As a man with an extremely large shoe collection of over 130 pairs (was 150 not too long ago, as I’m trying to “edit”), I’m getting more interested in learning about shoes and their construction. This is for two main reasons:
- As I’ve matured in my personal sartorial journey (as most men do), quality has become a MUCH bigger focus over quantity
- My great grandfather owned three boot / shoemakers shops in South London, so I feel it’s “in the blood” to learn a little more about what kind of activities and skills he may have been employing. This is especially true now that my grandfather recently passed away and I inherited some tools from his fathers shop
Oh, and I almost forgot to mention storing over 100 pairs of size 14 shoes is no easy task!
Best Book About Bespoke Made Shoes
I’ve had the great fortune to have spent some time in and around Savile Row London meeting some very interesting, skilled and passionate people. One of which is Karl from Ascot Shoes, who supply Vass shoes in the UK , American and Asia (more on that later).
His passion is apparent, and he graciously recommended this book to me. Not only because he is a supplier of the author in question, but because it’s one of the best if not the best book to dive into the world of handmade / bespoke shoes.
What You’ll Learn
In short, more than you might expect!
The book goes from the history of modern classic shoes, sizing, last making, entire bespoke process and even as far as shoe care & repairs.
Note: you can see the Bespoke Unit shoe size guide and chart here.
Fascinating detail on the wood used for lasts, how its cut, aged, etc…
The above images of pages is just a small section of what gems are inside this huge resource.
There is even a nice section at the end of the book that highlights other makers of fine handmade / bespoke shoes around the world outside of Vass in Budapest.
Who Is The Book For?
Anyone into shoes, both men and women.
It goes into just enough detail of each process to be highly engaging and informative.
There is an abundance of pictures and diagrams to assist in understanding the concepts being discussed. No matter if you’re someone who wants to go fully bespoke when it comes to shoes, or just appreciate a fine looking shoe from a well known “off the rack” maker like Allen Edmonds, this book will tick all the boxes.
It does however, give one a huge appreciation for what actually goes into a bespoke / handmade shoe, so don’t blame me if you end up wanting a pair yourself!
Final Thoughts On: Handmade Shoes For Men
I greatly enjoyed this book. It showed me what some of the tools I inherited my have been used for, as well as, wetting my appetite for getting a pair of handmade shoes in the very near future.
Currently I’m recovering from foot surgery, so I’ll have to wait a touch longer for my foot to return to “normal” but when it does, Karl can expect an appointment. It’s also interesting to note the “makers” section of the book, in addition to many reference of the benefits of handmade shoes for those of us who my have irregular feet, for comfort.
At less than $30 on Amazon, it might just be the best shoe investment you’ve ever made!
Where To Buy Vass Shoes
You can make the pilgrimage to Budapest and see the authors workshop in person! Something I plan to do at some point.
Or as I’ll likely do first, get an appointment with Karl on one of his trunk shows to New York (as he is based in London at 13 Savile Row).
He can be reached here:
Note: Bespoke Unit was not compensated by Ascot or Vass Shoes for this review / endorsement.
Want To Continue Reading:
- Bespoke Unit Shoes Home
- All Book Reviews
- Shoe & Trouser Color Coordination Guide
- Guide To Over 30 Styles Of Shoes & How To Wear Them
"This book is a must for anyone into shoes. It greatly deepened my knowledge, understanding and appreciation for this fine craft."Rating: 5.0 ★★★★★