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Presidents' Day Brand Spotlight: Johnston & Murphy

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Next Monday, February 20th, is Presidents' Day! Originally celebrated as the birthday of George Washington, this American holiday takes place on the third Monday of February and has evolved into a tradition that honors all of our nation's presidents.

If you're asking yourself what Presidents' Day has to do with shoes, and more specifically with the skilled shoemakers of Johnston & Murphy, we're more than happy to let you in on the fascinating relationship between Johnston & Murphy and the White House. This is a story that dates back to 1850, when two historic events occurred: Millard Fillmore was inaugurated as the 13 th President of the United States, and Johnston & Murphy was founded by William J. Dudley in his Newark, New Jersey home. Dudley offered to make a custom pair of dress shoes for the new president, who accepted. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Since 1850, Johnston & Murphy has provided bespoke shoes for each and every U.S. president, preserving a tradition of excellence and service. The president's personal taste, style, and requests are taken into account when crafting the shoes, and each pair speaks to the commander-in-chief's unique aesthetic. This thoughtful design and construction is reflected in the Johnston & Murphy shoes given to some of America's most renowned presidents:


Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe had the biggest feet of any president, wearing a whopping size 14! His Johnston & Murphy shoes were black lace-up ankle boots, a timeless, classy, and practical choice.


Ulysses S. Grant. Grant, the legendary Civil War general turned 18 th president, opted for knee-high riding boots that harkened back to his military roots.


Theodore Roosevelt. Most people remember 26th president Teddy Roosevelt as a war hero, avid outdoorsman, and dedicated conservationist. It's no surprise that Roosevelt chose sturdy dress boots rather than a less serviceable fashion piece.


John F. Kennedy. JFK is remembered as one of our most charming, handsome, and popular presidents, and he went with a shoe style that's as well-loved as he was: classic black wingtip oxfords.


Ronald Reagan. Reagan brought his silver-screen style with him to the presidency, opting for sleek black cap-toes. Ever a class act, Reagan dispatched a handwritten thank-you note to Johnston & Murphy.


Bill Clinton. Clinton is more than just a jazz aficionado—he actually plays the jazziest instrument of all, the saxophone! With this love of music in mind, Johnston & Murphy crafted a pair of blue suede shoes for Bill.


Barack Obama. There are two very special aspects to the 44th president's Johnston & Murphy shoes. First, he received a pair of versatile black oxfords in a box made from koa wood, which comes from his home state of Hawaii. Obama, always a huge fan of Abraham Lincoln, also received a bonus pair from Johnston & Murphy: black lace-up boots that are a modern version of Abe's.


These are just a few of the American presidents who have donned Johnston & Murphy shoes. Is there any better argument for a brand's class, quality, and style than this service to our Heads of State? Luckily, while this all-American brand is worn by such illustrious clientele as singers, actors, and world leaders, they're also committed to sharing their famous shoes with everyday folks like you! Englin's Fine Footwear is proud to offer Johnston & Murphy men's shoes online and in many of our retail stores. Learn about some of our favorite styles below!

Johnston & Murphy Larsey Cap-Toe

Johnston & Murphy Larsey Cap-Toe in Black    Johnston & Murphy Larsey Cap-Toe in Tan

Johnston & Murphy Larsey Cap-Toe in Black (Left) and Tan (Right).


If you're a fan of Reagan's Hollywood style, this might just be the shoe for you. The Johnston & Murphy Larsey Cap-Toe is a sleek, simple, and sophisticated derby-style oxford. Crafted from rich imported leather and featuring a naturally breathable leather lining, the Larsey Cap-Toe is exquisite inside and out. With serviceable yet lightweight bondwelt construction, this oxford looks as great as it feels. A padded footbed adds comfort underfoot, while an outsole of leather and rubber protects the shoe and the foot.

Pair the handsome Larsey Cap-Toe with all your favorite outfits, from khakis to business suits. The clean, elegant profile of the Larsey Cap-Toe helps it to blend in with a variety of looks for all occasions. Choose the Johnston & Murphy Larsey Cap-Toe for versatile, timeless style!

Johnston & Murphy Shuler Bicycle

Johnston & Murphy Shuler Bicycle in Black Tumbled Calf    Johnston & Murphy Shuler Bicycle in Brown Tumbled Calf

Johnston & Murphy Shuler Bicycle in Black Tumbled Calf and Brown Tumbled Calf.


The Johnston & Murphy Shuler Bicycle, so named for its split "bike toe" styling, is less dressy than their usual oxfords but no less stylish! Supple, tumbled leather gives this sharp lace-up its charm, taking you easily from a day in the office to dinner with friends. Comfort is king for the Shuler Bicycle, which sports a padded collar and tongue and a plush sheepskin footbed. An outsole of flexible latex rubber makes every step as certain as the last.

This bike toe lace-up looks great with less formal ensembles, such as jeans or khakis, but can be worn with dress pants and a button-up shirt for a business casual environment. The beauty of the Johnston & Murphy Shuler Bicycle is that it brings together dressy vibes with casual styling for a shoe that will serve you well no matter where life takes you.

Johnston & Murphy Aragon II Kiltie Tassel

Johnston & Murphy Aragon II Kiltie Tassel in Black Smooth/Antique Mahogany Waxed

Johnston & Murphy Aragon II Kiltie Tassel in Black Smooth/Antique Mahogany Waxed.


A serviceable pair of loafers is an essential in any man's closet, and the Johnston & Murphy Aragon II Kiltie Tassel fits the bill perfectly. Contrasting, premium full-grain leather elevates the Aragon II Kiltie Tassel from average to extraordinary, while the kiltie and tassel details make this an eye-catching addition to your wardrobe. A breathable leather lining and cushioned insole give this loafer unbelievable comfort from morning 'til night. Underneath, an outsole of leather and rubber provides traction and flexibility.

The Johnston & Murphy Aragon II Kiltie Tassel is the epitome of classic cool. Men's loafers are great for laidback occasions of all kinds, and can easily be paired with jeans, khakis, chinos, and even shorts! While it's not typically considered a dress shoe, loafers like the Aragon II Kiltie Tassel can be worn with more casual suits or with a sport coat. Now all that's left is to decide whether to wear socks or go sockless! (Hint: It's all about the overall effect of your look.)

Johnston & Murphy Copeland Chukka

Johnston & Murphy Copeland Chukka in Black Tumbled Full Grain  Johnston & Murphy Copeland Chukka in Dark Gray  Johnston & Murphy Copeland Chukka in Tan Suede

Johnston & Murphy Copeland Chukka in Black Tumbled Full GrainDark Gray Suede, and Tan Suede


Lincoln chose ankle-high lace-up boots for his Johnston & Murphy shoes, and we'd like to think that Honest Abe was a man of taste. If you're looking to emulate one of the best-loved leaders of all time, try the Johnston & Murphy Copeland Chukka! The upper of this trendy boot is made from water-resistant leather or suede, so you can trust it to keep your feet dry and cozy. Memory foam cushioning underfoot gives you personalized padding and support, while a natural crepe sole preserves the classic chukka look.

Depending on your chosen material, this boot can easily bridge the gap between dressy and casual, but we think it looks best with jeans or khakis. For those days off when you still want to be sharply dressed, you can't beat the comfort and style of the Johnston & Murphy Copeland Chukka. 


Whether you're more interested in presidential history or stylish shoes, Johnston & Murphy is a brand worth experiencing for yourself! Browse their line of men's slip-ons, lace-ups, loafers, boots, sneakers, and of course, dress shoes, and find the pair of Johnston & Murphy shoes that best suits your style: presidential, practical, or something in between.

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