Best Foot Forward ..

The world of footwear has never been so polarised between a wide selection of elegant leather city shoes, to an infinite choice of practical and comfortable, sometimes more sporty styles. However despite the selection available it still is difficult to locate shoes that are seriously good looking but which also feel amazing to wear. Such a pair of shoes could really be a very smart option ..

The British tradition of fine footwear dictates that a new pair of shoes should be broken in with considerable discomfort, expecting the foot to fit the last . Mark has designed a shoe last that actually follows the contours of the foot. The fine quality leathers contribute to the feeling of comfort that you will notice as soon as you put the shoes on.No wonder that so many wearers of Mark Stephen shoes come back again for their next pair

Only the finest fine grain leathers are used , which combine both durability and comfort. Mark's preferred choice is the box calf leather tanned with chromium salts that gives a characterful fine grain texture seen only on the very best quality shoes .

Cutting the paper patterns which Mark has developed to follow the real contours of the foot. It should not be necessary that the leather is forced into shape by the foot , but instead that it feels immediately comfortable and ready to go as soon as put on.

Great precision is required stitching together the leather pieces without lumps or creases. Mark designs his shoes with the minimum of seams , which means that they must be cut from very large pieces of leather - such as with his best-selling one piece leather shoe. This is a costly undertaking but is essential to the comfort and durability of the footwear.

Stretching the leather uppers using Mark's specially designed foot last . Everything is made by hand usually traditional processes, using tiny nails rather than being glued.

Stretching the leather over the last which follows the contours of the foot. Using this method the shoe will comfortably fit the foot rather than the other way round.

The shoes are ready for the leather soles to be attached .

grinding the metalwork down before attaching the leather sole to be sure that there is no unevenness that could cause the shoe to be uncomfortable or fall too pieces.

Attaching the compound leather sole to the upper of the shoe. Leather is the most durable material for the soles and heels . Mark adds a non-slip heel feature that will prevent the wearer from slipping in wet or icy weather.

Burnishing the leather to bring out the richness of colour and shine of the leather also adds personality and ensures that no two pairs are exactly alike. The leathers chosen by Mark are the ones that will grow more supple and more rich over time , with a patina of richness that builds up through subsequent wax polishings.