Why actually custom shoes?

I have to elaborate a bit on this topic, because in this day and age, unfortunately, the custom shoe is very often mentioned in the same breath as foot problems or associated with a health insurance benefit. That certainly doesn’t do this unique piece justice, which is a shame. A classic made-to-measure shoe definitely represents the shoe-technical crowning glory – a masterpiece, a shoe that is extremely elaborately handcrafted from the finest materials. A shoe that is individually tailored to the wearer and underlines his personal lifestyle. As a fine accessory, it is the “icing on the cake”.

In earlier times, a made-to-measure shoe belonged to the “good tone” in a certain social class. One has afforded custom-made and perfectly fitting shoes to make a “stylish entrance”. A very nice point of view, which is experiencing a renaissance today and which reflects 1:1 the philosophy of the models of our

Vitallo Kontorline


So you have to clearly distinguish between an orthopedic and a classic custom shoe. From this perspective, there are two reasons why I need a custom shoe: either because it is needed for medical reasons or because I want to wear it as an expression of individual lifestyle. For the first reason, an anatomical inadequacy is responsible, which is then taken care of by an orthopedic custom-made shoe at the orthopedic shoemaker. However, in my contribution I would like to focus on the aspect that is more interesting to me – “because I want it”. And there are several reasons for this:

Individuality: Like no other type of shoe, the made-to-measure shoe is tailored to its owner to the maximum extent possible. This applies to the fit as well as to the optical design. In a made-to-measure shoe, the lasts that are crucial for the fit are individually made according to the customer’s foot measurements. The lasts are decisive for the templates by means of which the stock parts are cut. But especially the possibilities of optical design and individual design are very diverse with the made-to-measure shoe. Although industrial suppliers of “custom shoes” are following suit with expanded offerings, these customization options will never be able to reach a certain depth in manufacturing methods and craftsmanship techniques. A nice example is embroidered initials or names, but this is only possible in certain fonts or special positions. Thus, even in the age of industrial personalization, the made-to-measure shoe remains unsurpassed in terms of individuality.

Workmanship: Masterfully (derived from the Latin “Magister” for teacher / scholar) processed, so a custom shoe should be natural. And if you stay in certain, realistic price regions (a classic custom-made, welted shoe with leather sole and leather heel starts at about 2,500 euros) you can also expect real craftsmanship. From the hand-stitched frame seam to the hand-glossed sole, the wood-nailed and hammer-pinned layered leather heel, the craftsmanship here is second to none. The leather is treated with the appropriate amount of time and care, is allowed to rest on the lasts for several days after hand pinching, and is allowed to mold to them before further work is done. The great effort and the associated expectations of the customer are worth it, however, because at the end of the process the focus is on an individual one-off piece and its wearer.

Material: Depending on the gusto and intended use, the materials are individually selected for a made-to-measure shoe. In industrial shoe production, materials are generally used that facilitate machine processing. This, in turn, leads to the fact that a whole range of very interesting material combinations are already omitted in the run-up to production, as they are not designed for this type of manufacturing… In contrast, in handcrafted production we can draw on and combine very specific and versatile materials right from the start. Of course, this requires a shoemaker’s many years of experience with the various possible combinations, as well as a high level of knowledge of materials. Soft leathers, for example, do not need to be laminated in such a manufacturing process to facilitate processing. They can fully develop their natural feel in the handcrafted production and contribute immensely to increasing the product quality.

Understatement: As a rule, there is no well-known or glittering label emblazoned on a made-to-measure shoe that lets the whole world know what value you are wearing on your feet. Although connoisseurs are well aware of the technical shoe class in which you are traveling. However, the custom shoe wearer is above these things. The knowledge of the high quality, the individual touch and the uniqueness that comes with it are probably the most important aspects for the custom shoe wearer. Just knowing for yourself that you are treating yourself to the best has a very special appeal.

Personal value: As mentioned above, a custom shoe is something you treat only yourself. No one other than oneself gets to enjoy this individual pleasure. It is not an heirloom whose value can be transferred to the next generation. You can’t resell the shoe with stable value like a valuable watch, because it only fits the wearer perfectly. A custom shoe is therefore an investment only in yourself and for your own dolce vita.

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