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The Bespoke Shoes Thread

skeen7908

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This is going to sound crazy, but ...

I talked to Phillip once at a trunk show about his company versus true bespoke firms. He made an interesting point about StC's cut and price. StCs, as you've already experienced, are cut very close to the foot, so they can sometimes be hard to size. On the upside, you can get a silhouette that's not easy to achieve (or even available?) in other RTW lines. On the downside, since they're cut so close to the foot, they can be hard to size. There's little room for error.

Phillip noted that sometimes customers have to eat the cost of the first pair of shoes. Which I realize sounds crazy cause they run $1.5k per pair but West End bespoke generally stars somewhere around $4k or $5k. If you order more than one pair, and like their lasts, you may come out ahead, financially.

My first pair of StCs didn't fit very well. They weren't comfortable even after a couple of dozen wearings so I sold them. The second pair was better, which was made with a personalized last, but still cut into the top of my foot. The third pair was much better because I had more adjustments made and asked for a trail shoe (really recommend those).

I was first fitted at a trunk show. That said, the process was little more than me trying on different sizes, Phillip feeling the outside of the shoes, and me giving him feedback. I think doing this in person is very useful, but there's also an inherent trial-and-error process if you're not a standard fit. It's sort of like MTM shirts, where you kind of go back and forth until you're comfortable.

Again, realize that sounds ridiculous with $1.5k shoes, but I think their offerings are really nice once you nail down on your size/ last.

So youre saying you need to have at least 3 commissions from the same shoemaker before you can assess their work
 

mammothnguyen

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This is going to sound crazy, but ...

I talked to Phillip once at a trunk show about his company versus true bespoke firms. He made an interesting point about StC's cut and price. StCs, as you've already experienced, are cut very close to the foot, so they can sometimes be hard to size. On the upside, you can get a silhouette that's not easy to achieve (or even available?) in other RTW lines. On the downside, since they're cut so close to the foot, they can be hard to size. There's little room for error.

Phillip noted that sometimes customers have to eat the cost of the first pair of shoes. Which I realize sounds crazy cause they run $1.5k per pair but West End bespoke generally stars somewhere around $4k or $5k. If you order more than one pair, and like their lasts, you may come out ahead, financially.

My first pair of StCs didn't fit very well. They weren't comfortable even after a couple of dozen wearings so I sold them. The second pair was better, which was made with a personalized last, but still cut into the top of my foot. The third pair was much better because I had more adjustments made and asked for a trail shoe (really recommend those).

I was first fitted at a trunk show. That said, the process was little more than me trying on different sizes, Phillip feeling the outside of the shoes, and me giving him feedback. I think doing this in person is very useful, but there's also an inherent trial-and-error process if you're not a standard fit. It's sort of like MTM shirts, where you kind of go back and forth until you're comfortable.

Again, realize that sounds ridiculous with $1.5k shoes, but I think their offerings are really nice once you nail down on your size/ last.
So in my case, it's a matter of eating the cost of the first pair (went against Philip's advice of getting a personal last from the get go, which is a mea culpa), getting a personal last and trial shoes with help through my vendor in Australia, having that error in the trial shoes seen (although attributed to a lack of space), getting the second pair (so tight that it numbs the inner ball sometimes), and the third pair improved on (still having the same problem to a lesser degree, however). At least it seems to be the only significant bit of fitting issue to fix.

It's a shame that Philip won't be coming to Australia in the near future (the last trunk show was in 2016), since it will be good to get him to look into it. The course of action after discussing these issues with my vendor is possibly to have a proper investigation of the area and get a second pair of trial shoes, which hopefully will get that fitting issue sorted out properly.
 

dieworkwear

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So in my case, it's a matter of eating the cost of the first pair (went against Philip's advice of getting a personal last from the get go, which is a mea culpa), getting a personal last and trial shoes with help through my vendor in Australia, having that error in the trial shoes seen (although attributed to a lack of space), getting the second pair (so tight that it numbs the inner ball sometimes), and the third pair improved on (still having the same problem to a lesser degree, however). At least it seems to be the only significant bit of fitting issue to fix.

It's a shame that Philip won't be coming to Australia in the near future (the last trunk show was in 2016), since it will be good to get him to look into it. The course of action after discussing these issues with my vendor is possibly to have a proper investigation of the area and get a second pair of trial shoes, which hopefully will get that fitting issue sorted out properly.
You mean your current pair now is your third?

It's a tricky thing cause I usually think that, if a maker can't get the commission right on the first pair -- or at least get reasonably close -- you shouldn't move forward with another purchase. Although most of that is through bespoke and StC, in some ways, feels closer to MtM. Still, the internet is full of horror stories of guys commissioning order after order with a MtM firm and then they're like a hundred orders deep in a hole and the stuff doesn't come out right.

If you have a local store that can assess this for you, it seems like they should be able to advise on fit and take some responsibility (although, within reason). I don't know if anyone can give you reliable advise online.

I find I can usually get my right size online by knowing my Brannock size and seeing what are other customers' experiences. Obviously always better to try sizes out in person, but barring that, guessing from Brannock and others' recommendations is usually pretty good. For StC, I just sort of felt my way through the process, slowly adding things to my personalized last where I felt I needed more room. But I have no idea what are the issues with your current size.
 

mammothnguyen

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You mean your current pair now is your third?

It's a tricky thing cause I usually think that, if a maker can't get the commission right on the first pair -- or at least get reasonably close -- you shouldn't move forward with another purchase. Although most of that is through bespoke and StC, in some ways, feels closer to MtM. Still, the internet is full of horror stories of guys commissioning order after order with a MtM firm and then they're like a hundred orders deep in a hole and the stuff doesn't come out right.

If you have a local store that can assess this for you, it seems like they should be able to advise on fit and take some responsibility (although, within reason). I don't know if anyone can give you reliable advise online.

I find I can usually get my right size online by knowing my Brannock size and seeing what are other customers' experiences. Obviously always better to try sizes out in person, but barring that, guessing from Brannock and others' recommendations is usually pretty good. For StC, I just sort of felt my way through the process, slowly adding things to my personalized last where I felt I needed more room. But I have no idea what are the issues with your current size.
Yup, the current pair is now my third (second on the personal last). At least the advice that DW gave was informative and at least give me an idea of the possible causes of the issue, which I have discussed with my vendor. I and the vendor will have a proper discussion some time in the new year (fingers crossed they will get it right this time).
 

jerrybrowne

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So youre saying you need to have at least 3 commissions from the same shoemaker before you can assess their
You mean your current pair now is your third?

It's a tricky thing cause I usually think that, if a maker can't get the commission right on the first pair -- or at least get reasonably close -- you shouldn't move forward with another purchase. Although most of that is through bespoke and StC, in some ways, feels closer to MtM. Still, the internet is full of horror stories of guys commissioning order after order with a MtM firm and then they're like a hundred orders deep in a hole and the stuff doesn't come out right.

If you have a local store that can assess this for you, it seems like they should be able to advise on fit and take some responsibility (although, within reason). I don't know if anyone can give you reliable advise online.

I find I can usually get my right size online by knowing my Brannock size and seeing what are other customers' experiences. Obviously always better to try sizes out in person, but barring that, guessing from Brannock and others' recommendations is usually pretty good. For StC, I just sort of felt my way through the process, slowly adding things to my personalized last where I felt I needed more room. But I have no idea what are the issues with your current size.
I got my best fit with StC after doing a personalized last and the fitting shoes. Fitters are well worth the extra price. Not sure if they still do those......
 

Coldfire3k3

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I'm curious to know SF member's view on the importance of trial shoes in the bespoke process.

There seem to be 3 different approaches that are commonly taken:

1) I believe certain shoemakers like Cleverley and Foster & Sons do not make trial shoes but do fittings on the final shoes without the outsole attached.

2) Some shoesmakers such as John Lobb Paris, Berluti and G&G produce trial shoes which are sometimes cut open so that the exact fit at key areas such as at the heel can be seen. Based on this a final pair is created (or sometimes followed by intermediate wearable trial shoes).

3) John Lobb St James I believe don't have any intermediate fitting stages / trial shoes and go straight to finish.

Among the above approaches, I'm curious to learn which method has yielded the best results (in terms of fit) for SF members? Clearly no. 3 seems to be the riskiest approach, however between no. 1 and 2 it's not clear to me which is superior.
 

Stefan88

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I'm curious to know SF member's view on the importance of trial shoes in the bespoke process.
Only used Marquess for bespoke, and always had trial shoes made.
I personally feel it's an assurance that the fit and style will come out according to expect some. Shoji seems to value the information he gets out of it too. If he tried the shoes without the sole attached, I don't think I'd mind that either though.

He keeps taking my measurements every time we meet. Believe he's keeping track on my weight :violin:

Actually had 1) by Bonafe, but didn't work out that great.
 

dieworkwear

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I'm curious to know SF member's view on the importance of trial shoes in the bespoke process.

There seem to be 3 different approaches that are commonly taken:

1) I believe certain shoemakers like Cleverley and Foster & Sons do not make trial shoes but do fittings on the final shoes without the outsole attached.

2) Some shoesmakers such as John Lobb Paris, Berluti and G&G produce trial shoes which are sometimes cut open so that the exact fit at key areas such as at the heel can be seen. Based on this a final pair is created (or sometimes followed by intermediate wearable trial shoes).

3) John Lobb St James I believe don't have any intermediate fitting stages / trial shoes and go straight to finish.

Among the above approaches, I'm curious to learn which method has yielded the best results (in terms of fit) for SF members? Clearly no. 3 seems to be the riskiest approach, however between no. 1 and 2 it's not clear to me which is superior.
I only have bespoke shoes from Nicholas Templeman and Cleverley. Unless you count Saint Crispin's, which is kind of custom in terms of fit (I have a personalized last from them). But for true bespoke, I've only tried two makers so far, so my experience is kind of limited

My experience thus far is sort of similar to my experience with other bespoke clothes. I think more important than the exact details of the process is the maker himself or herself. There are many ways to skin a cat, but I think the outcome is more dependent on the maker than how he or she decides to go about the process. I use Steed for suits and sport coats, for example, and they skip the basted fitting and go straight to the forward. I've gotten better results from that than makers who do the traditional three fittings. Although, A&S does the same and I got worse results than Steed.

I asked Nicholas once about how he feels about makers who do a trial shoe and cut it up. He said something about how he doesn't see the point of it -- it would like cutting up a suit to see how the garment fits relative to the body -- but maybe those makers do it like that because of how they were trained.

IME, the most important part of getting the fit right is whether the maker is willing to take things back for adjustments even after final delivery. And if they're honest enough to catch things even when it'll cost them more money to remake/ fix the issue. I find some makers are perfectly happy to deliver a substandard product because they have to keep orders moving and/ or keep margins up. Not all makers are going to be honest about how they can improve something (notably, one Templeman customer I know said Nick took back a pair of shoes without him saying anything because he saw something he could improve).

Otherwise, I'm also thankful when a maker is willing to take something back months, maybe even a year, after final delivery, once you find something wrong with the product. IME, none of these fittings -- shoes, jackets, pants, etc -- give you a true representation of how the item will look and feel in its final form. They can approximate it, but they're not exact. With shoes, if the sole isn't on, they feel kind of weird. Or if they're made from scrap leather, they also don't feel totally right. Once you put the stiffeners and sole on, suddenly things change. Or when you're actually walking around all day in them, rather than just standing still in a hotel room, you notice a spot is a little tight.

It's nice to be able to work with a maker who will take things back for adjustments this way, but not all do and those who do sometimes charge a lot of money. IMO, getting the right fit is more about the integrity of the maker during the making process, and whether they're willing to provide long term service even after final delivery, rather than the nuances such as the number of fittings or kind of fittings.

FWIW, both Templeman and Cleverley use the same process (the fitting shoe is your actual shoe, but without the sole attached). I've gotten wildly different results from them. So while I don't have experience with scrap-leather trial shoes (except for StC), I think there may be a lot of variability even within each category.
 
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ThinkDerm

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Only used Marquess for bespoke, and always had trial shoes made.
I personally feel it's an assurance that the fit and style will come out according to expect some. Shoji seems to value the information he gets out of it too. If he tried the shoes without the sole attached, I don't think I'd mind that either though.

He keeps taking my measurements every time we meet. Believe he's keeping track on my weight :violin:

Actually had 1) by Bonafe, but didn't work out that great.
Marquess makes amazing shoes.
 

Stefan88

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IME, the most important part of getting the fit right is whether the maker is willing to take things back for adjustments even after final delivery. And if they're honest enough to catch things even when it'll cost them more money to remake/ fix the issue. I find some makers are perfectly happy to deliver a substandard product because they have to keep orders moving and/ or keep margins up.
...
IME, none of these fittings -- shoes, jackets, pants, etc -- give you a true representation of how the item will look and feel in its final form. They can approximate it, but they're not exact. With shoes, if the sole isn't on, they feel kind of weird. Or if they're made from scrap leather, they also don't feel totally right. Once you put the stiffeners and sole on, suddenly things change. Or when you're actually walking around all day in them, rather than just standing still in a hotel room, you notice a spot is a little tight.

It's nice to be able to work with a maker who will take things back for adjustments this way, but not all do and those who do sometimes charge a lot of money. IMO, getting the right fit is more about the integrity of the maker during the making process, and whether they're willing to provide long term service even after final delivery, rather than the nuances such as the number of fittings or kind of fittings.
I can agree with this. As long as the maker is willing to do substantial changes (when necessary), I think option 1) would be good. The trial shoes works as an assurance for both parts.

As for the fitting shoes, the ones I've received has stiffeners and often leather from the same hide being used in the final shoes. Could easily be worn for a couple of weeks. Probably varies.
 

j ingevaldsson

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^^^ Agree with a lot of things said above. I've had bespoke from Gaziano & Girling, Yohei Fukuda, Main d'Or, Maftei, Jan Kielman and Melker Shoes, where the first four use fitting shoes, the last two make the final shoes straight away. I've also had semi bespoke/MTM by Hiro Yanagimachi, Antonio Meccariello and Riccardo Bestetti (sometimes ordered with my own measurements which of course is not ideal, sometimes with fitting shoes).

Worth noting is that I have complicated feet. But for me, when not using a fitting shoe the first pair have never came out especially good. With some first fitting shoes, I've been surprised how way off they have been, so if that would have been made to the welt stage with a final pair they would have been needed to be re-made anyway.

However, all makers I've used and asked for adjustments (or if they've seen the need for it themselves) have always brought them back and done their best to solve them. But in general I've always needed to go to at least the second pair to achieve a really good fit, all my first pairs have some issues that are a bit bigger (except the ones from Main d'Or, which have only very small problems, but worth noting there is that he makes at least two pairs of fitting shoes and last pair is hand welted with exact make-up with stiffeners, leather and pattern as final pair, just with cemented sole, and these are used for at least a month).
 

Padorkous

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^^^ Agree with a lot of things said above. I've had bespoke from Gaziano & Girling, Yohei Fukuda, Main d'Or, Maftei, Jan Kielman and Melker Shoes, where the first four use fitting shoes, the last two make the final shoes straight away. I've also had semi bespoke/MTM by Hiro Yanagimachi, Antonio Meccariello and Riccardo Bestetti (sometimes ordered with my own measurements which of course is not ideal, sometimes with fitting shoes).

Worth noting is that I have complicated feet. But for me, when not using a fitting shoe the first pair have never came out especially good. With some first fitting shoes, I've been surprised how way off they have been, so if that would have been made to the welt stage with a final pair they would have been needed to be re-made anyway.

However, all makers I've used and asked for adjustments (or if they've seen the need for it themselves) have always brought them back and done their best to solve them. But in general I've always needed to go to at least the second pair to achieve a really good fit, all my first pairs have some issues that are a bit bigger (except the ones from Main d'Or, which have only very small problems, but worth noting there is that he makes at least two pairs of fitting shoes and last pair is hand welted with exact make-up with stiffeners, leather and pattern as final pair, just with cemented sole, and these are used for at least a month).
Could you please describe in as much detail as possible (since i am a new member and ive been following these two for a while but havent picked up a pair yet) your experience with Riccardo Bestetti and Antonio Meccariello.
Thanks in advance!
 

j ingevaldsson

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Could you please describe in as much detail as possible (since i am a new member and ive been following these two for a while but havent picked up a pair yet) your experience with Riccardo Bestetti and Antonio Meccariello.
Thanks in advance!
I've written two buying guides to both, only available in Swedish though, but you can use the translation tool found to the right. Here's the guide to Bestetti, here's the one to Meccariello (do note that both are old, Bestetti one was when he was still alive and run the company himself, Meccariello one was done before he revamped his offer with Aurum and Argentum ranges etc). For more updated views I would visit the threads for each brand here on SF, where you can find lots of info.
 

DWFII

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