I'm Andy Murphy from Foster and Son. We're the oldest shoemakers in London. We've been traveling to America, the company for over 40 years doing these trunk shows. Dallas we used to come to in the 70s and 80s and we've just introduced it with Kirby last year and this is the second trip into Dallas. What is it that kind of leads a gentleman to bespoke? Well it's a big number of things. It's comfort, maybe the first thing that might lead someone they're having trouble with their feet. Then of course it's style. You can choose a particular style that's unique to you and also it's you look at some of these hand-made shoes and they're just they're so beautiful to look. They're very different to some of the ready to wear, the styling, the line, the white, the lightness of them. And it's a very unique product. So people aspire to it and a lot of customers save up really hard and really cherish the shoes and others they've got a lot more money. They still cherish them but they're ordering all the time. Most customers nowadays will look on line and do a bit of research and they probably do in London do the foot-walk and go to cleverly lobs and because you know and actually go in the store and have a look at the product and see the staff and see what kind of suits them but once they've made their choice of who they want to make the shoe the process starts you know talking to the customer in the stores in the store.
And then once the customer has decided pretty much to commit we get the great big book here and this is what we do. The customer stands on here and then we just pretty much draw around the foot, take measurements across the instep, the bottom of your step across here taking into account any things in the foot that might be a problem. Here this gentleman behind his toes instep. We take as many notes as we can. And from this measurement that's when we take it back to London for our last-maker to make the last. Jon Spencer making last and Mika Matsud in the store making last. Both of those were trained by Terry Moore who's the legendary last-maker at Foster's. Once you got the last, with the last-makers happy with the measurements that you've got. He thinks this is going to be pretty much good. Then the process goes to the next person which is the pattern cutter so they make a paper pattern to fit the last. Then once the pattern makers happy then they actually cut the leather and it's all stitched together so you've got the upper part of the shoe and then it's half made around that last. That's when you have the fitting so the shoes half-made so essentially you've got the shape and the upper. When you turn over you haven't got the finish sole. You can see all the welts and all the work underneath. There's no sole on it.
When you have a fit and you can easily maneuver that part around before you finish the shoe. And then really from there once you are happy with the fit the look the shape and we proceed to finish the shoe. All the sole is made and stitched by hand. All the soles open bark tan leather soles from an English company. And the whole process for measurement to finish shoe with the fitting in between is around six to nine months. Well the heel part again is when you look at any shoe you see is built up in four or five extra layers of leather. You can see the lines. Now on a ready to wear, mostly they're punched out by machine and it's already built. But this handmade you've got: one two three four five pieces of leather which you're cutting out from the same sort of sole piece and you're building it entirely by hand. And when you're doing that you can shape it to a pitched heel small heel narrow heel. So all the heel shapes are very very different on a bespoke shoe. Now pattern you can do all different types of now patterns as well. If you look at all the hundred or all bespoke shoes that are in our store turn them all over. They'll all will be slightly different. Individual people have made these and not in a production line where it's uniform. They're all made over a different period of time. From the top of the heel to the shoe. It's almost streamline. It's very difficult to see a joined.
If you look at the ready to way you've got you can see that you've got that ridge which you can't really get the difference of on a machine can't do that's all done by hand. So there that we will find details that some customers might order a bespoke and want it to look like this and that's no problem. But generally it's this real refined and narrow here. And even now it's getting close to people like it really narrow and close. Hand-working time that's the main cost of where the work goes into; all these fine details here. Also now a lot of the factories in U.K. and even abroad put in lot more handwork into the shoe to get it to that bespoke look that we find narrow bevelled waist, the fiddle back waist really close welts. A lot of factories are doing that on their top end high end you know Gaussian do it and Edward Green do on some of their shoes.
The factories have to do that because they want to get this bespoke look and customers are willing to pay for it. On the whole once you've gone bespoke it's very very difficult to go back to ready to wear because the fit is so much better. You get support, natural support under your arch. Your foot's held you know kind of in a supportive position all day long. You don't realize that until you've got a pair made and then you think gosh this you can wear this shoe all day long every day day after day without any discomfort. Which on the ready to wear shoe sometimes you have a breaking in process and they don't quite work and after a few hours of wearing the shoe you have to take him off change shoes. But with bespoke it's that the key is the fit really. Once you've have it it's very difficult to go back to ready to wear. You pick up a ready to wear shoe and a bespoke shoe the weight is quite different. The bespoke is lighter in weight. Not a great deal but you can feel the difference and that's because there's not the excess. With the ready to wear, like this one is here, you've got to make it to fit like 90 percent of the people who try it on so you've got quite a bit of room in there. With bespoke it's just cut much closer to your foot. There's less materials involved as opposed and that's why the people love the shoe.
In this day and age when everything seems to be really sort of a fast buckle or a throw away satchel showbiz razzmatazz a lot of people love all that. But most of our customers shy away from that they come to us because we're fairly you know low-key. We're not shouting from the rooftops that we got tons of movie stars on our books and that's actually a lot of people come to us say is I'm coming to you primarily because you're not going to tell big stories about me as a customer. Famous people who want to be private. Nowadays people will do the research and they'll make a decision based on what you just said it's more personal. They realize that they're going to have a personal relationship with the company but more importantly the guys that they see on a regular basis and a lot of our customers have two or three tailors as well in London. And they may have started with Huntsman's and followed him onto this company another company set up on the run and so it's a personal relationship and the customer chooses I guess based on that sometimes rather than just the product. So if I'm to go for something with Fosters I mean I really want something that represents kind of the DNA you know the estos of Fosters.
I mean not something that you're going to find anywhere else and something that's pretty unmistakable so what would you recommend? Well the to start the elastic side of the shoe has many styles, quite plain, bit of broguing more broguing and more sort of dressy. And before I start that fosters I've not noticed there was a difference but most stores always used to sell it that the line is cut kind of all the way straight around here. So all the Cleverley ones will cut like this some of the V cut all the Edward Green shoes all the New and Lingwood shoes were all exactly like this here. And when I started working at Fosters I actually noticed that a massive archive of elastic sided shoes and they were all cut mostly slightly different. You see here you've got the elastic side little lift or higher tongue here. And on this one here the brogue one, it's a littlr higher still. So this is a really different feature that I've not noticed any shoe prior to joining fosters. So this is kind of unique styling with this slightly lower vamp and the little lip on top. You can really tell that it's different to an Edward Green, or Cleverley or Jones type of shoe. We've now managed to incorporate that cut into the ready to wear.