Wayman Bespoke has just recently launched its website and its intriguing program for creating semi-bespoke shoes. The creation of a personal last and a huge degree of customization options will provide you with the shoe you’ve always wanted. You just need to take your measurements and choose one of those hundreds of designs. Around three months later you will receive your comfortable Wayman Bespoke pair with a cleanly finished bottom work, close cut heels and well executed patterns. An easy ordering process with a great customer experience, accessible for everyone. Is this the future of shoemaking?
The creation of Wayman Bespoke
Simon, the founder behind Wayman Bespoke, recalls always having trouble finding shoes that fit, even as a child. With his narrow but fairly long feet, he usually had to size down considerably. This made his toes curl uncomfortably and let him no way but to put up with painful blisters. Simon studied finance and briefly worked in this field. Eventually, he realized that he enjoyed the part of putting on a suit and dressing well for his job most. Still the problem with finding and more so wearing shoes that fit remained.
Hence, he started to learn more about classic shoes and traditional shoemaking. The more he learned, the more passionate he became. Soon he realized that his only option for his feet was a bespoke pair of shoes. But this is fairly difficult with a restricted budget and you do not have a lot of options in Germany with just a few bespoke shoemakers left. However, his need for a pair of shoes fitting him at least reasonably well kept him going and striving for a way to make bespoke more accessible for himself. He kept on learning about the process of commissioning and making bespoke shoes, by reading, meeting people from the industry and asking questions. Lots of questions.
From idea to execution
The idea of remotely and more accessibly commissioning a pair of bespoke shoes grew. In the back of his head, he always knew that this was something, that not only he could benefit from but others, too. Simon still remembers how naïve he was in the beginning. He thought that it wouldn’t be too difficult to just take a few measurements, send them to a shoemaker and have him or her make the last and shoes. However, the shoemakers he contacted made him aware of the opposite. Perhaps this motivated him to trying even harder. Eventually, he came up with a process that allowed him to measure his own feet in a specific way.
In the meantime, he was able to find a shoemaker who was willing to take on this ambitious project with him. The workshop is based in China where making handmade shoes has become increasingly popular in the past decade. Many traditional Chinese shoemakers are becoming exceptionally good at their craft and their shoes are still being fairly affordable. The shoemaker made Simon’s first pair of shoes based on this specifically developed process for a customized last. It was a true revelation for him! Finally putting on the first pair of shoes made to one’s own specifications is pretty amazing. It took this young man another two years to significantly improve the base idea as well as the overall process. Finally, in May 2020 Simon launched his own company – Wayman Bespoke.
The Wayman Bespoke semi-bespoke program
With Wayman Bespoke, Simon hopes to bring bespoke shoemaking online, into the 21st century. His main goal is to make it accessible to those, who aren’t so fortunate of having a great bespoke shoemaker right around the corner. But particularly it addresses those who don’t have the means to repeatedly travel to such maker and pay more than USD 3,500 for a single pair of shoes. He doesn’t specifically target any market or region, noting that his clients come from all over the world. Ironically, so far none come from Germany, where the culture doesn’t really promote investing in a quality pair of shoes.
High-quality semi-bespoke shoes at a great price
His offering is not cheap but accessible. The prices are comparable to most high-end RTW offerings from traditional shoe brands. They start at USD 750 excl. VAT and include free worldwide shipping. Anyone can easily access his webpage and download the specifically developed measurement guide. After this, the customer takes the foot measurements, scans the tracings and uploads them. The online configurator allows for a wide variety of options in terms of the pattern, material, finishing and extra features. Once the client has chosen everything, he will receive his fully handmade and handwelted pair of shoes made on a personal last which are made within approximately 12 weeks. Wayman Bespoke strives to be accessible not only in the sense of being well priced, but also in the sense of being available from anywhere and to anybody.
While Wayman Bespoke is targeted at men, Simon is open to accept orders from women, too. Please note though, that they have little experience in working with women’s feet so far. So, if you’re interested in women’s shoes, you should contact him first. Possibly a fitting pair would make sense in this case.
The Last comes first
Simon has created the semi-bespoke program in collaboration with his shoemaker friend. A fitting shoe is not included however it is possible to order one at cost value separately. Basically, Simon aims to go straight to finish with each commission. Based on the measurements which are given in the beginning of the process, the shoemaker will make a customized last. This allows to achieve a superior fit compared to RTW for his clients and adjust for some fit issues. Currently, the customers can choose between the following three toe shapes:
- more classic round with more volume
- chiseled square
- modern almond shaped round toe.
Lots of different variations and no pair like the other
With a wide variety of pattern options, Wayman Bespoke offers pretty much any classic oxford, derby, monk strap, boot and loafer style. In total you can choose from over 100 different designs to create your own shoes.
For those looking for more customization, a complete custom/ bespoke pattern can also be designed. In this case, you can incorporate any of your wishes without any limitations. Considering the amount of work and time going into a completely bespoke pattern, the upcharge of USD 150 seems fairly reasonable. Simon himself designs and creates the sketches for his pattern maker. He follows the client’s input and ideas, while making sure the pattern is in line with his own design philosophy and house style. The process for a bespoke design is pretty unique. It always involves making a trial pattern/ upper to test the design and proportions on the customer’s personal last at first.
The customization definitely doesn’t stop with the pattern. Obviously, you can virtually choose any material, all coming from renowned and prestigious tanneries in Europe and the U.S. As standard, all shoes are fully handwelted. You can also opt for a handmade stitch through construction (similar to Blake and slightly cheaper) for your loafers. For more rugged models you can go for a 180° or 360° Norwegian-Welt construction. The handwelted construction allows for a very tight waist, commonly known as beveled or fiddled waist. Here, the waist of the sole is shaped to a sharp V or rounded curve. These are all features, that can only be achieved with skilled handwork. The color of the sole and welt and many extra options, like initials on the waist, toe taps and lasted bespoke shoe trees can be chosen and further customized. As you can see, you have lots and lots of options!
The excellent customer service at Wayman Bespoke
For your first commission, Simon recommends going rather conservative and choosing an oxford or derby with a classic pattern. These are types of shoes that you will most probably get to wear quite often. Don’t get overwhelmed with all those possibilities and don’t go too crazy when creating your shoes. Rather try to pick options that best match the overall styling and purpose of the shoe. They will then stand out for their impeccable and tasteful finishing rather than for their pompous colors or materials.
The measurement guide and instructions video you can find on the webpage are very self-explanatory and easy to follow. But in case of any questions, recommendations or if you would just like to do some shoe talk, you can always reach out to Simon directly. He offers the possibility of a free personal consultation via live chat, email or WhatsApp on the webpage. You can of course write him on Instagram, too.
Simon will help you in case of any questions you might have concerning the semi-bespoke program
He is happy to help you pick out your model, pattern and specifications. He will make sure you get a pair of shoes that best matches you and your lifestyle. Simon can also look over your measurements and tracings before you submit your order. He really enjoys building personal relationships with his clients and becoming friends over a shared passion.
Getting the word out
With the program just launched, Simon’s goal for the near future is for people to get to know about the unique program he has created. There is still room for a higher capacity at the workshop currently. Simon hopes to build a brand and product, that is synonymous with a modern approach to online/ remote bespoke shoemaking and the first (and so far, only) address for such endeavor.
Currently, the shoes are only available online. Retailers however might want to incorporate his brand into their portfolio. This would be especially great for clients who are not comfortable in taking the measurements themselves. Simon is continuously trying to improve the program and product by finding and buying new and better tools, learning about old and new methods and testing them with his team. This is definitely an exciting brand to look out for in the future!
Click here to get to the Wayman Bespoke webpage directly to start the commisioning process. You can also have a look at the Instagram Account for further inspiration.
Simon, thank you so much again for all those fascinating and interesting facts about Wayman Bespoke. Wishing you lots of success for your future endeavors with the Semi-Bespoke Program 😊
Picture courtesy: Wayman Bespoke