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 - Steps to worldwide Winklepicker domination



Digger talks to Robert Burnside who is continuing a fine British footwear tradition - the winklepicker, and who has some new takes on a classic design...

Take a look at Robert's designs, appropriately named after
rock and roll music heroes such as Adam, Billy, Bo, Carl,
Chuck, Eddie, Jerry, Jonny & Marty





Digger: What is your background Robert?

Robert: I started in the shoes business in 1973 and had a business called Succhi Shoes with 2 partners. This was probably the first real men's shoe company in the UK. We produced shoes that were not only Black or Brown. We held a number one slot for many years and finally split our partnership in 1983. 

During this period, we got to know Kenney Jones of the Small Faces who joined the Who. At the time, the film Quadrophenia had been released. We decided to do a fashion show at the Lyceum Ballroom in Covent Garden. This was based on our high fashion clothing, footwear & Quadrophenia. We first showed our high fashion ranges, then the stage turned around to show the range inspired by Quadrophenia. At the show we had the likes of David Essex, Kiki Dee, Bob Harris, John Entwistle etc.

One of the funny points was that the Who's John Woolf did a laser light show and the GLC made us have a water tanker on standby, in case we set fire to the theatre.

In 1984 I opened 2 shops in London's Kings Road & Covent Garden. The shops were the first to use wooden floors and had a very minimalistic Japanese look. In fact, they completely changed the way the high street fitted shops hence forward. The shops were called Giorgio Ferrari and started the heavy masculine look shoes for women. I did shoes for Jeff Banks, Reiss, Kurt Geiger etc, as well as concessions in Warehouse & Oasis Using the rider brand.

Digger: Can you please tell us about your original idea for resurrecting these Winklepickers and how it started?

Robert: I had just come back from India, having designed and supplied shoes to the likes of River Island & Aldo. However, my heart was not in this type of business as I had always supplied high quality to most of the major independents in the UK. I therefore decided to hang up my shoes laces for good and came back to the UK.

I was having a conversation with my sister about when we were young and she mentioned that the first fashion shoes I ever wore were winklepickers. This influence of the long pointed winkle pickers made me stand out from the crowd and in effect got me into fashion at 13 years old. Due to this conversation I decided that I would make winkle pickers that were comfortable and the best in the world!! 

Digger: I love the rock and roll-inspired names of the different shoes. Please tell us more about the spec and what styles are available.

Robert: The names I use are the influences of my youth. The spec is of the highest standard. Vitello leather uppers, sheep leather lining, leather insoles, antibacterial insoles with leather sock on top, purple dyed through high quality leather sole with bonded tip, high grade heel. In effect you would be hard pressed to make a better shoe. I make them in Italy at an artisan factory I worked with in my heyday for 20 years. 

Digger: How do you go about making these the perfect fit and unique for the clients?

Robert: I took the original 1950's last and reengineered it for comfort without loosing the unique winkle picker look. No one else to my knowledge has ever done this.

Digger: What are your and Rebecca’s Retro passions?

Robert: Rebecca and I love anything that is either past or present and made with passion. I am not obsessed with fashion, but love to see creations of all kinds. Whether this is furniture, cars, Instruments or whatever. 

Digger: Why do you think these shoes have been popular with various youth cultures over the years?

Robert: I think people always look back at things that have been distinctive that give a special look. Winkle pickers have always been worn by fringe groups since the heydays of the late 50s & early 60s. Even now if you look at the likes of David Beckham, who is now wearing a 50s look....only thing he lacks is proper winkle pickers!!!! 

Digger: And why do you think generally retro, vintage and nostalgia is so popular with so many people these days?

Robert: Creative people like the influences from bygone eras and adapt to their own individual taste. I also think that the British were very individual as a race but now generally follow mass-produced Euro fashion. Whereas in the past we were all much more off the wall. Most fashion influences started in the UK.... Look back and you have Teddy Boys, Mods, Rockers, Punks, 70s look, New Romantics - the list goes on...but after the 70s in my opinion we started to lose it...





Digger: Who are your ‘typical’ customers, where are your customers coming from and what customer feedback/comments do you get?

Robert: My initial customers were from the biker world (hence our link with the Ace Cafe) However we are now getting a lot of people linked to the music world of all ages.

I have had a 100% good feedback from every customer I have ever supplied. I have never even in my hey day had such good reviews. I have attached a few of the reviews for you.

Digger: What would you say is special about the 19-60 experience and product?

Robert: From the minute you receive the package you know you have something special and then of course the quality and fit. They just make you feel special.

Digger: What are the best and most enjoyable aspects of running 19-60 Winklepickers?

Robert: I have spoken to every single customer by email or telephone. I appreciate that some customers have thought long and hard before buying the winkle pickers and look forward to the feedback, as I know that they will be delighted what they receive. This really gives me a buzz! 

Digger: What are your plans for the 19-60 Winklepickers business in the future?

Robert: I have made a range of women's winklepickers which I will eventually get round to launching. Probably later this year. I would like to develop 19-60 as a life style brand and eventually link to bands and bike clubs all around the world. This is not for the profit, just the enjoyment. Unfortunately, I am not talented enough to do all this cyber stuff myself. However my daughter has now decided to operate my Facebook and anything to do with the cyber world, so there is hope. 






Customer reviews

Hi Robert, ( DUBAI )

I opened the box expecting to find nice shoes, just like the pictures on the internet. What I found blew me away. The boots are simply stunning. The internet photos are good, but they do not capture the real personality, elegance, and luxury that ooze from these boots. The design is even more attractive than the picture. The shape is simply wonderful. They are lovely even to just hold and look at. The leather is the softest and finest, and the attention to detail in the workmanship is a joy. These have been designed and made with love. As you might have guessed, I could not be more thrilled. Thank you for bringing back memories of my feet a long time ago, and for doing it with so much more style than the winkle-pickers of my youth. One day, all shoes will be made this way.

I will get out and about this weekend and take some photos for you.

All best wishes,

Hello Robert, ( USA )
I wanted to thank you for the wonderful shoes and boots that Danny delivered to me. I had been waiting and I can't tell you how terrific I think they are and how excited I am to wear them. Besides the classic vintage styling, it is the workmanship and superb materials and construction that makes these a winner for me on all fronts. I absolutely love them and will send you a photo of me wearing them!
Thank you again and I'm sure I will be buying more from you.

All my best,
Paul Stanley

Hi Robert

INCREDIBLE!!! I couldn’t be more pleased. These boot are “THE BUSINESS” Thank you so much for these, they are the best shoes or boots I have ever owned or seen.

Cheers from a happy customer

Chris Quinn



1. Praise to Opperman (New York City)

How do I begin to praise the noble Winkle Picker? They rock. They’re elegant. They’re super-sleek. But most excellently, they are insanely comfortable!
And that’s the point. Shoes with this kind of pointy rock and roll heart being so pleasurable to wear are a miracle.
An Italian chassis with an English soul. They go from suits to Marshall stacks. I am now up to four pairs. Pure bloody poetry.

Regards and thanks to for a superb product!!!
 - Steps to worldwide
Winklepicker domination



Winkle Pickers were originally worn in the late 1950s by the new breed of British youngsters called rock fans. This group of young people were followers of the new rock music and developed a look of their own that included the new pointed shoes.

Winkle pickers were popular in the early 60’s with modernists, (forerunners of the Mods). The true mod was a sharp dresser, but their era was 1963 to 64, either side of this was fashion developing. London’s West End was where you bought your gear off the peg from the likes of Lord John, John Steven etc. Outside of London the guys would go to Burtons, John Collier Hepworths etc. to have their suits made to measure. From late 1963 winkle pickers had the toes chopped and became chisel toes. The Mods were by now wearing penny loafers and moccasin styles. Alas winkle pickers were out...

Winkle pickers again made, yet another comeback in the late 70’s and 80’s with the punks, Rockabillies and latterly with the Goths. These shoes simply will not rollover and die!

Today, Winklepickers are once again popular with certain segments of the populace. This includes some well known members of bands and celebrities, as well as the vogue Goths and Punks. The style has never disappeared completely though, as revivalists have always worn them. However it is very difficult to get true Winklepickers and any secondhand versions are like gold dust. Some very dubious versions of this cult footwear are on offer but in general are absolute crap.

Some high street chains are now turning out narrow toe shoes, but they are certainly not winkle pickers! However the modern male seems to be looking fondly at the winkle picker look ! Fortunately or unfortunately depending on your outlook on life I have now reproduced what I term the real winkle picker. I was 13 years old when they first entered my life (three years before hearing about this new group called the Beatles) the year was 1960.

I have been in the forefront of fashion all my life. (What a sad bastard I am) I have now gone back to my grass roots and reproduced winkle pickers as they should be ! This is where I came in!!!!! I must confess however I have changed one thing and that is, these winkle pickers will not give you the same ugly mother f…… toes as I have.

My winkle pickers are made in the home of footwear, Italy and anyone wearing them will be amazed at the comfort...I really cannot be responsible for crippling another generation! Robert Burnside.

Contact: Rebecca Burnside











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