Galsworthy bootmaker copy

I was recently sent this beautiful little story by John Galsworthy. Although written back in 1911, it has many echoes in the shoemaking of today: an industry everyone thinks is dying; the dignity of those dedicated to their craft; even the ‘gold-brown leather’ of Russian reindeer. 

“He was a little as if made from leather, with his yellow crinkly face…and his guttural and one-toned voice; for leather is a sardonic substance, and stiff and slow of purpose.”

You can read the whole story, short as it is, by enlarging the images above and below. 

Galsworthy copy

Galsworthy2 copy

by John Galsworthy3 copy





Qualityby John Galsworthy4 copy








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Simon, I have to admire your love of things made with skill, care and honesty. On the one hand, it harks back to another era, yet on the other you’re a standard bearer for the future. In a world of limited resources, buy the best you can, not the most you can.


Did J. Adler send you this?


Is it just my screen? Top image is sharp but all the rest are too fuzzy to read.

By the way Simon, only just found your Cleverley bespoke compendium. It’s the best description of the bespoke process that I’ve ever read. You really must publish that somewhere in one of your forthcoming books.


It was my phone, Simon! As a fellow craftsman I have to say it’s an extremely touching extract. It certainly still rings true today.

Nicolas Stromback

Hey Simon, I’m thinking of ordering my first pair of MTO shoes this year. I have read many of your posts on the different brands here, and I like the styles of G&G, Alfred Sargent, Edward Green and some of the French brands like Corthay and Aubercy. At this point I havent decided which brand to go for and was wondering if you have a recommendation for a first-timer?

I know you’ve recommended to spend money on shoes, but might there be a value in starting out with say, Carmina or C&J and then move up in price for my next pair?

Nicolas Stromback

I have spent money on shoes before, and own a few good italian made pair. But never anything that has been MTO. I’d like to make something classic, but with according to my own specifications in terms of color and style, but maybe not bespoke at this point, mostly due to financial reasons. Also, my feet are more wide than long, so Im hoping for a better comfort with MTO.

Nicolas Stromback

Ok thanks. Do you know where to get Alfred Sargent handgrade in London? I cant seem to find it online.


On the subject of books, following this and Bruce Boyer, have you seen Bernhard Roetzel’s new book ‘Bespoke’. I wondered whether you had met Bernhard because, as with Bruce, you seem to share many interests (the promotion of style, the publicising of artisans, an academic approach to the understanding of manufacturing etc.). On another matter, when considering your bespoke collection its value must now be considerable (!), I thought a follow up on the issue of storage & insuring bespoke might be of interest.


Not commented before but as a Galsworthy fan I have to say thanks for having the imagination to offer this lovely piece of writing on your forum.