The not-quite fifty year old firm of G.J. Cleverley & Co Ltd is "Savile Row's preferred bespoke shoemaker" according to the Savile Row Bespoke Association.
Founder George Cleverley joined Tuczek, a high society London shoemaker, after the first World War and remained there until 1958, managing the shop for much of that time. He began his own business shortly after leaving Tuckzek where he continued making some of the world's finest shoes until he died in 1991.The current partners, George Glasgow and John Carnera, worked with Cleverley for more than a decade and have maintained his high standard. I met with George Glasgow during his recent visit to San Francisco, part of the firm's month-long tour of the United States.
G. J. Cleverley makes 7-10 handmade pair of shoes each week as it has for many years. The shoes are made much as they were a century ago and to much the same acclaim. Just a few years ago, the U. S. magazine Robb Report rated the firm as the best shoemakers in the world for five years running.
I've been a Cleverley bespoke customer a couple of times over the years, and was interested to see the firm's samples, which had more of an emphasis on exotic leathers than I had noticed in the past. Glasgow said that the United States is Cleverley's most important market and the exotics are well received here. A Cleverley customer kindly allowed me to photograph the shoes he was wearing, a spectacular red-toned pair of Adelaide brogues made from the famous pre-1800 Russian Calf.
While I was looking at a pair of crocodile oxfords, another customer dropped off two pair of crocodile slip-ons for re-furbishing. Many of the shoes have the distinctive Cleverley shape, a chiseled toe that can be seen on well shod men in major cities around the world.
Cleverley's bespoke shoes are priced from about £1500 (the crocodile, sadly, are roughly double that amount). I'm dreaming of a pair of stitched toe oxfords, in black buckskin.