During a recent visit to Shoreditch, London, I had the chance to drop in on the five-year-old brand Pointer Footwear. Housed in a space with both Edwin and Carhartt, founder Gareth Skewis — a well-connected professional that started his career skating in the streets of Johannesburg — now helms the growing label. His office, cluttered (in the best sense) with original artworks, Pointer samples, skateboards and Skewis' personal collection of deadstock shoes, throws off a vibe that suggests all the buzz around Pointer currently.

See more of Pointer Footwear's latest collection
Informed by art, music, design, skateboarding and history, Pointer flirts with current trends, but at core keeps to a classic, lo-fi aesthetic. In fact, Skewis (somewhat of a history buff), insists that all employees train at John Lobb, the legendary shoe maker that handcrafts custom shoes for the royal family in England and has been making shoes since 1829. Making sure that those that work for him have a deep knowledge of footwear history, ensures that they, as Skewis comments, "understand where the Oxford or Derby shoes came from and how that started. This gives us an understanding of the past to move forward with updated designs at Pointer."
Simply put, "in response to a market saturated with increasingly technical trainers and hyped-up limited-edition sneakers," Pointer aims to produce simple, attractive, casual footwear that most (both men and women) can get down with—whether they get the high-end line at Selfridges or visit the neighborhood skateshop for casuals.
Luckily, during our visit, Skewis had just received a few samples of their new Autumn/Winter '09 line, which are now available in stores worldwide and online.
New silhouettes that we're particularly excited about include the Benson, a moccasin and boat shoe boot hybrid, the Saha, a pared-down but rugged boat shoe and the Tanju, a classic slip-on loafer with a modern spin. I also really liked the Cyril, which interprets the classic desert boot.
True to their signature style, all the shoes rely on subtle exterior details and superior comfort. For this new line, Pointer went so far as to produce all original lasts, soles and lining, working with an old factory in Portugal and using tried-and-true shoe building techniques to guarantee comfort and longevity. If that doesn't prove Skewis' level of perfectionism, he also makes at least seven or eight samples of each model, refining until he has it right.
by Tim Yu