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My first bespoke experience begins - Cleverley

Discussion in 'Classic Menswear' started by Mike147, Oct 4, 2012.

  1. Mike147

    Mike147 Senior member

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    I met with George Glasgow today in New York and ordered my first pair of bespoke shoes. I was hoping to travel to Vienna to try out an Austro-Hungarian shoemaker but due to a very hectic family & work schedule I just don't see it happening any time soon. George comes to NY at least 2 times per year and I plan to travel to London in the next 6 months for a quick business trip. In addition, his reputation is stellar, so I really feel like this is my best option.

    I use a thick orthotic and have only been able to wear Alden's Modified Last - the fit is acceptable but FAR from perfect. I've literally wasted thousands of dollars in the past 8 years trying to find good-fitting, business appropriate dress shoes. I am very happy with my orthotic (have had the device for 6 years) - sure wish it was thinner of course but it corrects the medical/pain issues I have with my feet.

    Mr. Glasgow gave me two options after looking at my shoes, orthotic and feet - 1. Build a bespoke shoe that will better accomodate my foot and current orthotic; or 2. Build a bespoke shoe with added arch support and metatarsal padding added directly into the shoes.

    Mr. Glasgow recommended option #1 - He thinks we can achieve a very good fit along with the comfort and correction that comes along with my existing medical orthotic. He was very honest - stated that he is not a Doctor and despite the fact that he does build custom adjustments into footbeds for his clients, given my situation, there is a chance that the final result could be disappointing.

    George believes that he can build both an elegant and comfortable pair of shoes for me. I believe him so I took the plunge. I ordered a pair of Bespoke Black Calf Imitation Full-Brogued Oxfords (Cat No 51 on the website) - some might find them boring but I think they're beautiful. Now the long wait begins...
     


  2. hendrix

    hendrix Ill-proportioned

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    cool thread I'd love to see the results.
     


  3. JonathanCWalker

    JonathanCWalker Senior member

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    Can wait to see the results
     


  4. add911_11

    add911_11 Senior member

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    This is going to be a good 'boring' shoes
     


  5. kev777

    kev777 Senior member

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    Me too , have a friend whos in a similar boat to the OP !! (lives not too far from you JCW actually in West Bradford)
     


  6. Mike147

    Mike147 Senior member

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    Did your friend seek a similar solution? I'd love to hear about it...
     


  7. Jr Mouse

    Jr Mouse Senior member Dubiously Honored

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    Same.
     


  8. Mike147

    Mike147 Senior member

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    I know I'm many, many months away (6 months) from a first fitting but the question is - How should be-spoke shoes fit?

    I've read comments by forum members that mention that bespoke shoes fit differently than RTW - I've been wearing 'blah' fitting shoes for so long that it's difficult for me to get my arms around what that means. Does anyone have a cross-post or article that discusses fit and comfort? Opinions welcome - I have to believe that there are many different views on this subject.
     
    Last edited: Oct 5, 2012


  9. chogall

    chogall Senior member

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    Would be interested to know as well. Comments like fitting like a gloves do not really help, since some shoes can/do fit like a glove but hurts like a mofo after a 2 mile walk or a 5 hr standing day...
     


  10. kev777

    kev777 Senior member

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    Sorry Mike bit late in answering but he's in the same boat as you and is currently, as you are, going down a very similar route as you with a.n.other shoe manufacturer to see if he can get himself a pair which suit 2 purposes. One to look good along the lines of the Cleverleys and two to suit his needs regarding his medical problem. I'll keep you posted as i'm fairly sure he'll have his before you.
     


  11. Mike147

    Mike147 Senior member

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    Sorry i never followed up on this thread. Bottom line - I never got a good result in terms of fit. Nice museum piece in my closet but after many, many fittings and adjustments my shoes just don't fit well. They are too tight and my feet kill me at the end of the day. I gave up for now - maybe i'll go back to speak with George again but I honestly think it's going to be a waste of time... I would not recommend Cleverley to someone with similar foot issues.

    I have two pairs of Maftei Bespoke from Vienna and recently ordered a third. Completely different customer service experience - when i had a fit issue, the shoes were simply taken back and adjusted (in some cases, completely remade). My only cost was shipping to the shoes back to Vienna (about $50-60 USD). In terms of cost - no comparison. At current EURUSD rates, I am paying approx. $1000 USD (without VAT but including shipping) for bespoke (i already paid for the last). I'm very happy with Maftei... I will steer clear of the English shoemakers going forward.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016


  12. starro

    starro Senior member

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    Can you go into some detail about the Cleverley experience? Specifically the customer service interactions, and how they differed with respect to the Viennese? Really appreciate it.
     


  13. Luvwine

    Luvwine Well-Known Member

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    Just yo chime in regarding the question of how bespoke shoes fit, I have found from my one pair so far (another on the way) from Roberto Ugolini, that, the fit is completely different. Like many Americans, I suspect I was buying shoes that were too big for me. This is partly (mostly?) due to the fact that on any given last, one's foot will pinch at its narrowest point compared to the shape of your foot. Therefore, in order to obtain comfort, one must buy a shoe that is too large except in its smallest dimension relative to your foot. By contrast, a bespoke shoe will fit your foot closely in every dimension. My initial impression was that the bespoke shoe fit tightly, but tightly everywhere equally. As they have broken in, they have gotten more comfortable, and, perhaps more importantly, my mindset as to what constitutes a properly fitting shoe has changed. I now realize how,I have extra space I have in most or perhaps all of my off the rack shoes. I fear I am spoiled now and I will be buying a steady stream of bespoke shoes.
     


  14. Mike147

    Mike147 Senior member

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    Cleverley fittings were executed without the sole attached. I found it very difficult to assess fit as i had to insert my orthotic into the shoe with a thin temporary sole covering, no heel (very tough to walk around, etc). Once the sole was attached and the shoe finished, I had plenty of complaints with regards to tightness in the front of the shoe. Attempts made to achieve a better result have failed.

    Maftei started with a test shoe that was made of cheaper materials that were glued together, but was something i could actually walk around a bit. This wasn't really a shoe I would wear outside for a few days; it was a simple test shoe to assess fit before completing the last and moving to final shoe construction.

    Trial and error is important in this process and I understand that bespoke shoes will fit 'snugger' than most RTW shoes. They are constructed of better and stiffer materials and often take longer to break in (in addition to the fact that they are measured specifically to fit your foot). I had the same experience with my Maftei shoes - break-in period was longer than with RTW but once they were broken in (and adjustments to the last were made), they fit very well. I found that Maftei bent over backwards to ensure that I was happy with the final result. I never felt 'shamed' by sending them back to Lucian with a detailed email and phone call in-between.

    Just never got over the 'hump' with my Cleverley shoes... Given the cost, this is a devastating result. If anyone has had a similar experience with a bespoke shoe maker, I would love to hear what you might have done to resolve the issue amicably. I'd love to be able to wear these Cleverley shoes in my rotation.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2016


  15. tchoy

    tchoy Senior member

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    Sorry to hear your disappointment with your Cleverly's.

    My Maftei are one of my most comfortable shoes that I owned they built in a support arch in replacement of my orthotics. Also agreed the service is great they remade my first pair when the shoes came out to tight.
     


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