• I'm happy to introduce the Styleforum Happy Hour, our brand new podcast featuring lively discussion about menswear and the fashion industry. In the inaugural edition, a discussion of what's going on in retail today. Please check it out on the Journal. All episodes will be also be available soon on your favorite podcast platform.

  • Styleforum Gives - Holiday Charity Auction 8: Cuir de Russie card case from Equus Leather

    We are very proud to present this year's edition of the Styleforum Holiday Charity Auctions, this year in support of the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Spokane (www.rmhcspokane.org). Each Auction lasts 24 hours. Please follow and bid on all the auctions.

    The 8th auction is for a Cuir de Russie card case from Equus Leather. Please bid often and generously here

    Fok and the Styleforum Team.

  • 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!

Questions on made to order shoes and bespoke shoes.

chorse123

Stylish Dinosaur
Joined
Nov 5, 2004
Messages
10,448
Reaction score
75
I asked a few weeks ago about the decision to graduate to bespoke suits, and the discussion helped me decide to try Varham at Mr. Ned for a jacket, which is in the works. Then I started thinking about made to order shoes and bespoke shoes. I have enough fun money to order a pair of bespoke shoes (Scafora), or two pairs of high-end custom handmade shoes (picking a last, style, material or materials). I'm not certain I will do either. If I'm thrilled with my Mr. Ned jacket, funds may certainly go towards more jackets, and I may go overboard at the Hickey Freeman sale. But a few questions came up, for which I couldn't find clear answers in the archives:

  • Durability: Are bespoke shoes more durable than RTW? Does a better fit translate to more balanced wear? I walk a lot - at least half an hour a day in NYC - and that can be rough on shoes.


  • Resoling: Have you had your bespoke shoes resoled more or less frequently than RTW? Do you have the original maker handle the repair? If so, is it significantly more expensive than a good cobbler?


  • Fit: Is the improvement in fit with bespoke extraordinary? Is it a flight above, or just a few noticeable steps? Does the same logic apply as with suits, that it will take a few orders? With Scafora, the cost of bespoke is roughly twice what I would pay for made-to-order.


  • Style: Did you order a basic style on your first bespoke shoes, or have you gone with something more unusual? I like that with shoes it seems you can stray from what is widely available in RTW but still be well within the bounds of good taste - see RJman's butterfly loafers. I'm not after an extreme shape, but would appreciate some unique details.
 

Manton

RINO
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Apr 20, 2002
Messages
41,583
Reaction score
2,855
[*]Durability: Are bespoke shoes more durable than RTW? Does a better fit translate to more balanced wear? I walk a lot - at least half an hour a day in NYC - and that can be rough on shoes.
Yes. Bepoke shoes tend to use tougher twine (hemp) and are made with a lot of hand-stitching that is more sublte and has more "give." This is good, allowing them to withstand stress better. At least, this has been the case for me. Also, the skins are better and stand up to wear better. I have had skin crack and flake on even very good RTW shoes, never on bespoke shoes.

[*]Resoling: Have you had your bespoke shoes resoled more or less frequently than RTW? Do you have the original maker handle the repair? If so, is it significantly more expensive than a good cobbler?
It is WAY more expensive than a good cobbler. This is a problem. I can't say if mine have needed more or fewer resolings as I have not kept meticulous count, but it's been comparable, and that hurts the wallet. Adding a steel toe or a rubber tip at the toe can help. Extra rows of nails are useless, in my experience.

[*]Fit: Is the improvement in fit with bespoke extraordinary? Is it a flight above, or just a few noticeable steps? Does the same logic apply as with suits, that it will take a few orders? With Scafora, the cost of bespoke is roughly twice what I would pay for made-to-order.
In my case, the fit improvement is very noticeable, yet still hard to justify, in that I am not hard to fit RTW. Which is to say, RTW shoes are not uncomfortable, whereas bespoke shoes fit very closely without any pinching. The feeling is inimitable. I thus consider the fit improvement to be an enjoyable luxury. What IS noticable, to me, is the way a bespoke last LOOKS. At its best, it is so obviously sui generis and original that no RTW last, no matter how elegant, can really compare.

[*]Style: Did you order a basic style on your first bespoke shoes, or have you gone with something more unusual?
All of mine are either traditional, or just every so slightly different in a way that hardly anyone will notice. I don't really like unusual shoes.
 

Concordia

Distinguished Member
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Oct 6, 2004
Messages
6,642
Reaction score
978
Originally Posted by chorse123
  • Durability: Are bespoke shoes more durable than RTW? Does a better fit translate to more balanced wear? I walk a lot - at least half an hour a day in NYC - and that can be rough on shoes.


  • Resoling: Have you had your bespoke shoes resoled more or less frequently than RTW? Do you have the original maker handle the repair? If so, is it significantly more expensive than a good cobbler?

I have had cracks in one pair of bespoke shoes-- my first pair, and I am at a loss as to explain why. Perhaps b/c it was a very fine, flexible calfskin. Or not enough polish or some other infraction on my part. Central heating?

One note about re-soling is that resoling on your own last produces markedly better results than a generic job. The only point of comparison I have here is with Wildsmith (EG/C&J), as these were the only shoes I had pre-bespoke days that were good enough to re-sole. The re-soled shoes tended to feel OK upon arrival, but became less so over time. Resoled Cleverleys feel like Cleverleys and stay that way. As they should: a resoling job from them has roughly the same cost as a new pair of hand grade RTWs.
 

itsstillmatt

The Liberator
Dubiously Honored
Joined
Mar 11, 2006
Messages
14,384
Reaction score
2,073
Lattanzi is very cheap for resoling ($250), but he sure does get you on the front end!. I find absolutly no fit improvement from RTW to bespoke. I have even had a bespoke maker try to talk me out of shoes because my feet are really normal. The reason to do it is, IMO, twofold. First, you can have a shoe made to your specs as far as materials and design. The materials for handmade shoes (including bespoke and RTW like Lattanzi or Scafora) are much better. In suede it is night and day. Second, you can get a handwelted shoe. I think that they are more comfortable and don't take time to break in. Again, that goes for both RTW and bespoke handwelted shoes that I have worn. I think that Scafora makes really, really nice shoes and is a good bargain. He also does make RTW to his bespoke standards. I don't know if he will sell them in the US or not to non-bespoke customers. They do sell them at PrimoPianoItalia. You can find them on the web at www.primopianoitalia.it. Price is right around $1k for RTW handmade shoes.
 

Artisan Fan

Suitsupply-sider
Joined
Jul 17, 2006
Messages
32,372
Reaction score
191
My bespoke shoes are both more durable than even fine RTW but they are lighter and more comfortable.

Amesbury is reasonable on resoles and as Matt says same for Lattanzi.

The fit of bespoke is extraordinary since the lasts when done right are exactly like your feet.

I did a two traditional shoes for bespoke, one Lattanzi, one Amesbury. My next Amesbury will have some unusual features.

It's worth the money.
 

Styleforum is proudly sponsored by

Featured Sponsor

How many pairs of shoes do you own?

  • 1 - 4

    Votes: 32 3.8%
  • 5 - 10

    Votes: 143 17.1%
  • 11 - 20

    Votes: 276 33.1%
  • 21 - 30

    Votes: 130 15.6%
  • 31 - 40

    Votes: 71 8.5%
  • 41 - 50

    Votes: 49 5.9%
  • 51 - 60

    Votes: 25 3.0%
  • 61 - 70

    Votes: 22 2.6%
  • 71 - 80

    Votes: 17 2.0%
  • 81 - 90

    Votes: 7 0.8%
  • 91 - 100

    Votes: 9 1.1%
  • 100+

    Votes: 53 6.4%

Related Threads

Forum statistics

Threads
429,210
Messages
9,230,338
Members
193,757
Latest member
onsight
Top