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Custom shoes - am I mad?

GrahamM

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Hi Everyone,

I'm slowly upping my game with regard to clothing. I don't wear suits, so I dress casually. In winter...denim, cords, the odd wool trouser, all generally darker colours - black, indigo, grey etc.; in summer...lighter colours - creams, silvers etc. I have had a MTM peacoat (mid grey, lovely texture) and beautiful MTM navy blue shearling coat with black furry bit bomber jacket made and would love to dress them up a bit.

I'd like to buy some decent shoes/boots for autumn/winter. Only really have rain to worry about. I have one pair of boots with a side-zip that are brown-black pebble leather with full brogue. Great and casual with mid-wash jeans, black cords, grey wool trousers. My only other smart footwear is a tan chukka, but not decent leather and showing it's age. Would love a second pair of likewise casual but smart boots or shoes. I am really taken with split toe shoes/boots such as these:

https://www.yeossal.com/collections/derby-shoes/products/holland-derby-in-dark-oak (these are shoes!)

But, already similar to my brown-black boots so I am considering a custom make, e.g with either listed manufacturer. Am I mad to do this? Any thoughts as to the style of this type of shoe/boot and relative smartness/formality/casualness?

Cheers

Graham
 

JackEst3

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MTO is a good option if you're looking for a specific style. You just need to consider the cost per wear.

The dark-mid brown colour in both those shoes is very versatile. The split toe style is somewhat uncommon, but not necessarily a deal breaker (particularly if the color and other styling (chukka boots and derby) are simple).

I wouldn't say the styling is too similar to your other boots, however, and even if its is and you like the boots, you can rotate them and extend their lifespan.

What exactly were you thinking of having custom made?
 

Phileas Fogg

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I agree with the above, one customizes for the materials and certain stylistic features. You should be able to select the last as well (I’m not sure if Carmina does this).

The boot in question is unusual but that’s ok. It doesn’t speak to me but I’m not the one looking to buy it; you are.

I will say this, MTO is a great way to build a personalized shoe rotation but please make sure to go in store and try the shoe on in the last you are ordering. MTO is just that; to order. You have to put down a deposit and then pay the balance when the shoe is completed. As such, you may be limited with refund options if the last doesn’t work for you.
 

johng70

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I would caution about jumping into MTO when you have limited experience with high end boots/shoes and the lasts. Everything can seem great until you wear the boot and you might find it simply doesn't fit the shape of your foot and then you are out of luck. Even with all the experience on this forum, it's impossible for people to predict how a given shoe/boot for a given last will fit YOU. As @Phileas Fogg states, when you move into buying quality shoes/boots the best idea is to be able to try shoes on first. When I started buying quality shoes - I started with Allen Edmonds (I live in USA) and went to a store to try them on. I found that certain lasts just didn't fit my feet at all. And, let's see - some shoes I own are 9.5D, some are 9.5E some are 8.5D, one is 9D. Try figuring out what size you should order in a specific last without any good frame of reference, and getting it right! I then could move to ordering online (even then I would sometimes try a last and it didn't fit as well because I couldn't try that specific shoe and different sizes on at retail). I've moved into other manufacturers and as I did so, I had reference points. So, when I bought Carmina for the first time - I could find advice on how a given last compares to lasts I own in AE or Alden. So, I felt more comfortable ordering site unseen. Even so, I would not personally order a MTO shoe unless I was confident of the sizing/fit for that last and my feet.
So, I would recommend against MTO initially - if you can try on specific brands at retail, do that first. If you can't, then I would recommend finding a boot you like out of stock items and then you can return if the fit isn't right.
 

GrahamM

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Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply and for the (rightly so) cautionary sage advice.

I wouldn't jump into MTO blind. I would go to a physical store (I live 55 miles from London and 55 miles from Northampton, UK home of shoemaking but due to COVID all factory shops are closed it seems), try something on and go from there. If I went with an online store, I guess I'd try to buy the right size in that last of a stock item and then return it before MTO. Costly, but not so bad from the UK. I also realise I am not a shoe designer and maybe don't understand the nuances. So, I will be careful.

I wouldn't intend of buying a shoe collection....just one or two pairs and I can spread this out over a long time.

I'm more concerned of not buying too similar styles because maybe I don't like much I see!

Cheers

Graham
 

Phileas Fogg

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Thanks everyone for taking the time to reply and for the (rightly so) cautionary sage advice.

I wouldn't jump into MTO blind. I would go to a physical store (I live 55 miles from London and 55 miles from Northampton, UK home of shoemaking but due to COVID all factory shops are closed it seems), try something on and go from there. If I went with an online store, I guess I'd try to buy the right size in that last of a stock item and then return it before MTO. Costly, but not so bad from the UK. I also realise I am not a shoe designer and maybe don't understand the nuances. So, I will be careful.

I wouldn't intend of buying a shoe collection....just one or two pairs and I can spread this out over a long time.

I'm more concerned of not buying too similar styles because maybe I don't like much I see!

Cheers

Graham

It always starts with one or two pair!

Consider, too, your needs. If you are truly only buying one or two pair, then consider what purpose they will serve in your overall wardrobe. For example, if you are not one to wear business formal, then there really is not reason to upgrade and invest is a costly pair of black shoes. If you tend more toward casual and business-casual wear, then a pair of brown suede Chukka boots will take you a long way.
 

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