Sole Creators: The shoe fits perfectly when it’s painstakingly custom-made by dedicated artisans
Owning a pair of bespoke shoes can be a transformative experience. They are markers of superior craftsmanship, unmatched comfort and individual style. Unlike mass-produced shoes, bespoke footwear is crafted to your precise measurements, ensuring an impeccable fit that enhances your posture and provides unparalleled comfort. To add to this feeling of pleasure, greater artistry and attention to detail go into making bespoke shoes, resulting in a product that stands out from the crowd while also reflecting your unique personality and taste.
With their exceptional quality and durability, bespoke shoes also offer an investment that will last for years to come. For those who want to put their best foot forward in the future, there are shoemakers in Hong Kong who will meticulously craft a pair to your exact specifications.
Backed by science and elevated by style, Shoe Artistry’s mission is to make personalised shoes that perfectly fit your feet. For this, it takes multiple measurements of both feet to ensure that even microscopic differences between the left and the right are not overlooked. To further increase the accuracy, the shoemakers employ a special foot-scanning technology called Phits which uses sensors to determine your gait pattern, thus collecting an analysis of the different pressure points formed while you walk. This is then 3D printed into insoles that are unique to your feet. Such avant-garde techniques and painstaking precision to detail not only ensure the finest fit for your bespoke beauties, they also eliminate any orthopaedic pain, regardless of how long you walk.
After determining all the necessary measurements, the shoemaker assists you in finding the right material. Options are presented within two classifications – either vegetable-tanned leather, which is made by processing animal hide with plant proteins, or vegan leather, which uses plant-based or synthetic materials instead of animal skin.
Next comes deciding between a Goodyear welt or Blake stitch, the two techniques used to connect the upper leather to the outsoles. In the Goodyear construction, a welt is sewn onto the edges of the upper leather under which the outsole is added, thus allowing for the outsole to be replaced without deconstructing the entire shoe. Inversely, Blake stitching is when the outsole is stitched directly to the midsole. Since the latter option does not have a welt, Blake-stitched shoes are more flexible and have a sleek appearance.
Once the material and construction of the shoe have been established, the artisan focuses on design choices, funnelling down the preferred colour, texture and other details. Once all the specifications are set, shoes will be made in six to eight weeks. Men’s shoes are priced upwards of HK$11,300, while women’s start at HK$5,300.
To order, call +852 2796 6018, WhatsApp +852 6159 4670 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kow Hoo Shoe Company
A pioneer in local shoemaking, Kow Hoo Shoe Company has its origins in 1920s Shanghai and moved to Hong Kong in 1946, so it might be your first resort for a custom-made pair if you are inclined to support local craftsmen. It is also where famous names like architect I.M. Pei and business magnate Li Ka-shing go for their bespoke shoes.
Owning your very first pair begins with a meeting at their shop in Prince’s Building where the in-house shoemaker gains a better understanding of your foot morphology through fastidious measurements and noting your preferences for design, colour, texture and construction. Once all the required information is gathered, crafting begins at their Quarry Bay workshop where your ideas will come into form.
Devoted to producing shoes that fit your feet like a glove, the shoemakers will first make a trial pair using wooden lasts they have carved from your measurements – Kow Hoo claims to be the only shop in Hong Kong still making wooden lasts for each individual customer. Only after you are 100 per cent satisfied with the trial pair will they start making the actual pair that will become yours. Until then, as many adjustments as you want in terms of fitting and design will be accommodated. Expert cobblers then hand-sew each pair with immense dedication.
As a result of their priority in producing shoes that are exemplary and cherished, the entire process can take up to six months. Pricing starts at HK$18,000, but it is certainly worth the wait and cost. Moreover, after you buy your first pair, your lasts will be stored for at least seven years, thus significantly reducing the length of craftsmanship for subsequent pairs.
To order, visit Kow Hoo Shoe Company, Shop 341, 3/F, Prince’s Building, 10 Chater Road, Central, Hong Kong. Call ahead on +852 2523 0489 for an appointment or email kowhoo@hotmail.
For those looking beyond Hong Kong for custom-made indulgence, Berluti boasts a history spanning more than 120 years, and its bespoke footwear has become a significant part of the brand identity. The French Maison is renowned for its dedication and finesse; its cobblers spend at least 50 hours and perform more than 250 procedures to create one pair of bespoke shoes.
Your personal shoemaking journey begins at a meeting when measurements are taken and much more – they also want to know about you, so they can craft a pair to match your feet, your lifestyle and your personality. You will also discuss the material, design and other features you would like reflected in your shoes.
Given that Berluti encourages an innovative mindset, you can broach unique ideas and choose from a wide range of materials, from classic Venezia leather to rarities like bullfrog skin. But if you are oblivious to what might look good, or what is fashionable, the artisan will guide you through the selection process. They will then create hornbeam wood lasts, which at the end of the process are delivered to you in a wooden box along with your personalised pair of shoe trees.
With Berluti crafting all their shoes in Paris, travelling shoemakers will meet clients in different parts of the world, including Hong Kong, so the first step is to request an appointment through the brand’s website. Since there is a high demand for bespoke shoes, the entire detail-oriented process can take about six months. The price tag for a bespoke pair starts at HK$67,000 and can go as high as HK$300,000.
To order, book an appointment on berluti.com.