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Custom-Made Shoes

Custom-Made Shoes Pamper Your Feet in Style
G. Bruce Boyer
From the Print Edition:
George Burns, Winter 94/95

(continued from page 2)

Once the upper parts of the shoe are stitched together on the last, the sole is attached: the top and bottom of the shoe are sewn together (with 12 hand-stitches per inch) with an intermediary piece of leather called the "welt." Good shoes are always welt constructed, never glued together like many ready-made shoes.

In the end, after the initiation of measurements, the ceremony of selection and the ritual of fittings, you will have a pair of shoes made by an artist. The fit will be a poem, and your feet will somehow look smaller, more elegant. If you take care of the shoes, they can last a lifetime. Clean and polish them properly; always use shoe trees; give them a day's rest between each day or two of wearing. Every year or two, return them to the maker for rejuvenation; for a modest sum, they'll come back looking brand new. Anyone who's had a pair maintained in this fashion will tell you, the older the shoes become the better they look. Also, you can wear a pair for 50 years, then sell it for perhaps 20 times what you originally paid--not a bad investment.

"Just the other week," says Hlustik, "a gentleman came into the shop for some new shoes. He was wearing a pair made by Tuczek in the early 1940s. They were so marvelous, I asked him if he would sell them to me...offered him $3,500. He refused, and I can't say I blame him. After 50 years, they had an absolutely vintage classicism about them."

G. Bruce Boyer is the author of Eminently Suitable (1990), 206 pages, W. W. Norton, $19.95.

Shoemakers

G.J. Cleverley & Co.
28 Royal Arcade, Old Bond Street, London W1X 3HB
Phone: (44) 71 493-0443

Prices range from $1,100 to $1,200, and shoes take two to four months to complete. Classic, calf town shoes in brown and black are the most popular. "We are not really a fashion house," sniffs George Glasgow. "We prefer to do the traditional things."

Vincent & Edgar
972 Lexington Avenue, New York, New York 10021
Phone: (212) 753-3461

Prices start at $1,200, and shoes take 12 weeks to complete. "I prefer the classics," says Roman Vaingauz. "We have a very good variety of leathers in which to do the traditional styles."

Edward Green
90 Jermyn Street, London SW1 Y6JD
Phone: (44) 71 930-7691


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