I thought I'd share my experiences with ordering bespoke shoes over the web from the famous Polish bespoke-maker Jan Kielman, since I know that many has had question about their internet-service, which is quite unique. And since Poland still is a low-wage country, the shoes are relatively cheap, with starting prices at 730 € / 1000 $, which might make them extra interesting.
Jan Kielman is probably the most famous of the Polish bespoke-makers, which has it's workshop in the central parts of Warszawa. Here's the website: http://www.kielman.pl/en/index.php .They've been making bespoke shoes since 1883, and today they have customers from all over the world. They are one of, at least that I know of, very few that offer a kind of bespoke over the internet. After their instructions you measure your feet, choose model and last shape, and they make the shoes ready in only ~5 weeks.There's obviosly no fittings (actually Polish bespoke-makers never has fittings), but it is possible to return the shoes for adjustments after receiving them if there's some problems with the fit. It's something like a mid-way between traditional bespoke and semi-bespoke (which usually refers to when you can design your own shoe, but only have existing lasts modified).
So, in short, my experience. Monika Kielman who usually take care of the e-mailing is very helpful and always respond within a couple of days as most. I've decided to order a pair of half brogues in light cognac, with discrete brogue-details, round toe, beveled waist, JR-soles and french calf uppers. They costed me 930 € including shipping and shoe trees adjusted to my lasts. One could divide the payment, and pay the first half when ordering and the second half when the shoes are made ready for delivery.
The finished shoes looked almost excactly as I had imagined, and the handwork and materials are really good (of course they are entirely made by hand). Unfortunately I hadn't measured my feet in the same way as the Kielman-personal would do (which obviously is one of the dangers with doing distance ordering), so the shoes were slightly too big. But since all the shoes were perfectly shaped for my feet, just slightly large, an insole solved the problem and they now are the most comfortable shoes I have.
Here's a price list, in Euros and Polish zlotys:
Regular handwelt, polish calf uppers: 730 € (3060 Polish zloty, PLN).
Fench calf uppers: +72 € (300 PLN)
Cordovan: +380 € (1600 PLN)
Joh. Rendenbach soles: +36 € (150 PLN)
Norweigan-stitched: +76 € (310 PLN)
Triple stitching: +50 € (210 PLN)
Ostrich: +170 € (700 PLN)
Alligator leather: +1200 € (5000 PLN)
Shoe trees in beechwood, adjusted to the lasts: 40 € (170 PLN)
Shipping: 36 € (150 PLN, at least to Europe, don't know if it cost more to ship to the US.)
Handmade belts made from the same leather can be made as well, starting at 130 € for Polish Calf.
If you're interested you could find a much more detailed guide to ordering from Kielman, including pictures from when my shoes were manufactured, you could visit my blog: http://www.shoegazing.se . It's written in Swedish, but you can use a translation tool on the upper left of the blog page to translate it to prefered language.
Below some pics of the finished shoes:
MORE PICTURES HERE! (Click to show)
Edited by j ingevaldsson - 2/1/13 at 12:42pm