The Thread for Discussing Bespeaking Bespoke Shoes - Page 17
That is just gorgeous! The combination keeps it subtle enough while adding a level of complexity to draw the eyes. It would be very unique in Alligator suede as well to add some more texture as well. That gives me an idea for the future now. Thanks.
My Cleverleys started to tear at the top of the heel counter, after about 10 wears or so. Other problems manifested. There was too much space around my heels, causing them to laterally shift about. The instep on one shoe was creasing much more than the other because there was too much circumference over the foot.
In the fall, Adam Law from Cleverley inspected my shoes during his New York visit. He agreed and suspected the shoes were unfixable and needed to be remade. Fittings for the remade balmoral, plus two other pairs, are coming up in May. Great service so far. Glad I didn't have to fight to get a resolution.
Hey Everyone! I'm not sure if this thread is still being used now that we are in 2016! Maybe we can have the name changed so it can be used every year!
Well I mentioned a few times that I was having a pair of bespoke shoes made and now I have info on the shoes that I had made by Perry Ercolino of Doylestown, Pennsylvania in the US!
Just a "few" of his leathers that he has.
Just as a for warning, many of you guys know me from my posts in other threads, but for the ones who don't, I am a specialist in Podiatry as well as Foot and Ankle surgery, with a focus on biomechanics and footwear, so I am including a few extra terms in () for anyone who wishes to know them. I also am including how some of his process will help people with "normal" feet as well as people who have deformities to their feet or pains/problems. I hope that helps you in your reading and lets you know that you can trust the level of detail that I am including.
Perry is a shoemaker who does standard shoe repairs for goodyear as well as other bespoke shoes, but he also makes some of the best bespoke shoes that you can find anywhere in the world! If you want to know more about him, you can do a quick online search, because I am going to focus on his work and process, but trust me in that he is one of the nicest and most respectful men that you will ever meet. He is extremely knowledgable with decades of experience and a true mastery of the craft. Perry is very down to earth and has no problem cracking jokes with you too!
He has two processes for his custom shoes. One is where he can make a custom shoe that you design from an existing last of his. He can modify it for you if you wish. This is like what St. Crispins and some other high end shoe brands can do, which is like a Made to Measure (MTM) shoe.
He also does full bespoke, which is what I had done. I have a very unusual foot shape and size, so this was my only option and I was more than willing to work with him to figure out something amazing for me. I'm measured at a US 14 AAA or so on the Brannock device so as you can imagine, it is near impossible for me to get shoes. The few brands that I have shoes from (Allen Edmonds, Alden, Enzo Bonafe, Vass, Edward Green, and Gaziano & Girling) had to do a lot of work to make shoes that fit decently for me (with variations on extra sock liners, thick or double socks, etc), so I wanted to see what it would be like to get a shoe that is actually made for my unique feet. On top of that, we discussed making them as close cut and fitted as possible to make my feet look shorter too. We also discussed the toe shape and decided on a chisel toe to work with my shape of foot.
His measuring process is the most involved that I have ever heard of and I know a lot about measuring for shoes. I did much research on bespoke shoe makers around the world. He started by taking my measurements on the Brannock device as well as the Ritz stick to show my "normal" measured shoe size and length. I am a US 13 - 13.5 in length of the overall foot, but a US 14 in my heel to ball length, which is the most important part for the shoe fit, because that is to allow the ball of your foot to sit at the widest part of the shoe and to allow the shank in the shoe to give proper support under your feet with out going too long or too short. If it is too short, you won't get the optimal support that a well made shoe offers, and if the shoe is too long, the shank can put pressure under your foot where it bends. The end of the shank is where the shoe is supposed to bend, so if your foot bends before that point, there will be shank that isn't flexing correctly. You are supposed to go by the longer of the two lengths (overall length vs heel - ball length). It also showed my width, which is extremely narrow to the point of almost being of the charts.
Then he took a drawing of my feet and measured around various areas to get the circumference of those places so the volume could be appropriate for each area. He took a few main areas (ball of foot, instep, arch, heel) with some variations on them as well due to the unique shape of my feet, which were comparing the distance and curvature of my big toe joint (1st MPJ) to my little toe joint (5th MPJ) because I have a dramatic curvature down from the 1st to 5th joint. My big toe also is the reverse of a bunion and actually faces in to my other leg (hallux varus), instead of out like people get with a bunion (hallux abductovalgus) or a regular straight toe. These factors made him feel around the joints differently and make note of these relationships that would have to be factored into my last.
Since my foot is so narrow, I also have a very boney foot and he wanted to feel for potential pressure spots that I could develop from bones protruding without a fat covering. If a person has wide feet, he can feel where there is extra tissue and if that can move with the shoe or if the shoe will have to be shaped around that tissue.
After that was done, he even put my foot on a pedograph (see below), which takes an imprint of my foot to see where I place the most pressure and also shoes the exact imprint of my foot including how high of an arch I have. Many people have a low arch or flat foot, but my arch is pretty high so that makes this measurement type very useful in deciding how to make the bottom of the last plus including arch support if needed, depending on the foot type a client has.
After that was all done, we spent time on deciding the basic type of shoe that I would want, the leather, etc. I told him that I wanted to try a whole cut to really just show off the last (to embrace my foot shape) and the amazing leather! I wear a lot of grey and blues for work so I wanted to be able to wear this pair with many of them. If you are getting a bespoke shoe, it is worth being able to wear a lot to get the use out of a shoe that should last for many decades, and cost a fair some as well.
He just pulled out a few hides to discuss the nuances of each type and we decided what color would work.
After the model, last shape, and leather were decided, we then talked about details of the shoe itself. The other details don't have to be decided until after the last has been finished, but I already knew what I wanted. Perry and I discussed a whole cute with 6 eyelets but arranged in pairs to separate it from a "common" whole cut. Plus this amount of eyelets would work better with my long foot.
Then we discussed how I wanted a unique beveled and somewhat fiddleback two tone waist that would be a bit different from the Norm. I finally stated that I wanted a light patina applied by hand polishing if possible to show off what he could do, while adding a somewhat more rustic look to a classically styles shoe.
That was it for the first visit and he has photos sent to me with updates of the process by his amazing assistant and apprentice Michelle! This was of the bespoke last and the start of the insole added on with the proper ribbing done by hand to get ready for the welting process.
Here is the general layout of the shoe upper before being put on the last
After the shoe upper was placed on the last.
Then I was asked to come back to try on the "trial shoe" which was this upper already lasted and attached to a basic cork bottom and rubber attached under it so I would be able to feel how it fit and walk around with the pair for a while. I had a few hours to kill so we just talked while he did some work and I kept those shoes on to let them start to break in a bit. Then I walked around Doylestown for a bit to get some true working in of the pair.
(please pardon the other last and materials that are in the background and not a part of this shoe's process)
They already were feeling quite good and I just felt that the top of the toe box was a bit close to the top of my big toe. He said that he would just build up the last a bit at the toe to help give me a bit more wiggle room while keeping the rest of the fit intact.
I also noticed that it was so perfectly measured around my thin heel and ankle that it was almost a bit constricting on my right outer heel / ankle. He did the same and just showed how he could apply a bit of extra material (tape, leather, etc.) to build it up in those areas to allow for a better fit.
Those were my only comments after carefully analyzing the fit and look of the unfinished shoe and I was off to home again.
After a little while longer, I got a call saying that the final pair was ready for me. I picked them up in person and got the shoes, a shoe tree, and shoe bags. No box but it isn't needed because they are meant to be worn, not put into storage. I tried them on again and could feel how like a glove they were. They were stiff from all of the firm leather he uses to get the most structured fit you can imagine, but the shoe was still amazingly light; it was much lighter than my other shoes from other top level makers, but felt much more sturdy. I had to unlace a few laces to get my foot in with a shoe horn and could just feel / hear the air rush out of the shoe as my foot slipped in perfectly.
The toe area was much better than before and the heel felt adjusted as well. Truthfully, it still felt a bit tight at the outer right heel, but he said to work them in slowly to see if they just need some time to soften and further mold to my foot. He advised 2 hours the first day, then 4, then 6, etc. until a full day is possible.
Here are some pictures when I got them home:
You can really see the dramatic shape of my foot in the last from this straight on shot!
It hugs the arch nicely!
It really comes in tightly on the waist, which I love. It hugs my foot!
Just the perfect toe spring for me! It has enough to aid in walking but not so much that it curls up at all.
The two tone color of the waist that I asked for plus he nailed the heel on for me. The outsole leather is all JR leather!
Here is the waist that I asked for. He really beveled it in and fiddled it in the center but kept the entire thing still rounded unlike the sharp angles that you get from GG. I love the sharp angles from GG's fiddleback but wanted it like a hybrid between that and the waist on Bespoke Cleverley shoes.
I love the shoes and am still working them in more and more, even though I've already worn them for a few full days. They get more comfortable every day I wear them and the fit is like nothing else that you will ever experience!
I hope this information has been worth the wait and really helps anyone who has interest in either shoes from Perry or bespoke shoes in general!
Hey and I also wanted to let you guys know that I've recently learned of a bespoke shoe maker in France who makes some amazing shoes. They are so great and his work and reputation made me actually create a thread about his work.
His name is Stephane Jimenez and here is a link to the thread:
I would love for us to be able to get him to come to the US to make some shoes for us StyleForum guys. I already spoke to him and he said that he would love to come to the US if there would be a few of us interested. He also said that he will send me some updated photos as he makes more shoes so we can be kept in the loop.
Check out the thread and let me know what you guys think, but I figured that by now, we are the group of guys who would have the most interest in this!