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Texasmade

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Those are better but wouldn't look great in green suede gatorskin.
 

Jona

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Here’s Dominic’s Instagram.


I think he’s booked up a trip this coming September in the hope that restrictions will ease up by then
Postponed sine die
 

UrbanComposition

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A few weeks ago I started a remote fitting with T Shirakashi Bootmaker from Japan. Been watching him on IG for years. One guy, one pair of shoes at a time.

From what I understand he normally does a fitting sample that I ship back, but he decided to just make sample shoes based on my last without the heel and sole, and using cork. Similar, but different.

I decided on snuff suede split toe bluchers since my overall aesthetic leans casual and compared to oxfords it’s less necessary to get a perfect fit.

He has templates where self measurements are taken and the customer draws an outline of his foot. I took a photo of each one to ensure I was doing everything correctly (should the line reflect the top of the tape, or bottom? Should I hold the pencil straight up? Should I bend it at the arch? & etc).

Sample shoes should be done in 1-2 months & will update. Here’s a pick of the Stead suede and one of the templates:

5A373741-B82D-468F-BFF5-95937B9426B9.jpeg
B9D0293C-C63D-487A-8923-44256BBAF8A9.jpeg
 

Psyko

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So the new Permanent Style article on bespoke shoes warns against expecting a perfect fit from your first pair. What are your experiences on this point?

 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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So the new Permanent Style article on bespoke shoes warns against expecting a perfect fit from your first pair. What are your experiences on this point?

I've heard that a lot from friends. I don't really get it. My first pair from Nicholas was great, although they needed a small adjustment after about a month of wearing. My first pair from Clev was terrible, as discussed here before.

I personally wouldn't buy bespoke shoes if I thought the first pair wasn't going to be great.

Have heard the same about bespoke clothes, and also don't get it. My first suits from Steed, Solito, and I Sarti are great. I don't know how many jackets I have now from Steed, but it's around the magical 11 number. My 11th jacket isn't any better than my 1st. I've made small stylistic changes over time, but it's like chasing a dragon -- you always make some small stylistic change.

Conversely, my first jacket from NSM wasn't great and the experience didn't get much better from there. From that, I learned that you shouldn't go back if the first commission doesn't turn out really good.

I fit fine into RTW, so the idea of buying bespoke shoes seems really indulgent. If the first pair wasn't really amazing, I don't think I would do it.
 

Texasmade

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So the new Permanent Style article on bespoke shoes warns against expecting a perfect fit from your first pair. What are your experiences on this point?

If I don’t get a great (not sure about perfect) fit, I’m sending them back to be remade. I’ve only used JLP and my first pair the fit was off. They took them back and remade the shoes.
 

Jmr928

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So the new Permanent Style article on bespoke shoes warns against expecting a perfect fit from your first pair. What are your experiences on this point?

It’s an interesting take - Having just gone through the process of getting my first pair and not knowing what a second pair entails and if it’s better I think a couple things from the article jumped out.

1) there seems to be a trend toward what I’ll call “instagramable shoes” or the things that get likes when they get shared on Facebook and forums. The louder the shoe, the brighter the patina, the more unique color the more likes it gets.

Simon calls this “the aesthetics most people focus on.” Obviously the looks are important, you have to like how they look or you won’t wear them but sometimes the boundaries get pushed so far as soon as someone can order anything they want that I wonder how they’d be worn or paired whether it’s MTO, MTM or bespoke. A lot of RTW has to appeal to more people and some of the more eccentric things are limited to appeal to a wider audience. I’ve got a hunch this phenomena isn’t limited to shoes and I’ve seen plenty of guys start MTM or bespoke tailoring also often go crazy on their first order with a checklist of what they can do.

He mentions “There is no other area of menswear where some people actually buy the shoes to look at them more than wear them.” - If this is someone’s hobby or art collection I don’t begrudge them. They are beautiful works of art and if someone can afford it and wants to go about it that way I’ll enjoy the pictures they share but that’s probably not where I’d imagine most people are.

2) This bit I think jumps out as well: “the fit has nearly always been better on the first pair than most ready-made shoes. So it's still a good fit. It's just not perfect.” He also talks about we all have different opinions of what “perfect” means. It reminded me of @ntempleman podcast with @j ingevaldsson talking about fitting and figuring out what the client thinks a good fit is vs what is technically correct. It makes “perfect” hard to achieve on the first fit since we often aren’t using the same terms to describe the same things.

I think this is where my first pair ended up. It’s a much better fit than RTW. For my first pair I’d say we got the fit excellent but I’ll know more after more wears - I think I’d like to get 10 wears or so on them before I make a final judgement.

There are a couple small things aesthetically I’d change but we got the fit really close. It’s also why we opted for the pair I did for my first pair - So we could really get a good idea of the last and all the details on a very simple pattern.

That said I’m fortunate enough to be able to be able to be planning my next commission already with the same maker who I have easy access to and who a majority of their work is done for people who have major foot issues so fit is the makers real focus and it seems like we got that really right.

That being said, I have no doubt that the subsequent pairs will continue to get better because we’ll have more data points but importantly the first pair is a good fit, definitely better than RTW, is special to me and is something I enjoy having on my foot. I wouldn’t be disappointed if the journey ended here with one pair but I’m also excited to see what we come up with in the future.
 

BColl_Has_Too_Many_Shoes

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It’s an interesting take - Having just gone through the process of getting my first pair and not knowing what a second pair entails and if it’s better I think a couple things from the article jumped out.

1) there seems to be a trend toward what I’ll call “instagramable shoes” or the things that get likes when they get shared on Facebook and forums. The louder the shoe, the brighter the patina, the more unique color the more likes it gets.

Simon calls this “the aesthetics most people focus on.” Obviously the looks are important, you have to like how they look or you won’t wear them but sometimes the boundaries get pushed so far as soon as someone can order anything they want that I wonder how they’d be worn or paired whether it’s MTO, MTM or bespoke. A lot of RTW has to appeal to more people and some of the more eccentric things are limited to appeal to a wider audience. I’ve got a hunch this phenomena isn’t limited to shoes and I’ve seen plenty of guys start MTM or bespoke tailoring also often go crazy on their first order with a checklist of what they can do.

He mentions “There is no other area of menswear where some people actually buy the shoes to look at them more than wear them.” - If this is someone’s hobby or art collection I don’t begrudge them. They are beautiful works of art and if someone can afford it and wants to go about it that way I’ll enjoy the pictures they share but that’s probably not where I’d imagine most people are.

2) This bit I think jumps out as well: “the fit has nearly always been better on the first pair than most ready-made shoes. So it's still a good fit. It's just not perfect.” He also talks about we all have different opinions of what “perfect” means. It reminded me of @ntempleman podcast with @j ingevaldsson talking about fitting and figuring out what the client thinks a good fit is vs what is technically correct. It makes “perfect” hard to achieve on the first fit since we often aren’t using the same terms to describe the same things.

I think this is where my first pair ended up. It’s a much better fit than RTW. For my first pair I’d say we got the fit excellent but I’ll know more after more wears - I think I’d like to get 10 wears or so on them before I make a final judgement.

There are a couple small things aesthetically I’d change but we got the fit really close. It’s also why we opted for the pair I did for my first pair - So we could really get a good idea of the last and all the details on a very simple pattern.

That said I’m fortunate enough to be able to be able to be planning my next commission already with the same maker who I have easy access to and who a majority of their work is done for people who have major foot issues so fit is the makers real focus and it seems like we got that really right.

That being said, I have no doubt that the subsequent pairs will continue to get better because we’ll have more data points but importantly the first pair is a good fit, definitely better than RTW, is special to me and is something I enjoy having on my foot. I wouldn’t be disappointed if the journey ended here with one pair but I’m also excited to see what we come up with in the future.
The often underappreciated aspect of commissioning local (or within the same country) is language.

Simon mentioned a desire of many to commission from a Japanese maker. You just mentioned "we often aren’t using the same terms to describe the same things."

Speaking the same language or being proficient in a given language makes a substantial difference here. When nuance cannot be described or visually conveyed those often missed words (not always easily translatable) could mean the difference between an exceptional or substandard fit.
 

Jmr928

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The often underappreciated aspect of commissioning local (or within the same country) is language.

Simon mentioned a desire of many to commission from a Japanese maker. You just mentioned "we often aren’t using the same terms to describe the same things."

Speaking the same language or being proficient in a given language makes a substantial difference here. When nuance cannot be described or visually conveyed those often missed words (not always easily translatable) could mean the difference between an exceptional or substandard fit.
This makes sense - Even speaking the same language and being able to meet in person we’d often go back and forth and revert to photographs or a physical example of a shoe in the room to make sure that we were on the same page and using the same descriptions for things. Being remote, doing remote bespoke or speaking a different language would absolutely present hardships - Although I’ve gotten pretty good at using the pen on my iPad to circle things and draw and say I don’t know what you call this but I like this.
 

Jmr928

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With the talk of bespoke it seemed like a good day to give these another wear since I’m only out for a few hours of meetings. chocolate vocalou single stitched balmorals by Amara Hark-Weber
4A3EE125-7A8B-428B-A597-D672C894FFDC.jpeg
 

BColl_Has_Too_Many_Shoes

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This makes sense - Even speaking the same language and being able to meet in person we’d often go back and forth and revert to photographs or a physical example of a shoe in the room to make sure that we were on the same page and using the same descriptions for things. Being remote, doing remote bespoke or speaking a different language would absolutely present hardships - Although I’ve gotten pretty good at using the pen on my iPad to circle things and draw and say I don’t know what you call this but I like this.
Right! The language component of an order is often minimized or not considered. Communication is so critical to a successful commission.

Like the Crompton article mentioned, the maker can't see through the shoe to determine issues. If the buyer can't properly verbalize what requires improvement or causes discomfort, percentages are high that there will be challenges with the order.
 

dieworkwear

Mahatma Jawndi
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I struggle with these types of "is it worth it" calculations because it seems so personal and emotional to me. Setting aside that people have different budgets, so much of what I get out of any piece of clothing is tied to my very subjective resonance with some object. These sorts of cold calculations about fit and longevity only go so far. I fit fine into RTW and haven't resoled any of my shoes in more than ten years (I simply own too many). But I buy and wear certain things because it's fun.

If you could press a button on Amazon and get a perfect shoe delivered the next day, I don't think I would care. I imagine what I get out of my bespoke shoes isn't that different from what someone gets out of a hyped sneaker, or what a kid feels putting on cool clothes. I think to figure out whether bespoke is "worth it," you just have to try it and see if you enjoy it.
 

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