Custom-fit/Bespoke footwear

There are two main ways you can order footwear through Wootten. Lots of people like to come into the Melbourne shop and have a look around or take a squiz at our website range and choose a model that suits them. Once you’ve found a shoe you think suits you down to the ground, the individualisation starts. We call this our Standard or Made-To-Order service. This takes place at our Melbourne store where all our fitting stock is located.

If you can’t find a shoe that’s quite the right fit, or you’ve got an idea of your own that you want to turn into a glorious cordwained reality, our Custom Fit/Bespoke service might be for you. See below.

What do we mean by Custom Fit?

This footwear is made using our standard designs and then making adjustments to tailor the fit to your foot requirements and measurements.

What do we mean by Bespoke?

Bespoke is a concept that lies at the heart of slow fashion; it’s the diametric opposite of mass production. If you go to the dictionary you’ll find that it simply means “specially made” and “arranged in advance”. We think it’s a bit more interesting than that. In fact, we think it involves a touch of magic — and that’s even before the cordwainers get crafting. As soon as you step into the shop with bespoke shoes on your mind, a metamorphosis takes place: you transform from humble customer into creative customiser. (One guy reckons he even heard a harp sound when he crossed the threshold, but he’d had a couple.)

Of course, you’ll have the expert guidance and advice of head cordwainer, Jess, and oxblood-colour aficionado, Krys, at your disposal every step of the way, but when you choose the Wootten bespoke service, you choose to play a crucial role in the creation of your own delightful piece of footwear.

Considerations: By appointment only at our Ballarat workshop. This service is currently on hold with a waitlist.

As a requirement, all clientele need to meet with Jess to be measured at the Ballarat Workshop for their one-on-one consultation with the cordwainer as well as for their follow up fitting(s) many months later. Bespoke shoes are on average between $1200- $1800 for your first pair. More complex fits and orthotics can push this higher. Bespoke ankle boots can be more depending on the height and style. Knee high boots typically fall between $1800-2200+, but will vary depending on leather chosen, construction detail and complexity of fit, which may push this higher. More orthopaedic footwear needs can push these price ranges higher for custom orthotics, build ups, etc.

Timeframes for bespoke footwear are currently 6-12 months from receiving the deposit, but will vary with the level of work that comes in and how busy we get. You will typically see us for your first fitting between 5-8 months after the 50% deposit has been paid. Once the fit is confirmed by the customer, soling proceeds and takes approximately 3-6 weeks to completion.

PLEASE NOTE: As of June 2021 we are not currently taking on any new custom/bespoke orders due to needing to catch up on the existing workload. We have a waitlist we can add your name and details to if interested to be contacted when we open this service again. Please use the contact form to do so.

See also:

Please note that our custom/bespoke footwear orders are by appointment only at our Ballarat workshop. Please feel free to contact us or use the form to schedule an appointment.

Process

1

Consultation

Our bespoke service doesn’t start with measurements and machinery. Before all that comes something even more important: an idea and a little bit of imagination.

Come to us with an idea of what you want your bespoke shoe to look like and we’ll guide you through the ins and outs of what will work for you and how we can turn your concept into a one-of-a-kind instant smile-inducer. That’ll all happen at the stage we call the consultation.

In short, it’s the bit where we ensure all of your needs and ideas are fully realised.

Apart from a good old fashioned gasbag about what you’re looking for, the consultation includes:

  • Measurements
  • Selecting leather/materials
  • Discussing design of the upper (the bit everybody sees)
  • Considering practical requirements
  • Determining the construction method

Note: Consultations for bespoke footwear take place at our Ballarat workshop.


Next Process

2

Pairing/Forming the Last

After the initial consultation we get down to business.

A last is the foot-shaped thingamajig (often made from wood, metal or plastic) that you’ll see everywhere the minute you step into the workshop. It’s kind of like a mould, only the other way round — rather than a craftsman pouring material into a last, they design a shoe around it.

We either produce custom lasts from scratch using casts or measurements, or we modify existing lasts from our extensive library. In some orthopaedic cases we’ll manufacture the shoes directly onto the cast of your foot to ensure the perfect fit.


Next Process

3

Custom Patterns

Fundamentally, shoemaking is the same as any design process: it doesn’t work unless you take into account form and function.

Each pair of our custom shoes requires the time and attention of our cordwainer to produce a custom pattern to fit the form of your foot and to accommodate the function you’re seeking.

We take into consideration heaps of different factors when designing a pattern for you: your gait, your foot shape, your support requirements, the style you’re after, donning and doffing (putting them on and taking them off), the materials we’ve decided on, the overall construction technique, and many more.


Next Process

4

Uppers

When considering what you want your shoe to be made from, you don’t need to limit yourself. We create footwear uppers from:

  • Bovine
  • Baby Calf
  • Yearling
  • Kangaroo
  • Crocodile
  • Snake
  • Barramundi
  • Kid

You can choose from:

  • Full grain
  • Analine
  • Embossed
  • Foiled
  • Italian, French, English, American, Australian, German and New Zealand to name a few


Next Process

5

Lasting the Upper

The leather insoles are trimmed to the feather edge of the last to seamlessly blend the upper to the sole of the shoe. The uppers are then hand-drafted and then stretched to take the form of the last. A firm leather heel counter and toe-puff are inserted to reinforce the upper, giving them greater structural integrity and support.


Next Process

6

Fit Test

The next bit is pretty important. We check to make sure the last and the pattern fit perfectly. This is our last chance to make minor adjustments and get your confirmation and thumbs up on the fit and the style before we finalise the last of the manufacturing steps. This involves doing things with obscure names like:

Blake stitch – blake rapid stitch – cemented – leather stacked heels – topy and vibram rubbers – cork filled void. Leather insole. Hand stitched welt… (Our FAQ has some info on these)


Next Process

7

Soling & Finishing

Next step is to apply a stacked leather heel, which is trimmed and buffed. We never compromise on quality and use full leather heel blocks. You’ll find no ‘leatherboard’ or plastic in our leather soled shoes. They are attached using buttress nails ensuring they will stay there as long as you want them to.

The shoes are then hand-finished using a variety of polishes, dyes and techniques depending on the desired effect.


Next Process

8

Final Fitting

The final fitting takes place with the sole now attached to the shoe. We get you to walk in the shoe to test the fit under dynamic wear. If there are minor adjustments that need to be made to ensure the perfect fit we will do them during this consultation. The final step is for you to take your shoes and enjoy wearing them for many years to come.


Next Process

9

Ongoing Care

At Wootten we don’t just make shoes; we maintain them as well.

All our footwear is made to last for a very long time with the right care and maintenance on your part as well, but those annoying laws of physics mean there’s no such thing as a shoe that stays intact forever. That’s why when you step out the door with your brand new pair of shoes, we’re not thinking “Goodbye forever” – we’re hoping this is (only) the beginning of a beautiful friendship (even if the next time we see you is in ten years).


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