Get Legendary Shoemaker George Cleverley’s New Sneakers Before They Sell Out—Again
George Cleverley, the 64-year-old bespoke shoemaking brand, is a quietly glittering jewel in the lofty world of bespoke London shoemaking. As a result, it is the flame to which successful moths in London and Hollywood, be they actors or musicians (or your actual royalty) have fluttered for decades. Before George Glasgow, the current chairman, took over the shop in the mid-’90s, and for more than 30 years, the company was presided over by its founder, a legendary shoemaker who had been making bespoke shoes since the early 1920s.
Cleverley’s customers over the years included Winston Churchill, Rudy Valentino, Humphrey Bogart, Clark Gable, and many more. In the ’90s and beyond, George Glasgow added the likes of Bryan Ferry, David Bowie, Jason Statham, Kenneth Branagh, Sly Stallone, Anthony Bourdain, David Beckham, and Daniel Day Lewis to the mix. They came for Cleverley’s serious, grown-up shoes which—even today—come with a bit of attitude sewn-in thanks to a slim signature Cleverley last shape and toes that terminate in a rounded chisel tip. It was a detail that old Cleverley himself, with a twinkle in the eye, described as “suspiciously square.” It’s a history—and a customer base—that few would want to tinker with.
Yet in the past decade, Glasgow and his son George Junior (now creative director and CEO), while carefully preserving the brand’s DNA, have also added a little accessibility and a bit of spritz to the mix. English ready-made shoes come under the George Cleverley name through reputable stores and sites like Mr Porter. There is also a more expensive Anthony Cleverley line (with a high degree of hand make). There have been some successful collaborations too, including the embroidered Kingsman slippers the duo created for Matthew Vaughn’s movie series in association with Mr Porter.
Last month however, Cleverley, in response to repeated requests from its customers, went all out and released the Jack Trainer, its first ever sneaker, after five years of development. Sneakers!? Heaven forfend! The sky did not fall in. Instead, the first batch of 250 sold out in six hours. A second batch quickly followed suit on Mr Porter. Designed by George Junior himself, the Jack trainer is made in a refined, pared-down style complete with fine bespoke-inspired stitching—none of your dad sneaker nonsense here—which makes it equally wearable with a suit or jeans.
And, in a deliberate nod to sustainability, the Jack features soles made from a natural material called hevea milk harvested from the cao su or “crying wood” tree in Southeast Asia. The “milk” is a form of latex that is harvested from the living tree and set into sole molds, then cooked to stabilize it. Now available in five colors (some in leather, others in nubuck), the Jack range also extends to more expensive full bespoke versions (done via measuring and fitting appointments at Cleverley’s Mayfair premises) in a wider range of leathers including alligator. If, that is, you fancy the full rock-and-roll royalty treatment.
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