Benjamin Millepied’s favourite bespoke shoemaker

The founder of LA Dance Project and former artistic director of the Paris Opera Ballet reveals to Christina Ohly Evans why the ethics as much as the aesthetics of sneaker brand Feit seduced him. Portrait by Weston Wells

Dancer, choreographer and filmmaker Benjamin Millepied (seated) with Feit co-founder Tull Price at the shoemaker’s Greenwich Avenue store
Dancer, choreographer and filmmaker Benjamin Millepied (seated) with Feit co-founder Tull Price at the shoemaker’s Greenwich Avenue store

As a dancer, I’m obviously very sensitive about my feet. Added to that, I tore the plantar fascia in both feet when I was in my 20s – so the way a shoe feels and supports is incredibly important to me. When I met [Feit co-founder] Tull Price about seven years ago, I was intrigued by the fact that his focus was on bespoke leather sneakers and immediately responded to the level of artistry and attention to detail he gives his shoes. He only uses the best natural materials, and his methods of production are unlike those of any other maker I’ve found – and I’ve tried many. Even the latex soles are made from the milk of rubber-tree plants.

It was Feit’s ethos as much as its streamlined aesthetics that resonated with me from the beginning. Most of what we surround ourselves with today – including our shoes – is petroleum based, so Feit is Tull’s reaction to automation and chemical products. All the pairs are handmade using a single piece of leather, giving them an almost Japanese aesthetic that I can dress up or down.

My first pair were navy high-tops with leather laces, and I still wear them all the time. The vegetable-tanned leather manages to be soft, but gives my foot and ankle a lot of support, and they work just as well with jeans as they do with an Ermenegildo Zegna suit. They get more attention than almost any other item in my wardrobe.

Advertisement

Since that first pair, Tull has made more than 10 other pairs of bespoke shoes for me; I also have slip-ons and various takes on the classic Oxford. They’re all well worn, but my favourites are the classic Oxfords in black semi-Cordovan leather, beige Biotrainers that are modelled on a running shoe, and a pair of low lace‑ups in marine-blue suede.

Because Tull has my lasts, he’ll often send me ideas for new pairs that he thinks will work – most recently white slip-ons for LA. But I’ve currently got my eye on commissioning some sneakers in black crackle leather; the finish is really unusual and they’ll be great for travelling.

Whenever I’m in New York, I’ll stop by one of Tull’s two stores – in Nolita or the West Village – to check out new styles and share ideas about comfort and design. We’ve even collaborated on a short film together and there are other ideas in the pipeline. The fact that Tull and I are now good friends makes the whole process of ordering a pair of shoes even more enjoyable.

Advertisement

See also

Advertisement
Loading