When I was nine years old, all I wanted in this world was for my parents to buy me a pair of Air Jordans. The Jordan IVs, with the cool mesh and the pull tab on the back and that gigantic, beautiful air bubble that was going to immediately make me a better athlete, and also double as an abundant source of oxygen in case my mask didn’t work, as the airplane was going down. I begged. I invoked various injustice clauses. I explained that oxygen thing, in detail.

I did not get the Air Jordans.

I’ve tracked my lifelong footwear mania back to this one denial. I got my first job at 14 (running glassware in a bar until 4am, somehow), and started saving. Sneakers turned into boots, which turned into dress shoes, which turned into nicer boots, and nicer dress shoes. Which has now, perhaps inevitably, led me to founding Stitchdown, which I hope will grow into the ultimate buyer’s guide and resource for people just like me: men—and women who love men’s shoes—who are deeply, sometimes disturbingly, obsessed with quality footwear.

“Quality footwear” can and should mean different things to different people. But to me, it means a pair of shoes that you’re legitimately thrilled about every time you pull them on, or look down at your feet, or walk to the office supply store to pick up college-ruled notebook paper, which is the least exciting life activity I could think of while writing this. Shoes that make you feel like you’re more than you are without them. Shoes that make you constantly appreciate every penny of their value. Shoes that will last. Shoes you desperately want to tell people about. Shoes that move you.

Stitchdown will spend plenty of time on the footwear I already own and love (and the ones I want to own and love), but it’s really more about a never-ending journey deep into the wonderful world of shoes. Everyone is at a different point in their own journey through that world, and there are countless paths to take. Stitchdown is here to help you choose the right path—for you.

So buckle up (especially if you like monk straps) and enjoy the ride. And I’d love to hear from you all, in the comments, on Instagram @stitchdown, or by hitting me anytime at hello@stitchdown.com.

Yours forever in shell cordovan,
Ben Robinson

PS: Despite your heartless Jordans prohibition, and the footwear-related financial hole you have driven me towards, I still love you very much, Mom and Dad.