Last fall Helsinki finally got the first retail shop concentrating purely on high-quality men’s footwear. In terms of men’s shoes Eliel’s Boutique has quickly taken its place as the number one store in town. Main reason for this is the man behind the store. Johan seems to have a real interest and desire to get Finnish men and women to understand, why you should invest in your shoes. And why you need to take good care of them.
I haven’t yet made any orders at Eliel’s. But I’ve already had many of current pairs taken care of by Johan. As I recently wrote a brief review about the selection and store for tyylit.fi, I thought to come up with short preview and pictures here as well.
High-quality shoes for men and women
There is one thing where Eliel’s particularly differs from many other retails stores. That is the fact that Eliel’s offers selection for both men and women. For ladies you can find range by Spanish Carmina, as well as by British brands Crockett & Jones and Sanders. In terms of manufacturers, I personally appreciate especially the first two brands. Both, Crockett&Jones and Carmina make shoes that, at least for my taste are look like women’s shoes. And not only smaller sized version of men’s. In addition the above mentioned the range includes sneakers by New Balance.
If you are looking for simple high heels, Eliel’s may not satisfy your needs. But if you are a lady looking for well-made shoes for business or some other purpose, I definitely suggest that you visit the store. And after long wait, it’s great that men in Helsinki have a place from where they can find gifts for their spouses who are interested in high quality shoes.
For men Eliel’s has at the moment selection from Crockett&Jones, Saint Crispin’s, Sanders, Paraboot and New Balance. In the future it is possible that the range is completed by Laszlo Vass. If that happens, the selection is starting to be quite perfect for a small Finnish retail store. Although I need to say that I’m personally not that big fan of Sanders shoes. And based on my discussions with Johan, it might be that the brand could actually be replaced by another. But we will see what happens in the future and what that brand might be.
Saint Crispin’s – top notch handmade footwear
Saint Crispin’s is simpy one of the best shoe brands in the world. In terms of quality, design and finish Saint Crispin’s shoes are ranked among the top tier on the market. Especially details and design are things that distinguishes them compared to for example the best British manufacturers. To learn more about the brand, check out the earlier article and interview “Saint Crispin’s – handmade shoes with utmost quality“.
Crockett&Jones – iconic and classic models
However, probably the best-selling shoe at Eliel’s now and in the future, is Crockett & Jones. And C&J is in my opinion a succesfull and good choice by Johan. In fact, Crockett&Jones actually have a pair nearly in every model category that I could consider wearing. Or which I could recommend for someone looking for advice while trying to find a new pair of shoes. Or what do you think, how does these model names sound? Lowndes, Cavendish, Coniston, Grasmere, Hallam, Pembroke or Tetbury. All these are highly recognized and approved models among menswear aficionados. And let me say this, if you are looking for the iconic cap-toe Oxford, take a look at C&J handgrade 337 last. You just can’t really find a more beautiful last in the same price range.
The most recent addition to the selection is French Paraboot. Especially if you’re looking for more casual footwear, this is definitely a brand worth to check out. The models such as Avoriaz, Michael and Chambord are classics in their own league.
Bags, umbrellas and handmade leather accessories
In addition to shoes and shoecare products Eliel’s also have a small and well curated selection of bags, umbrellas and leather accessorries. The gem of the range is definitely the Frank Clegg bags. Frank Clegg Leatherworks is recognized as one of the world’s leading designers and makers of exceptional luxury leather goods. Therefore I highly appreciate that Johan has decided to bring them to the Finnish market. And for example the signature duffle of the brand is in my opinion of the most nicest weekend bags there is.
All Frank Clegg products are made in their own work shop in Massachusetts, by a highly skilled team who share the pride of creating handmade products of unparalleled quality. I’ve the pleasure to meet the guys behind the brand in Florence during Pitti Uomo a couple of times, and based on the discussions I’ve had, I can guarantee that the love and passion towards every product they make is apparent.
Besides the Frank Clegg bags, Eliel’s carry a selection of Tusting bags, umbrellas by Fox Umbrellas and gloves made by Finnish brand Sauso. In addition Johan makes belts by hand himself which you can also have made by your measurements and details.
Eliel’s – passion and customer care
Despite the well-curated range of brands and beautiful products the best asset of Eliel’s is the care for customers and passion for shoes that Johan seems to have. I think it is not wrong to say that he seems to have a mission to get Finnish people to understand why you should invest in high-quality footwear and how you should take care of your shoes. And I think this is the best thing a retailer can offer for his or her customers. Every visit to the shop is an experience where you learn more through the discussions and interaction with the guy.
So briefly, if you happen to be or visit in Helsinki, make sure to check out the store.
Pictures by Juha Kortesalo.