We just received over 200 swatches of leather from Europe. A large assortment of colors (almost any color you can think of!) in various weights and finishes, including Italian calf. Perforated, waterproof, natural tanned, metallics, earth tones, pastels and more. Also crocodile, cayman and lizard prints. Remember, it is you that is designing your shoes. Combine traditional calf with croc accents. Want the front of the shoe one color and the quarters in another? Why not! Don’t worry, if you get too wild I will gently suggest a subtler combination. And these are just the colors—I will help you design the shoe or boot style that fits your lifestyle.
What can an orthopedic shoemaker do for you that exceeds the capabilities of most bespoke shoemakers? A couple of examples: A German orthopedic shoemaker and I visited a famous west end London bespoke shoemaker. The owner very graciously spent some time with us and we naturally talked about shoemaking techniques. We brought up some orthopedic topics. It quickly became clear that the gentleman had no idea what we were talking about. This establishment’s shoes and boots are exquisitely made, and they care a great deal about fit, individually making all of their clients’ lasts from scratch on site. So why would an orthopedic background be advantageous? In another case, a customer came to me for hiking boots. He wore a rigid brace on his collapsed ankle, called an Arizona AFO. He previously had custom boots made from casts by another bootmaker. The boots were beautifully made and fit around his brace perfectly. I started to cast his feet, and he asked “Don’t you want to cast around the brace like the other bootmaker?”. I replied, “No, with the boots I am making, you won’t need that brace.” I explained to him that the sole would be wider than what he had before, but that he would have a lighter boot, a better gait and be more comfortable. The new boots would provide the support of the brace without unnecessarily restricting ankle movement. All of which turned out to be true.
This is the difference that an orthopedic background can provide. If you have foot problems, a trained orthopedic bespoke bootmaker can provide a more ideal result. Contactme to make a no-cost evaluative appointment.
Most individual boot and shoemakers in Europe do not sew the uppers of their shoes of boots. (The uppers are the top part of the shoe/boot that encases the foot. This is the part that contains the “style” of the creation.) If the shoemaker doesn’t make the upper—who does? Well, after the shoemaker has made your lasts, the lasts are mailed to an upper maker. The upper maker is an artist and artisan who designs the pattern, cuts the leather and sews the leather together. What are the limits to the style? None! Of course, some upper makers specialize in one particular style, but most of them can make almost any style. The main difference between upper makers is that some specialize in custom orthopedic footwear, whereas other upper makers cater to the “bespoke” trade. Some do both. Also, there are regional and country styles. This is especially apparent with English and Hungarian upper makers.
There are numerous shoe and boot upper makers in Slovenia, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Croatia, etc. The possibilities are quite literally endless. We can schedule an initial appointment to evaluate your needs and discuss designs. There is no cost for an evaluation consultation.