Bespoke shoes are shoes made to fit a customer's specific design choices. They are the opposite of an off-the-shelf shoe, with custom designs for everything from dress shoes to casual. Bespoke shoes, regardless of a particular shoe brand, speak well of a customer who has taken the time and made the effort to create a well-designed shoe to complement a well-thought out look. From boat shoes to oxford shoes, boots and slippers, you can discover endless options for a style guided by your preferences and budget. Bespoke shoes start to look good in providing individuality and style to your wardrobe.
Bespoke footwear gains wider appeal
Bespoke dress shoes have been in the market since the mid-1800s, giving them an almost two-hundred year presence in the high-end fashion world of tailored suits and other custom clothes.
However, bespoke shoes are no longer reserved for a small percentage of the population who follow high fashion and have exclusive access to top designers. Instead, bespoke has become a style choice fueled by more general marketing campaigns and branding concepts. Bespoke shoemakers still thrive on a concept that implies exclusivity and limited runs, but custom, bespoke shoes have become a type of shoe brand in and of themselves that is more widely available and accessible to many consumers. Michael Carl, a style writer for Vanity Fair, invites us to "start controlling what your footwear says about you." As bespoke shoes start to become a more interesting option for dress shoe and other shoe styles, you can tap into that control.
Do only George Cleverley, Paola Scafora, and Hiro Yanagimachi and a few others dominate the bespoke footwear world?
High-end designers like George Cleverley, Paolo Scafora, Hiro Yanagimachi, John Lobb, and Antonio Meccariello are well-known bespoke shoemakers who have been in the industry for centuries. Their bespoke shoes are the ultimate in highly customized, handmade shoes. However, the name-shoe brand alone does not need to dictate your choice of shoes. There are now many more options for bespoke shoes. Other shoe makers are using similar processes and construction in order to create a look that is custom and unique yet more affordable.
Bespoke footwear is about more than just the name
What often makes bespoke shoes and boots desirable is the shoe construction. For boots in particular, the use of the Goodyear Welt elevates your boots from disposable to heritage, making them a wise investment for the consumer as well as for the environment. Fast fashion is known to take a toll on workers and the environment, creating issues of poor labor conditions, pollution, and waste. If boots can be made to last, consumers can feel better about their purchases.
The Goodyear Welt and bespoke shoes
A "welt" is a piece of shoe that is stitched to the upper and the outsole, providing the option to remove a worn sole and replace it, eliminating the need to toss out a pair of shoes and replace with a new one. The welt construction offers protection from water, as well as longevity for the shoe or boot. The name "Goodyear Welt" gives credit to Charles Goodyear, who developed a machine in the 1860s to speed up production of shoes with this construction. Bespoke footwear benefits from both handmade and mechanized shoe construction, and the Goodyear Welt is something to look for when learning about the construction of custom shoes.
Considerations for bespoke shoes
Whether you want boat shoes or Oxford shoes, dress shoes or casual boots, designing bespoke, custom shoes includes various levels of custom shoe options. For example, consumer can choose options from toe shapes, heel heights, near-endless varieties in leathers and fabrics for the upper. As mentioned above, considering the Goodyear Welt construction and other structural components gives the consumer confidence that they are purchasing not only unique, stylish, custom shoes, but also shoes that are well-constructed and will not need to be tossed or replaced for years.
Companies offering bespoke shoes provide images and ideas that are helpful as a style guide. They also walk you through the process of designing and ordering and offer a range of options for bespoke shoes. Some bespoke shoes are fully custom while others offer some standard styles with customizable elements.
Consider an investment in bespoke footwear. You can express individuality, heighten your fashion, and enjoy comfortable footwear that matches your unique style and needs.
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