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Are there any reasonable bespoke shoemakers?

vitaminc

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Originally Posted by jmonroestyle
Originally Posted by palladio211
I have a very hard foot to fit, with a narrow heel and wide toe. Just about every RTW shoe is a compromise in some way for me - cramped toe or slipping heel.

I have a foot that is similar to yours in shape. For many years I was convinced that there were no RTW shoes I could wear that would come even close to fitting properly, so I wore only my custom made cowboy boots and lace up ankle boots.

After what I learned from this forum and some expensive trial and error, through internet purchases, I found a number of shoes made on lasts that are better suited to our shaped feet.

I have found that all the Allen Edmonds shoes and Italian shoes I have tried, pinched in the toes and were too big in the heels.

Here are some shoe companies and last #'s that have wider toe boxes, and narrower heels.

Alden of New England- Copley, Plaza, and Barrie lasts

Alden Foot Balance System- Truflare last, Trubalance last

Barkers of England- 29 last

Trickers-6038 last

Cheaney-last #'s 175, 3184,
3485

Crockett and Jones- 341 last

Grenson- 96 last

In general UK lasts run a little longer and wider than a standard American last when dropping 1/2 size down. For exmple most American lasts in a size 11.5 D are too short for me and usually too narrow. However, a UK 11 E or F (depending on the brand) is about a US 11.8 which gives me that little bit of extra toe room that makes all the difference.

Alden lasts generally run a little longer than standard US sizing also, making them fit more like UK shoes.

Finding the perfect fit for anyone in a RTW shoe, ranges from difficult to impossible for many people. Our feet often change during the day, so a compromise fit is often the best that we are going to get. Often a heavier or thinner sock can put the shoe in the wearable column, as well as some stretching in certain places. I never can just buy a shoe and wear it right out of the box without doing some fine tuning of the final fit.

I would think that with our shaped feet, our best bet is lace-up shoes, as they are the most adjustable. Slip-ons and monk straps I would think are best avoided in our search for good fitting shoes.

Good luck with your search.

Jess


Thanks for the advise!!

I oftentimes has to find a shoe that fits on the toe box and add heel padding/grips. That is easier than stretching out the toe box through the break-in process or shoe stretcher.
 

dopey

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Originally Posted by MarcellHUN
I start from the end: normally 1, sometimes 2.
Normally our customers need custom lasts - no problem with it. If we meet the first day, you arrive, I will measure your foot, and make your last in the next day. You will just get a shoe to try (not to wear - a few days is not enough for that). I would need your size to prepare the upper in advance. With the test shoe, we will just check your last - fits or not?


To you, this system must have seemed obvious. To me, it is brilliant. If you know the general size parameters, you can click and close the upper before you have the exact last to last it on. This would never have occurred to me. That is the difference between people who talk about this stuff on forums and people who actually make shoes.
 

fritzl

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Originally Posted by dopey
To you, this system must have seemed obvious. To me, it is brilliant. If you know the general size parameters, you can click and close the upper before you have the exact last to last it on. This would never have occurred to me. That is the difference between people who talk about this stuff on forums and people who actually make shoes.
Soo true
 

bengal-stripe

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Originally Posted by dopey
To me, it is brilliant. If you know the general size parameters, you can click and close the upper before you have the exact last to last it on.
Isn't it like making up a complete suit, trying it on and fixing some alterations: at best MTM but not bespoke.

There are quite a few shoemakers, who buy their uppers in as ready made units. You as the costumer cannot have any design input. The toecap has a certain size, you cannot ask for slightly larger or smaller toecap, the broguing is fixed etc.

Just as every proper bespoke suit will need an individual pattern (taking into account not only the customers measurements, but also their stylistic preferences), so does a bespoke shoe. Some people have a long forefoot and a shorter backfoot, with others it's reversed. So the proportions between vamp and quarters differ with each customer. Let alone aesthetic considerations, do you cut the "˜throat' (the seam where vamp and quarter meet) more square or more round.

As the John Lobb book is called "The last comes first", and from the last a "˜form' is made: "a form is the flat representation of the top surface area of the last" (PJ Batten "˜Boot and Shoemaking - a Practical Handbook). Vass Book page 76 shows (one way) how to arrive at a form; page 77 shows forms with drawn-in patterns.

There are a number of shoemakers who operate like a bread roll factory: you ask for less salt and more caraway seeds, they say: "Certainly Sir", and when the thing comes out of the oven it has as much salt and caraway seeds as all the others. They can't be bothered to make an individual pattern. So much for choice!

One of London's most experienced last makers needs four hours for a brand-new last from scratch. Silvano Lattanzi (at a price) can make an entire shoe from the first consultation, right to the trial fitting within three days. It can be done without cutting corners.

But a completed upper, before even the first consultation seems to me a very bad proposition.
Originally Posted by dopey
This would never have occurred to me. That is the difference between people who talk about this stuff on forums and people who actually make shoes.
Maybe that's the difference between people who love shoes and those who make them for a living. (Quite frequently they are not the same type of person.)
 

Manton

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I was under the impression that an upper pattern is supposed to be desinged on/around the client's individual last to get the styling just right (ever seam where it should be, nothing off centered, symetrical where it should be, asymetrical where it should not be, etc.)

Certainly, that's what Tony told me he does, and he showed my my patterns and my last. Every pair I have a ordered has (so far) required him to make a new pattern for me.
 

shoefan

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Perhaps the pre-sewn upper is only used for try-on purposes? Assuming the upper is close enough that it can be lasted 'tight to the wood,' then you could have a fitter shoe in a matter of days. Then, after the last is finalized/modified based on feedback from the fitting, a pattern could be made and a new upper sewn.
 

MarcellHUN

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Originally Posted by vitaminc
Do you offer bespoke services for potential customers outside of Budapest?

Yes I do. Where exactly?
 

Harry Lean

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Originally Posted by Manton
I was under the impression that an upper pattern is supposed to be desinged on/around the client's individual last to get the styling just right (ever seam where it should be, nothing off centered, symetrical where it should be, asymetrical where it should not be, etc.)

Certainly, that's what Tony told me he does, and he showed my my patterns and my last. Every pair I have a ordered has (so far) required him to make a new pattern for me.



Hello Manton. What do you mean by an upper pattern?
 

Manton

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Originally Posted by Harry Lean
Hello Manton. What do you mean by an upper pattern?

I mean the paper template from which the actual pieces of leather are cut.
 

Harry Lean

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Originally Posted by Manton
I mean the paper template from which the actual pieces of leather are cut.

Why has Tony needed to make a new pattern for every pair of shoes he has made for you?
 

Manton

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Originally Posted by Harry Lean
Why has Tony needed to make a new pattern for every pair of shoes he has made for you?

It's not a like a suit. Shoe patterns differ greatly from model to model. Bluchers and oxfords need different patterns, for intance. Even a basic oxford model needs modifications, for instance, not all the parts for a punch cap work for a full brogue, etc. And then slip-ons need a whole new pattern still. Some makers even make a separate slip-on last for the same client.
 

bengal-stripe

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Originally Posted by shoefan
Perhaps the pre-sewn upper is only used for try-on purposes?
Here are two forms of "˜trial shoe', made from scrap and Cinderella's glass slipper



John Lobb Paris also uses the transparent try-on shoe. The plastic gets pulled over the last using warmth and vacuum.
The idea is to see how the foot sits within the space.

I believe, opinions are divided about this method (as Manton might care to tell you).

Picture taken from Mischa Berghoeff
http://www.ilmaestro.nl/index2.html
 

dopey

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Originally Posted by bengal-stripe
Isn't it like making up a complete suit, trying it on and fixing some alterations: at best MTM but not bespoke.

There are quite a few shoemakers, who buy their uppers in as ready made units. You as the costumer cannot have any design input. The toecap has a certain size, you cannot ask for slightly larger or smaller toecap, the broguing is fixed etc.

Just as every proper bespoke suit will need an individual pattern (taking into account not only the customers measurements, but also their stylistic preferences), so does a bespoke shoe. Some people have a long forefoot and a shorter backfoot, with others it's reversed. So the proportions between vamp and quarters differ with each customer. Let alone aesthetic considerations, do you cut the "˜throat' (the seam where vamp and quarter meet) more square or more round.

As the John Lobb book is called "The last comes first", and from the last a "˜form' is made: "a form is the flat representation of the top surface area of the last" (PJ Batten "˜Boot and Shoemaking - a Practical Handbook). Vass Book page 76 shows (one way) how to arrive at a form; page 77 shows forms with drawn-in patterns.

There are a number of shoemakers who operate like a bread roll factory: you ask for less salt and more caraway seeds, they say: "Certainly Sir", and when the thing comes out of the oven it has as much salt and caraway seeds as all the others. They can't be bothered to make an individual pattern. So much for choice!

One of London's most experienced last makers needs four hours for a brand-new last from scratch. Silvano Lattanzi (at a price) can make an entire shoe from the first consultation, right to the trial fitting within three days. It can be done without cutting corners.

But a completed upper, before even the first consultation seems to me a very bad proposition.

Maybe that's the difference between people who love shoes and those who make them for a living. (Quite frequently they are not the same type of person.)


The design will still be bespoke, i.e. anything the customer wants. The point is that, when the customer is in a rush for a pair made as soon as possible, the shoemaker can do the upper and the last simultaneously. The result may not be as perfect as if the pattern were laid out from the actual last, but it will be very close and once lasted the fit will be to a bespoke last.

This is for a rush process. If the customer has time, then the normal process would prevail.
 

palladio211

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Originally Posted by dopey
The design will still be bespoke, i.e. anything the customer wants. The point is that, when the customer is in a rush for a pair made as soon as possible, the shoemaker can do the upper and the last simultaneously. The result may not be as perfect as if the pattern were laid out from the actual last, but it will be very close and once lasted the fit will be to a bespoke last.

This is for a rush process. If the customer has time, then the normal process would prevail.


This is a very interesting and informative discussion.

I would really like to hear from MarcellHUNN on this particular issue. If I can take more time, will the upper be made to my custom last?

I also like the idea of that clear shoe approach. The biggest problem with new shoe fit for me at the toe is that you can't really see or feel what's going on unless the shoes are already broken in and the leather is soft enough.
 

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