The story of Oliver Sweeney

Shoes craftsmanship

For over 20 years the Bernacchini factory has been lovingly crafting pairs of Oliver Sweeney shoes, in Le Marche on the Adriatic east coast of Italy. A family-run establishment, every step of the shoemaking process is lead by only the most skilled and passionate workers, whose sheer craft and expertise resonates in every handmade shoe they produce. Their finesse creates only the most desirable and innovative types of footwear, ranging from classic derby brogues right through to casual cup soled trainers.

Factory Oliver Sweeney

The Birmingham Gazette was delighted to explore some of the current range, most notably the gorgeous and refined Solento Tan Brogue.

One of the girls in the office had told me that they didn’t have my size (11) but as they were such incredible shoes would I like to try the 10.5s. With slightly odd feet, one a 10.5 and one nearly an 11 I thought I’d give them a go and I wasn’t disappointed.

When a box of freshly made Oliver Sweeney’s arrive, you delight at the opportunity of unwrapping them from their sleeves. A small paired bag with a compartment for each shoe conceals these creations of perfection.

leatherThe smell from the shoes is a stunning combined calf and rub-off leather, while intricate noughts and crosses have been etched into the pattern. It’s something a little different in the shoe department! They are in the derby brogue style in a brown and beige finish with a somewhat hidden away but delightful red tongue popping through. The toes are almost like the perfect conker brown, with lime green leather insoles.

Walking in the size 10.5s is a magical experience. Fitting like a glove they feel so good that you can’t believe they aren’t bespoke made for your exact foot measurement.

Solento broguesCurrently, Oliver Sweeney have been bringing back the tattoo experience for tan coloured shoes. For as little as £45 you can have a design of your choice tattooed on to the leather of your shoes, in truly stunning detail.

Oliver Sweeney ran away from home to London when he was aged 16 and lived on the London Underground Circle Line. One day he passed the window of a Shoemaker who was advertising a vacancy for an apprentice and, as he later said, ” that advert saved my life.” Today ….Oliver Sweeney is one of  Britain’s leading designers and manufacturers of shoes, accessories and outerwear.

Oliver SweeneyThe brand walk their own path – confident in their achievements, sophisticated in their appreciation of life, individual in their choices.

In 1989 Oliver launched his own business based on the ‘Anatomical Last’™.  A unique design created after years of intensive research. It is sculpted to give support to the arch, the instep points to the big toe, like the real foot. A gentle twist through its length simulates the natural shape of the foot, and helps reduce rolling to the outside of the foot.

To get your own pair of Oliver Sweeney shoes today, simply go online and visit