Bespoke shoes are custom-made according to the foot shape and the wishes of the customer. Bespoke manufacturing is therefore the supreme discipline in shoe manufacturing. We could say that handmade bespoke shoes are the Rolls-Royce for your feet. And those who have ever commissioned a bespoke shoe certainly appreciate the benefits and its incredible comfort. In the last article we have already talked about the peculiarities of the production methods for RTW, MTO and MTM shoes. In this article we will explore the same for fully bespoke shoes.
Bespoke – full customization!
A shoe that you can wear for countless years and that fits perfectly from the beginning, will also cost a lot. However, the investment is absolutely worthwhile. Not only because those shoes are extremely comfortable but also because it is way better for your health. A great shoemaker will be able to craft shoes which will feel like a second skin. The precise customization will make them suit the front, middle and rear of your feet perfectly, supporting them like a corset.
Bespoke shoes are worth the money
It takes more than 100 single steps in the shoemaking process to create a shoe! Therefore, the production of a bespoke men’s shoe takes several months. What distinguishes bespoke from other production methods (RTW, MTO, MTM) is that the shoemaker creates also individualized bespoke lasts. Typically, these molds are made from wood and reflect the shape of your feet perfectly, with all its peculiarities. This is in fact the first step in the bespoke shoe making process – taking the exact measures of the feet to create the lasts. Usually, after a few weeks, the customer comes to a fitting and sometimes there are even two try-ons. Good shoemakers create a prototype of inferior leather for this, adjusting this preliminary model during the fitting and then destroying it completely. In the following months, the actual shoe is then crafted.
A fully custom-made shoe takes a lot of working effort, usually around 60-80 hours, which explains why they cost much more than the standard ready-made shoes. You will find shoemakers who make bespoke shoes for about 1.000 Euro. But it is fairly common that these custom-made shoes cost somewhere between 2.500 and 5.000 Euro per pair. Nevertheless, it is a great investment! In case of bespoke shoes, the shoemaker does not only deal with the peculiarities of the feet, but also with the customer’s explicit wishes regarding the design. No one will own the exact same shoe as you!
Your first bespoke shoes
At this point, we do not really need to go into detail about RTW, MTO and MTM men’s shoes anymore. Those will never be comparable to bespoke shoes in terms of perfect fit and comfort. And let’s be honest: It’s pretty amazing to explicitly plan and design your own future shoe, isn’t it?
Usually the first bespoke shoes will be Oxfords.
For the first meeting with your shoemaker it might be an advantage if you wear the outfit to which the shoes are to be worn in the future. This can be the usual business suit or casual clothes which you will combine with the shoes. Professional shoemakers will advise you in detail on the style and design of the shoes. In this case, shoemakers can be quite different. Some of them will incorporate any customer request, regardless of how eccentric it might be. Others, in turn, reserve the right to craft only such shoes which they could also imagine wearing.
In most cases, the first bespoke shoe choice is a classic one, usually an Oxford which is mainly paired with suits. A good first occasion for custom-made shoes and clothes is the own wedding. When it comes to the leather, many men choose calfskin which is a particularly great choice. Those, who find it ethically acceptable and who can afford it, can opt for more luxurious types of leather such as crocodile or alligator skin.
Finding the perfect shoemaker
Anyone who has a bespoke suit in his wardrobe already, will certainly appreciate the benefits of customization. Similar to bespoke shoes, the trousers and jacket are precisely tailored to the body. Maybe we can persuade you to take your whole outfit to the next level and go for custom-made shoes considering these often have an impact on our health, our well-being in general and our appearance.
Patrick Frei from Freiburg creates absolutely fantastic bespoke shoes!
Anyone looking for a suitable shoemaker in Germany will realize that the search is not so easy. Of course, you will find several shoemakers who also make custom shoes in every major city. However, if you want high quality, precision and perfectionism combined, then the offer is already much lower. Spontaneously, the first bespoke shoemaker who comes to my mind on the German market is Patrick Frei from Freiburg. Each pair of his shoes is a real piece of art. It is not at all surprising that he was awarded the “World Champion in Shoemaking 2018” in April this year!
Finding an amazing shoemaker on the French, English, Italian but also the Spanish market is way easier. Those markets offer a much wider selection of great shoemakers. Over the next few months, I shall present you with some excellent shoemakers which you can take into account when deciding on where to order your bespoke shoes. I have posted some pictures of shoes by fantastic shoemakers who are well known in the sartorial world on my IG account. Have a look and let your inspiration run wild! 🙂