Lloyd & Haig Custom Built

Lloyd & Haig Custom Built Long Wing Bluchers

I was in New York City recently with the staff. I travel often but hadn’t been to New York in quite some time. It’s a great city. Not so great was my experience vintage shoe shopping there. Maybe I went to the wrong stores, but all the stores felt picked over. I returned to Seattle with my same old shoes.

I was surprised but not surprised by the number of Disney musicals in the Theater District. Lion King, Aladdin, Frozen. The shows were sold out. And the prices were high. They must be doing well. The high demand made me think that given the expanding Disney portfolio, there are more Disney musicals in the works. Likely Avengers or Star Wars based musicals since those are the primary Disney money makers and rich with potential shows. There could be Thor, Loki and their father Odin in a King Lear like plot but replaced with an uplifting and empowering ending instead of everyone dying. The Hulk (or Chewbacca), transformed in a My Fair Lady themed story. And possibly a Star Wars musical with Luke and Darth Vadar in a dance off that will determine the fate of the galaxy. I can’t wait.

Lloyd & Haig

One store I could not visit in New York was Lloyd & Haig Shoes. From what I understand, Lloyd & Haig was a long time New York area retailer but closed in the mid-1990s. They sold a line of shoes using the store name but primarily made by USA and English shoe makers. You can still occasionally find the shoes for sale on ebay. Most of their shoes have “Custom Built” imprinted within them.

There isn’t much first-hand history on Lloyd & Haig on the internet. Classic Shoes for Men has the greatest number of Lloyd & Haig shoes that are currently for sale and the site also has a brief description of the retailer:

I am grateful to Mr. Bill Tarlow, the last proprietor of the Lloyd & Haig who has generously provided much of the following detailed information about the history of this historic New York firm.

Lloyd and Haig was founded by two Englishmen in 1929 on Cedar Street in New York City. It failed shortly after and was taken over by Ed Meyer who a year later joined forces with Sherman Tarlow, Bill Tarlow’s father, a salesman for Alden Shoes in New York. They opened a store together on East 44th Street on the unusual proviso that the store show a profit in its first year otherwise Tarlow would be out and lose his investment. But successful they were and continued in partnership until Ed Meyer’s death in 1956. Bill Tarlow joined the firm a year later and was followed by his brother Alan 5 years later. The Meyer interests were purchased in 1958 and the firm became a family owned and run business. Sherman Tarlow died in 1977 and the firm continued under the direction of the two brothers. In 1959 Lloyd & Haig replaced Alden with Howard & Foster and the private label division of Bostonian as their suppliers. Hanover produced hand sewn loafers mainly for the firm and when they could not get cordovan leather they produced a plain toe oxford. In the early 70’s they were approached by a British firm of Joseph Cheaney and, at that time, reintroduced English shoes to their line but Lloyd & Haig designed almost all their own styles and chose materials to fit.

I have browsed vintage shoes extensively on ebay and I have seen hundreds of Lloyd & Haig shoes over the years. I have never seen an Alden sourced pair but they might exist out there. Most of the pairs on ebay are obviously (to me), made by Hanover or Cheaney. The Cheaney pairs will be marked with “Made in England”. Sometimes you will find the pairs tagged as “Floyd & Haig”. It’s okay, the Gotisch “L” is tough to read.

Lloyd & Haig Shoes

Also common (for Lloyd & Haig (which is uncommon)), are pairs made by FootJoy which was not mentioned as a manufacturer in the article above. FootJoy produced the pair of long wings in this article. Likely in the late 1960s or early 1970s. The design and construction of this Lloyd & Haig pair is identical to the FootJoy 77347 which I own and wear regularly. Below is an image of the 77347 from a 1970 FootJoy catalog.

1970 FootJoy catalog

There are a couple differences between two models, the Lloyd & Haig version has a smooth calfskin upper while the FootJoy uses pebble grain. The Lloyd & Haig model has a leather heel with v-cleat that looks mechanically constructed. The FootJoy pair has a rubber heel that I have found wears like iron. A space age, miracle product. Other than that, the pairs are identical.

Lloyd and Haig

Both pairs are well constructed with thick, wide Goodyear welted leather soles and are fully leather lined. The calfskin upper of the Lloyd & Haig is very supple. The leather quality is much better than you will find on modern Allen Edmonds pairs and on par with new Alden models. The stitching is good but not as good as a vintage Florsheim Imperial Kenmoor. And as far as long wings go, the design is not as handsome as Nettleton, Hanover, Florsheim or Alden models. At least, I don’t think so.

Lloyd Haig

I have found my FootJoy 77347 fits true to size. It is also a heavy pair of shoes as I have documented in my groundbreaking but controversial “Heavy Shoes” post.

Custom Built shoes

I purchased this Lloyd & Haig pair on ebay several years ago. It’s rare to find any new old stock (NOS) Lloyd & Haig pairs. One cool thing about the pair is that they came with a set of fitted shoe trees. The shoe trees are stamped with Lloyd & Haig and thus likely were purchased new with the shoes. Are shoe trees lasted? Not sure but they fit very snuggly in the shoes. 50 years might do that.

What does “Custom Built” mean? I believe it is a marketing term. The soles are also stamped with “Bench Made”. The Shoesnob blog has an article describing the levels of shoe craftsmanship and going by his descriptions, this pair likely falls in the upper end of the “Bench Made” classification.

Bench Made Shoes

Maybe Mr. Tarlow forgot or misremembered that Lloyd & Haig sourced shoes from FootJoy. Our memories are not perfect. Sometimes we find people have different and conflicting recollections of the past. But shoes don’t forget. And my whiskey hasn’t forgotten me. Because it’s my friend. Such a good friend.

Below are a few more photos. Enjoy.

Lloyd Haig

Floyd Haig

Lloyd Haig




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