I design and make all of my shoes and boots in Holyoke, western Massachusetts, the (Happy) Pioneer Valley, USA. Holyoke is about two hours’ drive from both Boston and New York.
What are bespoke shoes?
Bespoke shoes are made for an individual person. This includes both specificity of design and measurement. I make bespoke shoes and boots, tailoring each pair of shoes to the individual who orders them — your shoes are made to your specifications.
What measurements are required?
I use tracings and measurements of your feet to achieve an accurate fit. Details of this process are on my blog. You need to have someone help you with the measuring and tracing process if you are not local and able to visit my studio. Taking measurements on yourself will yield inaccurate information, which affects the fit of the shoes, which leads to more than one fit model, inevitably adding to the cost of the shoes.
How long does it take to have shoes made?
One pair of shoes takes roughly a condensed week to make (longer for welted construction), but this time is stretched over a series of weeks to allow the leather to dry and mold. Please allow several months’ time for custom orders. I currently have a wait list of six months. Securing a spot on the wait list requires sending a 50% deposit. Contact me for additional information.
How much do these shoes cost?
I offer several different kinds of handmade shoes. Cement construction (see definition below) is a quicker method and my shoes that are cement constructed start at $700. Hand-welted shoes start at $1100. Any shoe or boot can be made by either method, and the look and feel of the footwear will differ. Custom orthopedic shoes start at $850.
Are handmade shoes affordable?
This isn’t really a FAQ, but I do often receive emails complimenting my work and at the same time stating the sender of the email could afford my shoes after winning the lottery. While I understand that people live within financial constraints, I think this article is interesting since the author asks the million-dollar question: How many pairs of shoes do you currently own that you do not wear, and what is the total cost of those shoes that sit at the back of the closet?
How do I know the shoes will fit?
All of my custom shoes include an initial leather fit model for you to try on, to determine fit and design details. If a second fit model is required because of inaccurate measurements or advanced design alterations, I will add an appropriate amount to the final cost of the shoes to compensate for additional time and materials. If your shoes are orthopedic, additional fitting may be required — small adjustments are made at no extra charge.
Are there custom options?
My shoes and boots are bespoke in every sense of the word. Overall design, toe shape, heel shape, colors, thread choice: almost anything is possible. Pumps can be made with front platforms to give the height of a higher heel without the pain of increased heel incline. Extra depth for orthotic inserts can be incorporated into the shoes. I have built shoes around AFOs (ankle foot orthoses). Exotic leathers can be part of the overall design.
Construction methods: cement and handsewn/welted:
Cement construction is a method of making lasted shoes. This is fairly common in both womens and mens shoes, and it simply means the method of attaching the sole to the shoe is via a commercial contact cement. Cement construction shoes are fully repairable, and are generally more flexible. They do not last as long as welted construction.
Shoes that are traditionally hand-welted are incredibly strong and long-lasting. A strip of leather (the welt) is sewn to the uppers and insole, and then this welt is sewn to the sole. This process is entirely done by hand, and is commonly seen on mens bespoke shoes, although there is also a tradition of welting womens shoes. I use synthetic thread when I hand-stitch shoes, rather than the more traditional waxed linen thread. I have found that linen thread can rot when it is not properly taken care of, while the synthetic thread is easier to maintain.
What are custom molded shoes?
Custom molded shoes are required for people who have advanced foot deformities. A mold is taken of the client’s feet, and adapted to become a shoe last. Please inquire if you are interested in this service.
What is a BOC certified pedorthist?
From the BOC International website: “BOC Pedorthists (BOCPD) are qualified to provide and/or supervise the assessment, treatment plan development and implementation, follow-up and practice management of people using prescribed pedorthic devices and therapeutic footwear.”