Fashion

These Shoes Make You Feel Like You're Walking On A Soft Cloud

Harrys of London combines perfect design with the latest technology to create fine English shoes.
IMAGE Harrys of London
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Here are the things that may go through your head when you hear the words fashion and tech: Alicia Vikander in Ex Machina. The Matrix. The Apple Watch looks like a metal lump on a strap. Snapchat Sunglasses are really just cameras mounted on your face. Barbarella. Those Marty McFly-inspired Nike Mag sneakers are the only techie shoes you’ll consider, and that’s just for nostalgia. In other words, very cool idea but kind of funny.

Now, meet Harrys of London. The shoemaker has figured out how to employ all the benefits of technology without giving off the feeling that its lace-ups or loafers can launch into space. 

The secret is by making the tech not the (visual) point—even if it is the point. “Design,” says CEO Steven Newey,  “is extremely important to us,” so there are magnificent creations like a burgundy boot with a softly tapered toe for the fashion-inclined, or a penny loafer in an unobtrusive hand-polished satin finish for the frequent flyer, or an already luxe leather sneaker made even more sweet by suede panels for the man whose goal in life is to exude an aura of perfect leisure all the time.

This is great stuff, but what you should really do is put it on. “It’s like you’re walking on a slight cloud,” describes Newey. The CEO is somewhat of an expert in foot feelings, having walked in many a beautiful shoe by the different luxury companies he was part of before Harrys. But, as he relates, “they basically killed my feet.” 

When Newey finally tried a pair of Harrys, he couldn’t believe it: "I feel less tired and I stay in my shoes for much longer. The technology makes a big difference.” Flip over the Downing loafer to find its colorful Vibram sole in a blue or a seasonal hue like raspberry pink or racing stripe green (a black is an option for the risk-averse). These specialty outsoles, which are exclusively made for the company, keep you upright on even the trickiest surface. 

Newey was, in fact, wearing a Downing with a Windsurfer sole (designed by Vibram for the slippery streets of London) when he found himself locked outside his house one rainy day, and the only way to get back in was through an open door on the terrace. The rain was pouring and the roof was pitched, but he managed to shuffle on the perilous incline and then into the building. Next day, he called up Vibram to let them know that they saved his life. 

In the same way that you value a watch for its split-second flyback chronograph or geek over a decades-old V6 engine of a particular Alfa Romeo, Newey finds that you are fascinated with their footwear’s technical aspects: the rubber-injected soles of its dress shoes, the Technogel footbed, which responds to the weight and shape of your feet, or the water- and stain-resistant Tech Leather.

Another observation: When it comes to shoes, men respond to comfort and practicality. “This is why the Downing or the James (a sneaker) works. You can wear them with a suit or a pair of chinos or jeans on the weekend,” he adds. 

You are running from A to B, from work to kids, from desk to date, and you’d very much like to go  quickly from one thing to the next. These shoes allow you to do so, and did we mention that they look good? 

Rustan’s Makati

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Clifford Olanday
Associate Editor, Esquire Philippines
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