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.
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.