Today’s post is brought to you by the fact that I got frustrated trying to find a misfiled bookmark in my sadly/hilariously ginormous collection, and said “screw this, it’s time for a cleanout.” In the process of which I rediscovered a whole bunch of cool shit. AND SO, let’s look at some shoooooooes!
Everyone is probably familiar with Shoes of Prey, right? The “mass-customization” schtick wherein you choose a basic style and then customize it with colors/fabrics/leathers, heel height, embellishments, and so forth? I actually own a pair from them, and they’re quite good and they weren’t bonkers expensive!
They’ve changed up their style offerings since I got mine, and have added quite a few new options that’re TRÉS appealing — I particularly dig these :
Anyway, SoP seem to’ve either overrun or just bought out a number of similar outfits, like Milk & Honey, but there’re a couple of other mass-customization sites still rolling, and also plenty of handmade / custom / semi-custom options … many of which are straight-up “oh whaaaaat.”
SHOE DESIGN STUDIO has a kinda odd user interface, which both looks rather dated and also is fussing at me to install the latest version of Flash (oh ffs), but their gallery does show some rather compelling examples :
JULIA BO on Etsy also offers a number of customizable styles, and holy bananas there’re some cuuuute ones. Prices range from about $95-$135, for everything from simple flats and oxfords to retro ankle boots and heels, and their range of materials is almost as extensive as Shoes of Prey’s!
TRUE GAULT has a different selling point (or gimmick, if you’re a pessimist) — they not only customize the style, but also the fit, via a phone app that claims to SCAN YOUR FEET for a perfect bespoke fit. Does it work? I don’t know! They start at $250 per pair and take about a month to build and ship, so I’m not gonna be racing to try this out. But if you’ve got hard-to-fit feet (and the budget for it), this might be a good/fun option?
CUSTOM MADE MARKETPLACE is a little different — they’re more a consortium/collective of independent designers/makers/cobblers from around the world. Many options are just semi-customized, some are made to order by your measurements and specs, and hoo there’s some fun stuff here, along with a whole lot of “wtf” bedazzled platform heels, yeesh.
DEBBIE LEATHER is here for you when you need some crazy-ass custom-made moccasins or knee-high beaded gladiator sandals. There’s some stuff that falls into the Highly Questionable / Cultural Appropriation category (vaguely-Native-American beads ‘n’ feathers on a bikini top and so forth), but I won’t lie : I want these boots.
MATTIMORE HARNESS also makes completely bespoke boots and shoes, meaning you can order literally any size, any width, any specs. Of course, styles are limited to the “Western-hemisphere historical” genre : 17th century, Victorian, Civil War, WWI-II, and so forth, with an emphasis on military boots. So obvs, I’ve had this site bookmarked basically FOREVER. The downsides are A) expensive at around $150 to $450 and B) since they’re totally bespoke and hand made, they can take about 12 weeks to construct. But I mean, if you want totally historically correct 19th century riding boots? BOOM.
MEDIEVAL COLLECTIBLES exists in case shit from the War of 1812 is way too modern for you (in appearance), but simultaneously not modern enough (in detailing and materials). You have to love a site with an entire category devoted to “Women’s Pirate Footwear,” even if said category is wildly historically inaccurate in the manner of “90s Madonna would wear those; an actual lady pirate would not.”
ARMSTREET exists in case you do actually want medieval shoes that’re in “pretty authentic” territory, both style- and construction-wise. The Viking Leather Boots are calling my name, but the Wedding Noble Shoes might be shouting them down.
If you’ve got a go-to site for custom/handmade/totally bizarre shoes, this is a great place to share it! <3