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Q & A: Episode 8 | Bespoke Shoes

Q & A 8 | Bespoke Shoes

In this video, Kirby Allison replies to several of the questions and comments asked by our YouTube Audience with a theme of Allen Edmonds. We love hearing back from our customers and audience and shortly after this video airs, we will attempt to reach out to all commenters featured in this video with a complimentary pair of our Sovereign Grade dress shoe laces. If your question or comment was featured in this video and you have not heard from us, please message us directly through YouTube.


Hi, I'm Kirby Allison, and we love helping the well-dressed take care of their wardrobes. Thank you for all of your comments and questions that you guys have posted on our YouTube channel. After reading them all and answering as many as possible I've selected five of my favorites that we're gonna feature in today's Q&A; video. Since we so often talk about bespoke shoes in today's Q&A; video I'm going to be answering some of the questions from our channel specifically about bespoke shoes. Each of these individuals I've selected will receive a complimentary pair of our sovereign grade shoelaces as a token of our appreciation for their participation in our channel. Remember if you have any questions or comments while you're watching one of our videos please ask them in the comment section below. I try to get back to as many of those questions as possible.

Our first question today is from Adrian Fox, and it was on our why use a pig bristle brush video. His question reads I'm currently having a bespoke pair of shoes made out of crocodile leather. Will this type of brush be effective for use with severe Repton on crocodile leather? So great question Adrian. So fundamentally his question is is what is the best type of bristle to use when buffing an exotic leather like crocodile or alligator. So there's really two different options. One is pig bristle. Now Pig bristle is generally stiffer than horsehair of the equivalent length, or you could use a horsehair brush. Now we use a hundred percent tail hair in all of our horsehair brushes with zero main. The main hair is the more brittle of the bristle or hair in this case and is more likely to break which is what causes all of the shedding. Our 100% pig bristle brush that we sell here at the hanger project has the longest possible cut length, but you can see it's still substantially shorter than the cut length on our horsehair brush. So my recommendation would be to use our deluxe horsehair brush because not only is the horse hair softer but because you're able to get a longer cut length it is an even softer bristle than what you would otherwise have on the equivalent horsehair brush. This is important because you know a lot of the exotic skins are slightly more delicate and so my recommendation would be to use a softer bristle and just spend more time buffing the shoe than what you would use with the pig bristle brush.Congratulations on the new crocodile shoes Adrienne as you can see and our how to care for exotic shoe care video I actually inherited a beautiful pair of crocodile shoes from my grandfather. So if you take care of those shoes by using the proper polish and polish them regularly they really can last a lifetime. Thank you for your question, and I look forward to sending you a pair of our Sovereign Grade shoelaces to use on your new shoes.

Our second question today is from a Brent Morris, and it's on our video where I could show you what my top 10 favorite shoe profiles are on Instagram. His question reads probably a stupid question but approximately how much do bespoke shoes cost. I'm new to this world and just curious, really enjoying your videos. Thanks Brent for your question. It's actually a great question because a lot of the bespoke makers don't publish their prices online. So let's talk about this today. So if we're looking at just the UK bespoke makers there's really three of what you'd call the Heritage High Street bespoke shoemaking firms. John Lobb of course the most famous, Georges cleverly, and Foster & Sons, and then a newer kind of upstart but certainly very well regarded in the UK is Gaziano & Girling. So John Lobb is without question the most expensive. This is John Lobb boot maker which is on St. James. The original John Lobb not to be confused with John La Paris. Now their prices excluding VAT for a bespoke pair of cat-scans shoes is four thousand one hundred seventy pounds. Now that does not include shoe trees, and you'd be crazy to buy a pair of bespoke shoes without getting the fully lasted shoe trees. So shoe trees are an extra 800 to 850 pounds. So for a pair of John Lobb st. James shoes made of calf skin you're really looking at five thousand pounds. So five thousand pounds and US dollars at today's conversion about a dollar forty or a dollar thirty-five is almost $7,000. It's an incredible amount of money to pay for shoes. Now if you're buying those shoes and you live in the EU or the United Kingdom and you have to pay VAT add 20% of that price and you're looking at almost $10,000 for a pair of bespoke shoes. So since John Lobb St. James is certainly the oldest and probably the most preeminent bespoke shoe maker in all of the United Kingdom they certainly have no trouble charging those prices. I mean they do hold the Royal warrants for both the Duke of Edinburgh and the Prince of Wales. So of course wearing a pair of John Lobb St. James shoes is a lot like pulling up in a Rolls-Royce Phantom. You know actually the last time I was at John Lobb you know a customer pulled up in his beautiful new Bentley and parked it right out front. So those are the type of customers you see a John Lobb St. James. Now behind John Lobb is Gaziano & Girling. Daniel Wiegand who does all the bespoke work for Gaziano & Girling is highly regarded as one of the best shoe makers right now. He placed second in the world championship of shoemaking. You can see some interviews with him on this channel and is very talented. The price of a pair of bespoke Gaziano & Girling shoes is 4,200 pounds. That's about $5,500, but with Gaziano & Girling the second pair is less expensive it's 3,500 pounds which is about $4,700. So Gaziano & Girling is the only of these bespoke shoe makers to offer a second lower price for all your subsequent pairs of shoes. Of course this is taking into account that there's a significant amount of additional work involved in your first pair of shoes because of the creation of your last. Now what's unique about Gaziano & Girling is that most of the shoes are done entirely by Daniel Wiegand. So again you just have one person touching your shoes for the most part. Now behind Gaziano & Girling you then have Foster and Sons. Now Foster and Sons is located on German Street. We also have some great grid videos with Foster and Sons on this channel. Certainly the most discreet of all of the British bespoke shoemaking firms, very dedicated small workshop doing their Bespoke work. Their shoes come in at 4,200 pounds. Of course this is not including VAT if you live in the United Kingdom. Let's see so 4,200 pounds that's including shoe trees comes in right around $5,500 plus some change. I'm currently having a pair of bespoke shoes made at Foster & Sons, and I have several pair of their slippers that are hand monogrammed in London and lastly and certainly not least is George cleverly. So George Cleverly comes in at two thousand nine hundred fifty pounds which includes the shoe trees and that's right about four thousand dollars at today's exchange rate. It's a fantastic value and without question makes George cleverly the most accessible of all the bespoke shoe makers in England. Their work is absolutely fantastic and as you can tell from this channel I've got a great relationship with the Glasgow's and absolutely love my Bespoke Cleverlys. You can certainly spend less money on a pair of shoes, but the bespoke experience and what you get at the end of that process is just something really special and unique. Having a pair of shoes made by hand just for you with someone that you have a relationship you know really is priceless. So all of my bespoke shoes that I own I love them whenever I wear them. They're special, I feel great, I look good, they're incredibly comfortable, and they fit perfectly, and I wouldn't trade them for anything. Thanks Brent for your question. We look forward to sending you a pair of our Sovereign Grade shoelaces.

Our third question today is from a Jerry Mouchian, and it's on our Gaziano & Girling Deco review video. His question reads you know thank you for broadcasting these amazing shoes from Gaziano & Girling most definitely excellent shoes to covet. So as you had mentioned the shoes are not colored and/or died during the tanning process but rather at the end of making them truly wonderful however it leads me to the most important question. Since Gaziano & Girling are taking the time in the care of creating a bespoke pair of these marvelously dyed and colored shoes should they still be polished to a mirror finish? I find that to be a bit sacrilegious. I mean it's like having a chef prepare you the world's best dish, but then you add salt and ketchup. Yikes! Thank you again for your videos. Waiting to see more. Cheers Jerry! Jerry great question. So you know the short answer is yes. Although Gaziano & Girling is starting with kind of a crust leather and then hand dyeing and developing the patina for each shoe. It's important to understand that they're doing this with alcohol-based permanent leather dyes. So there's nothing that you can do during the shoeshine process really going to affect or alter that original finish in any way. You'd have to use something like a stripper in order to affect the finish. Secondly all shoes look better polished even the best Bespoke shoes. So I would say that absolutely polish your shoes, develop a beautiful mirror shine. So if you have any more questions about how to properly shine a pair of bespoke shoes now take a look at our first polish series where I walk you through shining for the first time at each of my bespoke pair of shoes and Jerry thank you for your question. I really appreciate that and I look forward to sending you a pair of our sovereign grade shoelaces.

Our fourth question today is from a Peter Payne. It's on our George Cleverly bespoke workshop visit video, and he says it's mind-blowing to think that only one or two pairs of shoes can be cut from an entire hide. It's clearly a testament to the uncompromising quality that a bespoke shoemaker like Cleverley is famous for. Now you're absolutely right. I mean it's incredible all the work that goes into a bespoke pair of shoes and you know that George Glasgow Sr. and Jr. both really close friends of mine. You know I've appreciated so much them inviting me into their workshop, actually seeing the craft seeing the work being done has further enhanced and enriched my appreciation for all that goes into bespoke shoe that you know an entire hide a huge hide is only able to yield one maximum two pairs of shoes. One of my favorite things to do is to share my appreciation of these workshops to all of you through these videos. I mean really through these videos I hope you feel like you're there with me visiting cleverly inside the workshop and actually having the opportunity to see first hand everything that goes into creating one of these absolutely marvelous bespoke shoes. Thank you Peter. I'm so delighted you enjoyed our video on the George cleverly workshop visit. We have many more great videos coming from George Cleverly and other bespoke shoemakers. So make sure you subscribe to our Channel and you stay tuned in. In the meantime I look forward to sending you a pair of our Sovereign Grade shoelaces just a small token of my appreciation for your participation in this channel.

Our last question today is from an Adam Atherly and it's actually on our unboxing video of my Russian Reindeer Split Toe Derbies which I'm actually wearing today and his question reads a quick question for you Mr. Allison as you mentioned as with all bespoke shoes they were will they will require a certain level of break-in. Do you mean that bespoke shoes usually take longer to break in than ready-to-wear perhaps due to the closer fit to your foot. I would have assumed that the break-in time was more a function of how supple the leather is rather than fit. Is it your experience that Bespoke takes longer than ready-to-wear with other factors remaining equal? Great video and lovely shoes.. All the best. Thanks Adam! You know I think the point that I was trying to make is that although bespoke shoes are made by hand and made to fit perfectly that they too still require a break-in period. So whenever you receive a lovely pair of new bespoke shoes you can't assume that you're gonna walk out and that they aren't going to require a little bit of breaking in to fully reach the level of comfort that you would expect from a pair of bespoke shoes. Every pair that I've ever received requires a little bit of break-in. Now that said a bespoke pair of shoes requires less time to break in than a pair of ready to wear shoes all things else equal. So the reason a pair of ready-to-wear shoes would require a little bit more time to break in is because of course you know the leathers are going to be a more stiff, and then second the Goodyear welting you know with the cork filling on the inside just creates a stiffer shoe. So it just requires more time to break in in than an equivalent pair of Bespoke shoes. An ill-fitting pair of shoes is not going to require more time to break in than a pair that fits well. Now it might be more uncomfortable during the break-in period, but that is not a function of the break-in period itself. Thank You Adam for your question. I appreciate your participation on our YouTube channel, and I look forward to sending you a pair of our Sovereign Grade shoelaces. If you haven't watched our unboxing of my most recent pair of bespoke shoes, the George Cleverly Russian Reindeer Split Toe Derbies they are unquestionably one of my most unique and special pair of shoes. The Russian Reindeer has an incredible really unique story behind it so make sure you take a look at that video. The bespoke shoe making process really is something that traditionally was behind velvet curtains and theres just not a lot of people that are very familiar with bespoke shoes, how much they cost, how they're made, what that process looks like so if you have any questions that I didn't answer in this video about bespoke shoes about the bespoke shoe making process feel free to ask them in the comment section below. I look forward to getting back to all those questions personally. In today's video I'm wearing a bespoke Chris Despos Brown Fresco Suit. You'll see it has patch pockets and a tapped trouser band. I have a white bespoke Charvet Shirt .I'm wearing one of our Sovereign Grade Ancient Madder Ties, one of my favorite ties actually. I have a pair of our Horn Hanger Project Collar Stays. Im wearing my Chopard Perpetual Calendar Watch, and then I actually have a pocket square that was a gift to me from Gary Tok that is one of the photographs from the Master Shoemakers Book. I'm wearing one of my absolutely favorite socks these are the Palatino Giotto Small Dot Melange Cotton Dress Socks. I have these socks in every color. I always travel with them they're one of my most favorite most elegant pair of socks, and then last but certainly not least I have my George Cleverly Russian Reindeer Split Toed Derby Shoes. Bespoke my most recent pair of bespoke shoes, incredibly special, super comfortable and I can't tell you how much I love wearing these.

Once again I'd like to take a moment to thank everyone for their comments and questions. It's your engagement on our YouTube channel that make these Q&A; videos possible. I really enjoy the opportunity to share these experiences with you all through these videos and having the opportunity to interact back and forth with people watching these videos through the comments makes it all that much more special for me. I read all of your questions and comments personally and really do enjoy getting back to as many of them as I possibly can. If you enjoyed this video give us a thumbs up and please subscribe to our channel and turn on your notifications by clicking the bell on the upper right hand corner so that you can learn whenever we release new videos...and of course please visit where we have the largest and most comprehensive collection of luxury garment care and shoe care accessories in the world, as well as many other incredible products for the well-dressed. And while you're there subscribe to our newsletter to receive notifications of new product launches promotions, as well as a weekly digest of all the videos we publish here on our YouTube channel. I'm Kirby Allison, and thanks for joining me!