As if it weren’t complicated enough to keep track of all the different shoe models and shoe types, abbreviations such as RTW, MTO and MTM might confuse the gentlemen. We should definitely change this! Of course, there is a fairly simple explanation for each of these cryptic shortcuts. We will clarify what is meant by RTW, MTO and MTM and when exactly those terms are important.
RTW – Ready to wear!
The abbreviation RTW can be explained relatively simply. It means “ready to wear” and refers to the finished shoes which you can directly buy at the shoe store and wear. RTW shoes are the low priced choice because they have no customizations and are mostly factory-made in large quantities. However, it is important to distinguish between cheap RTW shoes and the high-quality RTW collections.
The former shoes are delivered directly from the assembly line to the shops and are available in various sizes. No one really cares, whether the shoe fits the foot well. The main factors are the style, design and the price. This can often have a negative impact on the feet of the wearer. The consequences are usually aching feet, blisters on the heels or toes and possibly unfavorable and chronic foot deformities. Only few people see this as a problem as in general, most people think that shoes must first be “broken in”. Thus, every day shoe stores are selling thousands of shoes of the same kind, regardless of the shape and characteristics of the foot.
Quality RTW men’s shoes
In addition to the 80-euro RTW shoes, there are also high-quality ready-made shoes. Those are often handmade and are definitely preferable to the ones described above. Although they are also not adapted to the specifics of a particular foot, you will enjoy a much higher comfort. This is mainly due to the high-quality leather and the complex processing technology used.
There are lots of good shoemakers who focus on RTW but sometimes do also offer MTO / MTM shoes. Examples include shoes from England by Crockett & Jones. As examples from Spain we could name Carmina and TLB Mallorca. You also get excellent RTW shoes from the Austrian company Saint Crispin’s. Many shoemakers, who initially only made bespoke shoes, are also increasingly creating RTW collections. For example, this includes the Japanese Yohei Fukuda. High-quality RTW shoes start at around 350 Euro per pair and are absolutely recommended. But you can also find RTW shoes which cost more than 1.000 Euro!
MTO – Made to Order!
MTO men’s shoes are ready to be ordered. Compared to RTW shoes however, the customer cannot take them home directly from the shop. First, you’re choosing the basic model and the standardized designs of the vamp. You can for example go for an Oxford or possibly a Derby. Then you can also incorporate some personal wishes as available. In this case, you might have the possibility to choose broguings, the leather, the color, the design of the sole and the heel. You will not receive a shoe which is customized according to the shape of your foot. However, you have some options to design a shoe on your own according to your personal preferences. Basically, you could say that an MTO shoe is something in between an RTW and a bespoke shoe.
MTM – Made to Measure!
Frequently, people use the terms MTO and MTM interchangeably. In fact, both refer to a certain degree of customization. Made to Measure can either mean that the customer selects one of the existing lasts in his size on which his MTO order is then crafted. Sometimes however, shoemakers measure the customer’s feet individually for MTM orders. In this case, the customer can choose between standardized last shapes and widths. The shoemaker then adjusts this last according to the feet measurements. Similar to MTO, the customer then defines the design and the style of the ordered shoe from available features. After several weeks, the MTM men’s shoe is ready to be picked up.
Customizing made easy!
Some shoe brands offer a tool on their homepage, which enables the customer to assemble an MTO / MTM shoe directly online. The selection possibilities might be incredibly large in this case. You can choose between different last shapes, widths, soles, types of leather, perforations, colors and much more. Sometimes you can even opt for initials on the inner leather! Compared to their RTW collections, you can create your own MTO / MTM shoe for additional around 100 Euro. This can be particularly beneficial for men who have slightly wider feet. The conventional RTW collections can sometimes be too narrow or do not offer much choice in their width. Such tools are really great if you want to be a bit creative and want to have a pretty unique shoe. Try it yourself!
For a fully customized shoe which is made exactly for your feet, you will have to go for bespoke shoes. You will find the features and advantages of such shoes in the next article! 😊