Justin Fitzpatrick’s story is a rather unlikely one. Some could argue a bit absurd and or drawn out; but that would be a significant disservice to Justin. As he years ago set out to do one thing and everything he has done since setting that goal has been about reaching his goal and fulfilling his dream, which was to start his own shoe brand. Fortunately, after a few years of research, planning and working in the industry Justin launched his own brand, J. Fitzpatrick Footwear, in March of 2013.
The steps he took between setting the goal and achieving it included working retail at Nordstrom, picking up everything to move from the US to Italy to apprentice under Stefano Bemer (Justin knew no Italian at the time), start The Shoe Snob blog (one of, if not the best blog on men’s dress shoes and also one of the blogs that inspired me to start my own blog) and move to England where he shined shoes at Gieves & Hawkes which has since moved to Timothy Everest. I am no doubt missing a few of his other steps and adventures but I think you can get the idea by now; he has been focused and driven to reach his goals – much of which he has shared on his blog. You may also read more about him and his line at at an interview he did with Crisp Attire and another at Keikari.
What Justin does so well is take some of the best classic shoe styles and put his signature on them. Which quite frankly, is what most designers and brands do. However, I would argue that Justin does a much better job of it than most. He pushes the limits and adds a nice mixture of color and texture in the right places. If you are looking for the most simple and classic dress shoes like a cap toe or wingtip, J. Fitzpatrick is not the best place to look. But if you want to go outside of the box just a bit and do it in a subtle and elegant way; look no further.
Justin was nice enough to send me a pair of Wedgewood boots ($500 in the US or $600 for this in the EU, shipping will cost about another $25) to review. I was particularly excited to receive the Wedgewood for two reasons. First, it would be my first dress boot. Second, because Justin is such a advocate of dress boots I thought it very fitting that he would send me one.
If you will remember, I purchased two pair of shoes from J. Fitzpatrick last winter and posted some photos of them; however, I sadly never got around to putting up a review. But as a quick summary over the past year the shoes have been worn pretty regularly and held up exceptionally well. Which you would expect for shoes priced in the $450 (or $540 if you are in EU, that whole V.A.T. thing). They also have done well garnering compliments from both sexes, for those of you into that type of thing. Although I feel that boots are typically looked to as being more for fall and winter wear (ie cooler weather) I think these boots have a sleek enough look to work year round.
It is important to keep in mind that J. Fitzpatrick shoes go by UK sizing, which is generally a size down from US sizing. For example, I normally wear a 10US so I went with a 9UK.
I really could not be happier with the Wedgewood boots from J. Fitzpatrick (the same can be said for the Laurelhursts and Phinneys I ordered a year ago). I think the last, the upper and the mating of the two look excellent. The quality of leather and construction is also excellent. My only complaint, if it could be considered that at all, would be the price, being as high as it is ($500 range) it is more than most men are looking to spend. So I realize that for some of you, J. Fitzpatrick Footwear is out of your budget; which I understand. However, what you are getting for that price is an exceptional shoe, one that is certainly worth the money. I also realize that some of the styles will not be for everyone, and admittedly, there are a few that I would not wear. But it is up to you to decide which style are for you and if you find some you like, you will not be disappointed in your acquisition. So yes, if these shoes are in your budget I most certainly recommend them.
I look forward to what the future holds for Justin and J. Fitzpatrick. His story is unlike any other that I know of and his passion and dedication to his brand and craft are admirable. All of which I hope will be a foundation for future successes. If you have any questions, comments or experience of your own with J. Fitzpatrick shoes please feel free to hit the comments section.
Note: FYGblog did receive the boots being reviewed for purpose of review. As always, the utmost effort was taken to maintain an unbiased stance on the brand and product at hand.
Glad you provided this review. Thanks to the FYGblog, I’ve become a regular reader/viewer of The Shoe Snob Blog — and agree that it is an excellent blog for those that are interested in fine shoes. I will also say that Justin seems to be a real gentleman. I’ve emailed him a couple of times with questions about his shoe line and he’s always been prompt and thoughtful with his replies. His shoe line is a little more expensive than what I typically buy (Allen Edmonds or Alden), but I plan to save up a bit and try either his Stefano model or the Wallingford model.
Also, I highly recommend reading/viewing his tutorial (on the Shoe Snob) on how to properly polish/shine shoes. I followed his instructions and the results were fantastic.
Thanks for the review. I’ve lusted over the Magnolia in Burgundy Calf for a while. Alas I can’t own them because all he offers is normal sizes and my size is 11.5 *and* I have a rather high instep *and* wide feet. 🙁
But I can’t be too hard on him; few other shoe makers address the issue either. I was even at Allen Edmonds yesterday — a brand known for reasonable quality and lots of widths — and none of their attractive shoes are made on lasts that fit me (shoes that don’t fit make my feet go numb, so I really can’t just live with a bad fitting shoe.)
Note it is possible to find a fit; I’ve found the Clarks Dorset series fit me like a glove although they don’t hold a candle to Justin’s shoes in quality. Sadly though, for some reason they have discontinued them so I’ve purchased some extra pairs to extend the runway.
I’d really love to see a semi-custom program from shoemakers like Justin with a reasonable up-charge that allowed for creating a shoe based on a specific last. I don’t think there’s a need to have a last made specifically for my foot (or most others), I think shoemakers could develop a collection of lasts where each would address a common type of foot “abnormality”, e.g. high instep, wide or narrow, and then a combination of high instep and wide or narrow.
So I’m not posting this to troll or rant but in hopes that Justin (or others) will see this and figure out a way to address those who would happily pay their prices but who can’t because of fit.
Thanks again for the post and I’ll continue to admire his shoes with a lust unrequited.
Thank you for your thoughts. Sounds like a bit of a predicament. I’ll make sure Justin is made aware of your comments. In the meantime, hope you find some more aesthetically pleasing shoes than the Clarks that are still comfortable when the time comes.
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I’ve just purchased the Stefano red/ black calf Oxford – I’ve they are as beautiful as the pictures I will be very happy.
I spoke to Justin personally yesterday with regards to specifics (orthotic inserts that I require) and he was very helpful. Looking very much forward to receiving them next week.
With regards to Mike’s comments about customised shoes, I do believe that Justin does offer this service but I am unaware of the additional cost. However, I am aware that customised shoes are non-returnable.
I like your shoes but wonder about the sizing. I take an 8 UK, which in a Tods fits me perfectly. Are your shoes true to size? The reason I ask is that some manufacturers, like Ferragamo, have wild size variances and are NOT true to size.
Email Justin at firstname.lastname@example.org to ask about sizing.