What Makes a Nettleton Shoe?

two black nettleton shoes

Nettleton Shoe Facts

Why Nettleton Shoes – Nettleton Shoes are much more than just a pretty face. There is much deep inner beauty which is appreciated by gentlemen that know fine things and fine living. Below you will find a detailed description of our shoe construction and what you receive when you invest in a Nettleton Shoe. We have letters in our archive dating from the early 1900’s from WW1 soldiers and their experience with a Nettleton Shoe, letters from the U.S. White House from Presidents that have worn our product. Our Clients have worn their Nettleton shoes for many years. Because they can be re-soled and reconditioned we know of cases where a father or grandfather passed on his gently worn pair of Nettleton Shoes to a son or grandson.

people making shoes

Nettleton Shoes – The way we make them is the difference.

It all starts with the “last” (the physical form of a foot over which the leather is pulled to give the shoe the style and fit that is desired).It is important to note that all Nettleton Shoes are made on combination last. This generally means that the width of the shoe at the ball is twice the width of the heel so that you get a fit that is close to the profile of the human foot. At Nettleton, our last have been in place for generations to give the consistency in fit, style and durability we have always been known for. We have, of course, kept up with updating the last to match the changes in gentlemen’s feet over 140 years of being in business.

We use the finest in calf skin leathers which have been tanned by the finest tannery in France. Nettleton Shoes are made from all natural products which make for durability, beauty and breath-ability. You know it is an authentic Nettleton Shoe by looking for our logo which is on the inside, side counter of the shoe. Look too for the Nettleton blue bobbin thread that runs along the inside stitch on the top line of the shoe. Look for the “dog ear” cut on the rear shoe counter, where possible we use this on every Nettleton Shoe; it makes us a touch more unique. Where possible, the tongue of the shoe is part of the original cut of the leather, it doesn’t have to be stitched on. 

Our shoes are hand finished, never sprayed, so that you start with a hand-rubbed natural surface meaning you will not have a buildup of non-natural materials on the beautiful outside leather upper. When we take a piece of leather, we make as few cuts as possible. We don’t get as many shoes out of a hide as others but we believe this is important. The fewer pieces that you have in a shoe the stronger and longer lasting it will be.



The outsoles of a Nettleton Shoe are themselves a statement in quality, durability, and practicality. The outsole is produced in Germany by a company with a reputation for providing the highest quality product available. In normal wear you should see our outsoles lasting up to eight times longer than other shoes you may have. The leather is tanned using an 'oak-bark' process which involves using biodegradable tanning agents such as bark and fruit. This method results in a product that is long lasting and dermatologically kind to your feet. The outsole is hand cut which allows for more precise finishing in the manufacturing of the shoe. It is hand stained for a beautiful finish. Our outsoles are never painted as with many other manufacturers. You can see the quality and flawlessness of the leather used. The leather is waterproof, abrasion resistant, tough yet flexible and very comfortable to wear. Because of its natural fiber structure it absorbs perspiration and helps with the breath-ability of the shoe.



The heel on a Nettleton Shoe is comprised of hand crafted stacked layers (four of them) of the same leather as the outsole. We take a double stacked piece of rubber for the outsole and cut away half of it for the bottom leather piece. The whole affair is glued and held in place by no less than fifteen brass tacks which wear at the same rate as the rubber and leather so that you do not find yourself sliding when you walk. Look at the breast of the heel (this is the curved inside edge of the heel) you can see how it all stacks up and comes together. This type of construction is known as either an English heel or a McAfee heel. All this fuss over hand crafted heels and outsoles are one of the reasons a Nettleton Shoe can be reconditioned many times over for a very long life.

Leather Lining

Leather Lining

All Nettleton Shoes have a full leather lining, as much as possible it is made from a solid leather piece so as to provide minimal seams for strength and wearing comfort. The leather lining is not being used to cover up any synthetic materials in the shoe construction. We have nothing to hide. Notice where the side counter and the rear counter lining meet. You will find a butt seam so that the stitching ends up between the layers of leather and not protruding out where it might aggravate your foot during a day of wearing. Feel the inside top of the shoe for the smoothness and lack of annoying seams.

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