Awl & Sundry Custom Shoe Review, pt I

Awl & Sundry Custom Shoe Review, pt I

awl and sundry custom mens shoes

The made to measure/custom suit and shirt industry has been doing quite well for itself over the past few years.  The number of players has increased greatly and partly as a result, the accessibility of made to measure suits (by means of the internet and lower prices) has greatly increased.  It was only a matter of time before the same started happening in shoes.

Sure, Nike ID has been around for a while and since it is Nike, it is no doubt a huge operation, but it is limited in its scope.  However, aside from the top tier of shoe makers, like Gaziano & Girling and Alfred Sargent, a similar service for dress shoes has not been readily accessible for gents here in the States.  One could order from companies like Scarosso and Animas Code; but those companies are not based here in the states nor do they offer a variety of lasts.  Enter Awl & Sundry.

Nikunj Marvania realized that there was this void in the market for something like this so he took it upon himself to fill it.  It took him over a year to find the right factory and partners.  The factory is located in China (For the record, I think country of origin of materials and manufacture have little to do with the final quality of the good.  You can find really good factories in China and really bad ones.  The same can be said for Europe) although Nikunj is based here in The United States.

To design your shoes you must go through the 6 step process on Awl & Sundry’s site.  Unfortunately, it is not open to the public till March 24th, but you can get an idea of it in the screenshots I took below (although if you are at all interested I recommend you sign up on their homepage for updates).  It is a straight forward process and the number of combinations are nearly endless.  I easily spent a few hours on the site playing around with different designs and colors.

awl and sundry custom shoe review
Step 1 – There are 4 different shoe types to choose from.  So aside from all of the die hard boot wearers out there, the rest of you should be able to create something you like.
awl and sundry custom mens shoes
Step 2 – This is perhaps the most important step in terms of dictating how your shoe will fit and feel on your foot.  Each last has a different shape and as such each will feel different on your feet.  Read the descriptions to see if you can match your foot type to a last.  If not, then either guess, figure it out or pick a shape you like and hope for the best.
awl and sundry custom shoe review
Step 3 – I am not sure whether step 3 or step 4 is my favorite.  I spent far too much time on both playing with different permutations.  In step 3 you choose the various details and embellishments on the shoe like broguing, medallions, loafer straps, eyelet outlines, quarter details and more depending on which model you chose in step 1.
awl and sundry custom shoe review
Step 4 – The other step that contributed to a few hours of lost time.  I had too much fun playing with different leathers (smooth calf, grained calf, suede calf, ostrich and gator).  You can also choose the color of stitching on the shoe as well as rotate the shoe 360 degrees as well as get an over the top view.  Unfortunately, however, you cannot change the color of the sole and welting; it seems that all shoes get brown for that.
awl and sundry custom shoe review
Error – If you try to go back a step you will get a pop up like this.  Which is a nice safeguard against losing your progress.
awl and sundry custom mens shoes
Step 5 – If you would like, you can have your shoes monogrammed.  I opted not to in the end, however, I do have it showing here for demonstration purposes.
awl and sundry custom mens shoes
Step 6 – Choose your shoe size.  No human has two identical feet.  One is always larger than the other, but usually not by a noticeable amount.  But for some people the difference is a half size or more; fortunately, Awl & Sundry can accommodate such situations.  This was the shoe that I designed.  Brown calf for the body and brown suede for the strap and counter.  The stitching is brown as well.
awl and sundry custom mens shoes
Step 7 – Remit payment and acquire.

Obviously, I cannot speak for the quality of the shoes yet.  Nor for the patterns and finish of the shoes.  But to be honest my expectations are pretty high.  The photos I have seen of their shoes look promising and Nikunj seems knowledgeable and passionate about his venture.  I am told there is also a good deal of handwork that goes into the shoes, including being hand welted.  We can talk more on the construction in the final review though.  As you can see the shoes I ordered cost $350, however, they can get up to over $1,500 when using exotic skins like gator and ostrich.  But for calf leather the price stays at $350.  To say I was tempted to go with gator or ostrich for the shoes would be an understatement.  Perhaps next time.  Stay tuned for the review of the shoes, I expect to have them in the next month or so and from that time it’ll take a few weeks to another month to wear them a bit and get the review together.  If you have any questions or comments on Awl & Sundry feel free to sound off in the comments.

The second and final part of this review has been published.  You will find it here.



Note:  FYGblog did receive the pair of shoes referred to for the purpose of review.  As always, the utmost care has been taken to maintain an unbiased perspective on the product and brand at hand.


  1. I bought this shoe about few months back for my wedding reception, the boxing, the design and quality everything impressed me. It looked fantaboulous on the special day. I now use it as my work shoe, I feel more confident every time I wear, my colleagues ask me where I bought it. Its a real premium quality product.

    Good luck Nikunj.


  2. Also, do you have any recommendations for a guy with a small foot size of around 5.5 UK without resorting to bespoke? It’s been extremely difficult for me to find good shoes.

    • Fred,
      Unfortunately, I cannot think of any brands that have shoes that small. Most go to 7uk. When I launch my shoe brand I expect to have a few in that small of a size, but they will be casual and not dress shoes.

  3. I was all hopeful and then I saw that they don’t offer narrow sizes. I have narrow feet in two very different and I’ve yet to find loafers that fit. I just returned a couple pairs from Allen Edmunds which just didn’t work. Any suggestions?

  4. Justin,

    I know you were planning on wearing the Awl & Sundry shoes for a month or two prior to writing a review, but I was wondering if you would be able to post some detailed pictures prior to that. I am very interested in the brand, but would like to see how your loafers turned out before placing an order.



    • Callan,
      Yes there is, however, AM business model is quite different in that you have to meet with their representatives in person to place an order, I believe. Do you have any experience with the brand that you would like to share?

  5. Hey –

    Great review of AS.

    I’m curious to know your experience with the actual shoes in the last 1-2 months? Can you post images? What’s the wear and creases like etc?


    • AMC2014,
      Thanks. I am working on the review right now actually. I have had a few chances to wear the shoes and they have worn well. The leather itself is decent for the price, although not amazing. What is amazing is the customization AS is able to offer for their prices. Review should be up in next 18 hours.