A pair of disco-era, white-soled denim platforms is how Bryant Jefferson fell in love with shoes as a kid.
The look, the confidence, the unique footwear fueled his imagination that anything is possible. It was the ‘70s, man. The former Steelton steel plant manager, now 59, believes trading in iron ore for premium leather will forge a stronger, more confident capital city.
Ten Toes Men’s Shoes is located in a part of Midtown that is slowly building itself to be the “Retail Row” counterpart to downtown’s cluster of eateries.
Jefferson’s boutique shop is rather minimalist, with bare white walls and pine wood shelves that display more than 60 varieties of handcrafted dress shoes, boots and matching belts. The starkness melts as soon as Jefferson greets you with a warm Arkansas smile and eagerness to share his knowledge of footwear (who knew pairs of Reindeer Leather shoes are sanctioned by the Queen of England?).
On this day, Jefferson dons a light gray, three-piece windowpane suit, burgundy tie and, of course, burgundy triple-monk strap shoes. Slick.
“Great footwear makes a man more confident, which makes for more opportunities,” said Jefferson, who is something of a footwear philosopher.
He’s not wrong, of course.
Jefferson offers a buffet of bold, burnished brogues that you simply cannot find at DSW or chain clothiers. Loafers, wingtips, monk-strap and Chelsea boots come in a variety of hand-painted colors at a price point that is rather appropriate for Harrisburg. Ten Toes’ Carrucci, Belvedere and Mauri options range from $80 to $150. That’s a deal compared to traditional investment shoe brands like Allen Edmonds, Alden and Paul Parkman that will run upwards of $500.
Jefferson said that he was tired of seeing men around here wearing boring black oxfords with thick soles. He’s hoping to elevate the feet of everyone from young professionals to those toiling under the green dome down the street. A pair of these pups will upgrade any outfit—suit or casual.
When it gets warmer, Jefferson said to look out for trunk shows outside local restaurants. If Harrisburg’s latest (and only) men’s dress shoe store is set to succeed, why not a gritty steeler to construct our footwear foundation?
Ten Toes Men’s Shoes is located at 1421 N. 3rd St., Harrisburg. For more information, visit TenToesMensShoes.com or call 717-980-5933.