Woven leather shoes are this season’s freshest addition to your footwear lineup.
A man’s shoe wardrobe is a lot like a winning sports team, full of star players like cordovan brogues, suede desert boots and minimalist sneakers. Any successful team, however, can still benefit from an infusion of new blood every now and then. As such, consider woven leather footwear the most promising draft pick this spring.
“Woven leather, tastefully incorporated into a shoe design, lends an element of sophistication and refinement to the overall aesthetic,” says Kevin Eisenberg, Harry Rosen’s Senior Footwear Buyer. It’s not just about aesthetics, he adds. “When positioned around the upper of the shoe, woven leather also serves a practical function by adding softness, allowing the upper to move with the contours of the foot.”
Perhaps no other brand is as synonymous with woven leather as Bottega Veneta, whose signature Intrecciato weave appears on almost all of its leather goods, including a wide range of breezy casual footwear. Salvatore Ferragamo is newer to the woven leather lineup, but it is just as serious about craftsmanship, employing Italian artisans to hand-weave the uppers of its tasteful selection of sneakers and driving moccasins. Ermenegildo Zegna, meanwhile, approaches its leather weaving with the same obsessiveness it applies to its revered textiles. Dubbed “Pelle Tessuta,” the brand’s signature method achieves an ultra-fine textured weave by plaiting thin strands of nappa leather on traditional looms
Many footwear connoisseurs can identify each brand’s woven leather at a glance. “Besides using various manufacturing methods, each brand offers a unique weave appearance, differentiating their product to the eye,” says Eisenberg.
The products themselves, from sneakers to loafers to slides, are just as diverse. While a pair of Bottega Veneta woven suede espadrilles may be ideal for poolside lounging in style, Zegna’s fine-woven tassel loafers pair excellently with a summer-weight blue suit. With so many promising prospects, your shoe roster may benefit from more than one new star player this season.