• Hi, I am the owner and main administrator of Styleforum. If you find the forum useful and fun, please help support it by buying through the posted links on the forum. Our main, very popular sales thread, where the latest and best sales are listed, are posted HERE

    Purchases made through some of our links earns a commission for the forum and allows us to do the work of maintaining and improving it. Finally, thanks for being a part of this community. We realize that there are many choices today on the internet, and we have all of you to thank for making Styleforum the foremost destination for discussions of menswear.
  • This site contains affiliate links for which Styleforum may be compensated.
  • STYLE. COMMUNITY. GREAT CLOTHING.

    Bored of counting likes on social networks? At Styleforum, you’ll find rousing discussions that go beyond strings of emojis.

    Click Here to join Styleforum's thousands of style enthusiasts today!

    Styleforum is supported in part by commission earning affiliate links sitewide. Please support us by using them. You may learn more here.

Bespoke Shoemaker Szuba - official affiliate thread

shoemaker_rafal

Member
Affiliate Vendor
Joined
Feb 16, 2023
Messages
17
Reaction score
63
Dear Forum Members,

It is my great pleasure to join your community as a supporting member of Styleforum. I come from Poland and I am a self-taught shoemaker who has been exploring the secrets of the art of shoemaking for almost 20 years. I started my journey with shoes practically from scratch, gradually improving my qualifications over the years, which allowed me to work on more expensive shoes and perform very advanced repairs and modifications on brands that are regularly discussed on the forum. I know practically all shoe manufacturers, from various price ranges, such as Edward Green, Carmina, Vass, Santoni, Berluti, TLB, Loake, Carlos Santos, Meermin, Allen Edmonds, and many, many more.

Many years ago, with the enormous support of my clients, I made the decision to start making custom-made shoes under my own brand. The beginnings were difficult, as the process of creating bespoke shoes involves the expertise of many people, including a last maker, upper maker, shoemaker, and even a patina artist, creating unique colors of finished shoes. Due to a lack of appropriate professionals in the market, but mainly due to my personal desire for self-improvement, I mastered all of these professions, and to this day, every pair of shoes that I hand over to a client is 100% the result of my own work.

As a bespoke shoemaker, armed with the knowledge I gained from shoe servicing, I searched for optimal construction and material solutions to be able to offer my clients a top-of-the-line product. In many ways, my shoes are different from others. Key features include:

• shoes on lasts of a higher class than all others in the market, including TRUE BESPOKE created based on 3-D negative reflecting the anatomy of the foot
• excellent fit from the MTM standard (QUASI BESPOKE) based on foot parameters provided by the client
• shoe construction based on a seamless welt
• unprecedented quality of leather and softness of shoe uppers
• breathability
• durability with a lifetime service guarantee
• perfectly designed uppers
• smooth back of the shoe without any stitches
• and many more features, which I will be presenting in my subsequent posts.

Like every creator, I have my favorite type of shoes that bring me the greatest satisfaction at work. These are seamless wholecut shoes, which only a handful of people in the world can create.

I can say that I fell in love with this type of shoes. At the moment, I have dozens of pairs in the process of making, with varying degrees of sophistication.

The seamless wholecuts I offer are available "off-the-shelf" on MTM lasts. They are made in what I called QUASI BESPOKE standard on the basis of individual foot measurements - I have over 30 types of lasts to pair them properly with such measurements in order to produce and fine tune the shoes that are comfortable from the very first moment.

I also have a second option for the seamless wholecuts with zero compromise: they can be created in a very rare standard that I call TRUE BESPOKE: created as the first pair on the most advanced, fully individualized last, created completely from scratch, taking into account the 3-D negative of the foot and other anatomical features.

SPECIAL OFFER

I would like to share my passion for shoe making with you, which is why I have prepared a special offer!

Seamless wholecuts, prepared in what I called above a QUASI BESPOKE standard, that is:

- created on lasts selected on the basis of the individual foot outline and given measurements

- created from classic leather in the following colors: black, chocolate brown, dark brown, eggplant, cognac.

- made of crust leather dyed in any color

- made of crust leather dyed and patinated

And all this at an unbeatable price of $800 with shipping already included!

The quantity to produce is limited - I can only prepare 10 pairs under this offer.

wholecut-seamless.jpg


If you are interested, simply write under the post or send a private message. All details will be arranged with everyone individually. Feel invited to apply!
 

LA Guy

Opposite Santa
Admin
Moderator
Supporting Member
Joined
Mar 8, 2002
Messages
57,488
Reaction score
36,314
I am sorry to be a bit late to welcome Rafal to the forum. The past few days have been overly busy. We've been planning this for many months now, and I'm extremely happy to have a true bespoke maker as an affiliate vendor.

Rafal @shoemaker_rafal will be a true boon the community, and I hope that you will make him welcome and also take advantage of his very generous introductory offer. It's not manufactured scarcity. Rafal is a true independent artisan and can only make so many pairs.

Cheers,

Fok.
 

ter1413

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Dec 3, 2009
Messages
22,101
Reaction score
6,033
.....
 

Son Of Saphir

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2009
Messages
1,558
Reaction score
855
Rafal,

can you post more photos of your shoes.
Would like to see shoes on different style lasts.
Would like to see more of what you can do.
 

shoemaker_rafal

Member
Affiliate Vendor
Joined
Feb 16, 2023
Messages
17
Reaction score
63
Rafal,

can you post more photos of your shoes.
Would like to see shoes on different style lasts.
Would like to see more of what you can do.
Seamless wholecut shoes are my flagship product, but of course, I make shoes in other styles as well, it’s my daily bread. When designing a particular shoe upper, I'm not limited by anything, because I personally develop each pattern. Therefore, you can request any type of shoe. Below are a few examples:

saddle-shoes.jpg

Shoes for a client who frequently travels to the USA, probably a model that you are familiar with, but unfortunately not very popular in my country - what a shame.


oksfordy-czarne-bez-nakładanych-nosków.jpg

Custom-made oxfords without capped toes for a client with a very elongated foot, on top of that with a Roman foot, which greatly limits the possibilities of making slim shoes.


buty-czesciowo-patynowane.jpg

Shoes made of two types of leather, partially patinated.


monki.jpg

Suede monk shoes (photo without soles yet).


mokasyny-z-krokodyla.jpg

Custom-made crocodile loafers for a very wide and swollen foot.


derby-zamszowe.jpg

Suede derby shoes, made as a trial pair before making the final brogues.


brogsy-46vs50.jpg

Custom-made brogue shoes for a client's wedding - one of my most challenging projects, as the client has one foot in size 50 and the other in size 46, and it's also bow-legged. The shoes feature construction solutions that allow them to be worn without special clasps to secure the feet. I will soon dedicate a separate post to this project, in which I will describe in detail the TRUE BESPOKE shoe making process.


brogsy damskie złoto-brązowe.jpg

Although they are women's shoes, they illustrate the quality of my shoe upper sewing.

The lasts that I prepare from scratch for each client automatically expand my base of lasts, which I can use for other clients. That's why, at present, even in the basic MTM version, you can have incredibly comfortable shoes - in my last database, I simply have a "shoe twin" for you :)
 

Karl Matt

Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2023
Messages
5
Reaction score
14
Hello, Gentlemen!

I decided to register on the forum, since I am Rafał's client. I have four shoes from him, but my favorite ones are made in navy (I also have black, light brown and dark brown). First I was skeptical when he offered them, but now I find them very versatile. Here are the pictures.

1676813776712.png


1676814391365.png


1676814425155.png
 

Son Of Saphir

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2009
Messages
1,558
Reaction score
855
Seamless wholecut shoes are my flagship product, but of course, I make shoes in other styles as well, it’s my daily bread. When designing a particular shoe upper, I'm not limited by anything, because I personally develop each pattern. Therefore, you can request any type of shoe. Below are a few examples:

View attachment 1899473
Shoes for a client who frequently travels to the USA, probably a model that you are familiar with, but unfortunately not very popular in my country - what a shame.


View attachment 1899471
Custom-made oxfords without capped toes for a client with a very elongated foot, on top of that with a Roman foot, which greatly limits the possibilities of making slim shoes.


View attachment 1899461
Shoes made of two types of leather, partially patinated.


View attachment 1899469
Suede monk shoes (photo without soles yet).


View attachment 1899467
Custom-made crocodile loafers for a very wide and swollen foot.


View attachment 1899465
Suede derby shoes, made as a trial pair before making the final brogues.


View attachment 1899459
Custom-made brogue shoes for a client's wedding - one of my most challenging projects, as the client has one foot in size 50 and the other in size 46, and it's also bow-legged. The shoes feature construction solutions that allow them to be worn without special clasps to secure the feet. I will soon dedicate a separate post to this project, in which I will describe in detail the TRUE BESPOKE shoe making process.


View attachment 1899457
Although they are women's shoes, they illustrate the quality of my shoe upper sewing.

The lasts that I prepare from scratch for each client automatically expand my base of lasts, which I can use for other clients. That's why, at present, even in the basic MTM version, you can have incredibly comfortable shoes - in my last database, I simply have a "shoe twin" for you :)

Thankyou for these photos.
Was very interested to see your last shapes and the heel area with the 360 degree welt.

- My feedback -
Many of your patterns and designs have good proportions.
Would like you to access more elegant and shapely lasts.
There is so much competition out there and it is important to put your good work in the best light.
With better lasts your work will look so much better.
More and more shoemakers are accessing more shapely lasts these days to make their work look better.
See this video from 7:40


Would also like to see slimmer heels with no 360 degree welt.

Paul Parkman used to use blocky lasts too,
but after a discussion with him they sort more elegant lasts overseas and never looked back.
It transformed their whole product.

Good luck with everything.
 

TimothyF

Senior Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2018
Messages
312
Reaction score
264
Very subjective.

"More elegant and shapely" is code for slimmer, elongated with pointy toes. To my eyes that's going for more feminized stiletto silhouette.

Fine if that's your cup of tea. Myself I prefer men's shoes with "good proportions".

And the idea that if you don't have slim pointy shoes, then you must have blocky/blobby/[insert pejorative here] is one of the biggest strawmen out there. There is a happy medium between feminine shapeliness and extra chunky; IMO that's where conservative good tastes lie.
 

Son Of Saphir

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2009
Messages
1,558
Reaction score
855
"More elegant and shapely" is code for slimmer, elongated with pointy toes. To my eyes that's going for more feminized stiletto silhouette.

It does not have to be that way.
Here is an example of a good balance of the middle.
https://www.instagram.com/marquess_shoemaker/

and


Some clients will love a fuller shoe,
some love a very elegant shoe,
some love something in the middle.

Lets see what Rafal have to say.
Maybe he like my ideas or maybe he don't.
There is a happy medium between feminine shapeliness and extra chunky; IMO that's where conservative good tastes lie.

Agreed and here it is:

Something here more into more stylized lasts but still good to study the shapes and workmanship:

Of course some of these makers use bespoke lasts,
but good for inspiration and to study.

If one really wants to charge $$$$$ and draw lots of overseas clients they make shoes like this:

Just sharing ideas.
 
Last edited:

shoemaker_rafal

Member
Affiliate Vendor
Joined
Feb 16, 2023
Messages
17
Reaction score
63
Many of your patterns and designs have good proportions.
Would like you to access more elegant and shapely lasts.
There is so much competition out there and it is important to put your good work in the best light.
With better lasts your work will look so much better.
More and more shoemakers are accessing more shapely lasts these days to make their work look better.
Thank you for your informative post. Indeed, many of my clients have
similar feelings that in my creations I manage to maintain the
appropriate proportions in individual elements of shoes (such as uppers,
soles, stiffeners, etc.). As far as the lasts are concerned, my primary
base contains over 30 of them, including those you wrote about. They
will be gradually introduced into my MTM offer.

As for the issue of sewing a 360-degree welt and making heels, this is
an element that I always consult with the client before making the
shoes. Sewing around has one indisputable argument - protecting the
upper heel from mechanical injuries (e.g. while driving a car).

Making heels in the way presented in the Gaziano Girling shoes video is
more than possible and if a client wishes, it can be done. I have to
praise the nicely made heel ball, which comes as standard in my shoes
starting from the lowest line.

Although to be honest, the shoes themselves, which are described as full bespoke
for $4000, have, in my opinion, some flaws in the area of the last
design, uppers, welting, and finishing to such extent that I personally would not
consider them fully bespoke shoes and would not offer them to an individualized client.
In my opinion, they represent a level of advanced MTM. The silhouette itself is indeed very likeable to some clients, and I can also design the shoes this way.

(By the way, the US president is 50 kilometres from my home town, the world is small)
 

Son Of Saphir

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2009
Messages
1,558
Reaction score
855
Thanks for explaining all of that Rafal.
Probably lots of people interested to read what you had to say.
Like what you are doing with the antiquing too.

Please show me the wholecut from different angels.
If it is a seamless wholecut that is indeed very impressive.

What about your shoe construction...is it really hand welted or blake-rapid (fairstitch construction)?
Do you also do the mackay stitch for lighter shoes?

Pre made heels?
Are you able to make stacked heels yourself?
 
Last edited:

Son Of Saphir

Distinguished Member
Joined
Dec 28, 2009
Messages
1,558
Reaction score
855
Rafal,

you are very skilled in providing good proportions,
ie natural talent in doing good pattern in good proportion on last.

Skiving of uppers is also very good

These look hand lasted, is this true?
Is that apron on the alligator hand stitched?

Would like to see the soles and insides of the shoe (construction area on soles).
 
Last edited:

gimpwiz

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 10, 2020
Messages
659
Reaction score
639
These are gorgeous, and the work is excellent. I have no idea how one would successfully do MTM over the internet, especially someone like myself with only a couple dress shoes to compare against (ie, effectively no real knowledge of how to get things done.) If I was visiting Poland, though, I'd stop by for sure ;)
 

Featured Sponsor

How important is full vs half canvas to you for heavier sport jackets?

  • Definitely full canvas only

    Votes: 78 36.4%
  • Half canvas is fine

    Votes: 80 37.4%
  • Really don't care

    Votes: 23 10.7%
  • Depends on fabric

    Votes: 35 16.4%
  • Depends on price

    Votes: 35 16.4%

Forum statistics

Threads
506,173
Messages
10,586,982
Members
224,135
Latest member
rockwell21hr
Top