also uphold a long Austro-Hungarian tradition, which includes making a unique style known as the Budapester — a brogued derby with high walls, large medallions, and slightly upturned toes.
In the past few weeks, as fall has been approaching, I’ve been eyeing a few of those Central European makers. They’re not always pretty to look at online, but once you imagine them underneath cavalry twills or corduroys, and paired with a thick and heavy tweed jacket, they suddenly make more sense. They’re country shoes, standing opposite to the slick city oxfords that men wear with business suits, and are great with casualwear (tailored or otherwise).