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    Handmade shoes

    Style — 9 October 2013

    Fit for Purpose:
    Bespoke Shoes

    Shoes handmade to your personal requirements are a true expression of luxury – and your feet will thank you

    By Charlie Teasdale

    Elsewhere in this issue, Clive Darby, the owner  of Rake Menswear, claims that for something to  be luxurious it ‘must have a narrative, a soul and a unique rarity’. A pair of shoes for example, could be cast from the finest, most covetable leather, but if the same model is worn the world over by whole leagues of professional footballers, then where’s the luxury?

    Perhaps the best method of acquiring a pair of truly exceptional shoes is to design them yourself. Bally, the Swiss leather-goods house, now offers a digital service that allows the customer to create his own pair of classic Scribes, either online or via a dedicated app. The step-by-step process includes the choice of style, material, colour, sole and fit variation – there’s even the option to share your creation on various social networks. Once the design is finalised, your shoes will be handmade by the craftsmen at the Bally Swiss Centre of Excellence and finished off with that inimitable metal crest in the centre of the sole.

    If you don’t trust yourself to design your own, then opt for something a little more classic and invest in a pair of JM Weston shoes. Enquire about the ‘Special Orders’ service, available in its Jermyn Street store, and you will be guided through style, colour and material options by the manager.

    ‘Perhaps the best method of acquiring a pair of truly exceptional shoes is to design them yourself’

    Maintenance of a beautiful pair of brogues is just as important and, thankfully, the chaps at JM Weston are there for you in an aftercare capacity.  A professional polishing service is offered at any store; soles can be replaced with the minimum of fuss, thanks to the composition of its shoes; and you can even send them back for a restorative pampering session, in which they’ll be disassembled, rejuvenated and expertly put back together.  Fans of Berluti’s elegantly elongated shoes will be pleased to hear that the brand has just opened its first ‘Maison’ in London. Located in a three-storey Victorian townhouse on Conduit Street, it has a dedicated bespoke department to which clients can bring their shoes for repair or at which they can commission a brand-new creation. Aside from the choice of four construction methods – Goodyear, Blake, Norwegian and non-welted – customers  will have access to the house’s famous range of patinas, such as ‘Tobacco Brown’ or ‘Saint-Emilion Red’, which are hand-finished onto the Venezia leather by Berluti’s expert colourists.

    So there you have it. Three solid opportunities to personally create a pair of shoes that not only look amazing and fit like a sock, but permit you to crow gleefully about their very conception. And they would certainly pass Mr Darby’s rigorous standards for luxury status. l

    Bally, 116 New Bond St, W1S 1EN; bally.com
    Berluti, 43 Conduit St, W1S 2YJ; berluti.com
    JM Weston, 60 Jermyn St, SW1Y 6LX, jmweston.com

    Illustration: Isaac Bonan