Alright - received the pair of bespoke shoes from Jan Kielman.
First and foremost however, I want to extend my thanks & gratitude to J Ingevaldsson for his comprehensive guide, help, as well as advice. I've also benefited from some of his learning on the self measurement - to ensure that this one comes out right. And of course, to the folks @ Jan Kielman for their wonderful service & pair of shoes. So - without further ado, below are a couple of pictures and some of my own personal thoughts of the process & the outcome:
1. Fit is perfect. I'm actually really amazed at how they were able to do that just based on the foot tracing & measurements, without any trial shoe. I will not repeat whatever is already written by J Ingevaldsson or Jan Kielman here - but what has worked for me is to take multiple measurements across 5 nights (I've always done my measurements in the evening) & take the average. More importantly - measure the tape snug (not too loose, not too tight) - the thumb rule here is to imagine how snug the shoes should feel on your feet - and that's how you should use the measuring tape. On top of this, I've sent them multiple pictures of my feet - from the top, from the front, from the sides, from behind, etc.
2. Shoes feel extremely solid. The leather feels high quality (both calf skin & suede.) I had chosen the polish calf (vs. the French) which is supposed to be based on the Freudenberg tannery - now made in Poland (I think they're now called Weinheimer?) This was also the recommended leather by Jan Kielman for black calf - as they're supposed to be more supple.
3. Heel counter goes all the way to the arch - this is also probably why the shoes feel really solid.
4. Shoes are 100% balanced (no side tilting, or gap on the heel) - perfect!
5. They've added arch support on the insole - per my request (to correct my over-pronation) which is a big plus! On this one - I've sent multiple pictures of my feet & ankle from behind to show the over-pronation.
6. Monika was extremely helpful & speak English quite well - so communication was never a problem. If there's any doubt - just call her. It's always better to over-communicate, and talking is always better vs. sending emails.
7. Shoes were done in ~4 weeks - super fast.
Feedback (Caveat: some of the feedback below, especially #1 & #2 is more feedback for myself for a potential next order, as they have more to do with my own personal preference.)
1. I find that the welt extends quite a fair bit on the "Sztuper". I generally prefer the welt not to extend that much to create a slimmer, sharper look. In hindsight, I would have chosen the "lightweight." Now, if I were in Poland, I could have probably seen some of the finished shoes in person, and decided on the "lightweight" immediately.
2. I would have asked for a longer toe - which I'm sure would not be a problem for them. Again, if I were in Poland and had seen the last, I could have made this decision.
3. The waist is not really bevelled.
4. The shoe trees are not really lasted. Having said that, they really serve their purpose. If anything, this is purely just aesthetic.
I hope this is somewhat helpful. Now, enough talking, on with the pictures! Enjoy!
A couple of pictures of the making process:
A couple of pictures of the finished product: