Idrese is an ambitious custom footwear brand that specializes in Goodyear-welted dress shoes, boots, and sneakers. This brand provides men with Goodyear welted footwear starting at $335 (often less when on sale) and the ability to design their own unique style. It was founded by Jawad Malik who was just 21-years old when he left college to pursue a dream despite a 3.5 GPA!
In this guide, you will discover our detailed review of Idrese Shoes and you’ll learn where and how its shoes are made:
- Idrese Shoe Reviews
- Idrese Brand Background
- Where & How Are Idrese Shoes Made?
- How To Order Idrese Custom Shoes
Feel free to use the links above to jump ahead or scroll down to read more.
Idrese Shoes Reviews
Before we present our full overview of Idrese, we’ll take a close inspection at different models and services that it offers through its website. Currently, you can read about the following footwear:
- Idrese Custom Shoe Review
- Idrese Custom Boot Review [Coming Soon]
Simply use the links above to jump down to each shoe or scroll down to read about them all.
Shop For Idrese Shoes Online
Style & Construction
As we describe below, ordering custom shoes is a treat but it can quickly be overwhelming when faced with all the choices. As I have a penchant for monk strap shoes, I had a clear idea of what I wanted.
Rather than something in full-grain leather, I instead opted for a more business casual double monk that I could wear in Florida alongside my Indochino seersucker suits.
In that light, I chose green suede as it’s a little different from the usual offerings. Nevertheless, you may notice a little bordeaux strip down the back for extra visual interest. After all, it would have been a shame to just go for full green when you can choose the colour of each section!
Meanwhile, I also opted for a toe medallion for additional ornamentation as well as painted leather soles in red to complement the Bordeaux strip. Similarly, I selected copper buckles rather than silver. However, with hindsight, I may have preferred silver.
Otherwise, I’m delighted with the result. It’s a beautifully stylish shoe that will certainly enjoy a lot of wear as it’s perfectly suited to my environment as well as my usual dress code.
Fit & Comfort
Being a 14EEE, I often find it challenging to find shoes that fit! Unfortunately, I rarely have the opportunity to try many of the brands that we review myself because even their largest sizes are too small.
Therefore, I was delighted to hear that Idrese specialises in large and wide shoe sizes! Nevertheless, I was somewhat apprehensive as I’m usually reassured by brands that their largest sizes will fit only to find that they’re too small when they arrive.
Upon receiving Idrese’s custom shoes, I was both thrilled and relieved to find that they fit. However, it wasn’t even a tight fit as is generally the case. Indeed, the shoes fit me perfectly.
I was also surprised by just how comfortable they are to wear. As you can see in the accompanying photographs, I’m happily wearing them without socks in Florida’s mild winter heat. Admittedly, this is a rarity for me but I found that the lining was smooth and pleasant to the touch.
Value For Money
A Goodyear-welted shoe for less than $350 that you can design yourself seems too good to be true. As you can see, however, it’s far from it! Indeed, the shoes are expertly made according to the specifications that I requested.
I was very impressed with both the quality and design of Idrese’s shoes and the value for money is extraordinary. While you may have to wait for the shoes to be made specifically for you, it’s certainly worth it as you won’t be disappointed by the result!
How Idrese Was Founded
As mentioned above, Jawad Malik was 21 years old when he founded Idrese. Indeed, he was in his final year at college with excellent grades when he decided to halt his studies in favour of launching a business.
Nevertheless, Jawad didn’t act on impulse. Instead, he had been developing the idea since he was a freshman and largely drew from his father’s inspiration. Jawad’s father was a salvager who was often hired by insurance companies to sell on goods that could be recovered after a claim.
When Jawad was young, a European insurance company called Jawad’s father following a shoe store fire. They travelled to Europe together to find the store filled with luxury designer goods from brands like Prada and Louis Vuitton.
After calculating the damages and negotiating with the insurance company over the salvaged items for resale, Jawad and his father obtained an international export permit. Once the brand labels were removed from the items, they were resold for pennies on the dollar.
Middle-Eastern Italian Connections
Jawad was born in Chicago but had lived in Jordan for seven years. His father’s successful salvage career brought them back to the country where he and his brother-in-law launched a retail store. As American-made clothing is particularly popular in the Middle East, the business was very successful.
Jawad’s father travelled between Europe, the USA, and Jordan to source inventory for the store. On some occasions, he would obtain a permit to cheaply purchase overstocked or misprinted goods from Italian and American factory warehouses. Jawad soon learned that it was the exact same process as major American retailers like TJ Maxx and JC Penney.
Jawad’s experience wasn’t without hardship, though. Exhausted by the relentless travelling, Jawad’s father used his Power of Attorney to sign the business to his brother-in-law’s control. However, it led to their relationship ceasing almost overnight.
Much of the family’s income halted and upon their return to the USA, they had to resort to living on food stamps. Nevertheless, Jawad and his father didn’t give up and worked their way back into business via flea markets. Jawad sold many products himself and he often accompanied his father to meetings and negotiations.
He drew the conclusion from these experiences that once labels were removed from a luxury good, their value was only reflected by its quality. For instance, many designer brands will cheaply manufacture shoes with cement construction yet sell them for over $700.
Jawad’s Vision For Idrese
After his cumulative experience in touring various factories and warehouses, Jawad realized that he had the connections to launch his own brand.
Disillusioned by the practices of larger companies, he founded it with the four underlying principles:
- Retail pricing of no more than $350.
- Only Goodyear-welted shoes.
- Nothing less than full-grain Italian leather.
- Specialist shoe craftspeople of at least 20 years experience.
In order to fulfill each of these objectives as best they could, Jawad opted for a direct-to-consumer business model, which helped him reduce overheads by cutting out the middle man.
However, Jawad still had to sacrifice extremely tempting potential profit margins. Nevertheless, he firmly believes that improving his customers’ quality of life is worth it.
What Does Idrese Mean?
“Idrese” is an alternative spelling to “Idris”, which has multiple meanings for Jawad. In this most literal sense, it loosely translates to “Ardent Lord” in Welsh from the root “Udd, which can also mean “prince”.
As Jawad wishes everyone deserves the opportunity to feel as regal as a prince, he felt that the connection was quite appropriate.
However, “Idris” also has Arabic origins, which while unrelated to the Welsh word, is of particular importance to Jawad. Idris is an ancient Babylonian prophet who is mentioned twice in the Quran. On both occasions, he is referred to as an honest, patient, and compassionate man.
Incidentally, Idris is often associated with the biblical figure, Enoch, and they are often regarded as one and the same. Jawad shares these values and uses this integrity to guide his decisions along the paths that he walks in both his personal and professional life.
Where Are Idrese Shoes Made?
Idrese shoes are manufactured in Spain’s shoemaking capital, Almansa. Interestingly, its partner factory is just next door to both Umber and Magnanni! Indeed, the Albacete region has a long and rich shoemaking history.
Given Jawad’s demanding requirements, he sought a workshop that is manned only by highly-skilled and experienced craftspeople. As a result, he ensures that Idrese offers only the highest quality possible that fulfil his and his customers’ needs.
Furthermore, Idrese shoes are all crafted from nothing less than vegetable-tanned full-grain leather. Jawad sources the hides directly from Conceria Tolio, an Italian tannery that was founded in 1962 by Mario Tolio.
Tolio is well-known in the shoe industry and he supplies other celebrated brands like Santoni, Berlutti, Andres Sendra, Ferragamo, and even Louis Vuitton.
Additionally, Idrese shoes opt for thicker than usual hides. Consequently, they offer better longevity but the weight and structure helps reduce creasing.
How Are Idrese Shoes Made?
As mentioned earlier, Jawad’s initial criteria was that the shoes must be made using Goodyear-welting. In fact, he outright refused the possibility of Blake-stitching, which is quicker and cheaper.
Indeed, Goodyear-welting is a labour-intensive process that requires additional materials to produce. However, it offers a robust and sturdy construction with greater weather resistance. Similarly, a Goodyear-welted shoe can be resoled a greater number of times than a Blake-stitched shoe.
All Idrese shoes are one at a time in order to grant them the full attention to detail that they deserve. Throughout the production line, there are multiple inspection points, which offers a high standard of quality control.
Any shoes that have suffered even the slightest cosmetic scuff are discarded and remade from scratch.
How To Order Idrese Custom Shoes
Thanks to an intuitive 3D user interface, ordering shoes on Idrese is an easy and pleasant experience. In fact, it allows you to easily experiment and try different features as you craft your shoes.
The process starts by simply choosing a basic shoe design, which can consist of monk strap shoes, Jodhpur boots, brogues, and loafers. You will also have the option to choose different sneakers and slippers, too.
The prices are clearly indicated for each style of shoe and there are no additional costs when customising the footwear. Therefore, you can freely tailor them without the fear of a surprise when checking out!
Goodyear Welt Colours & Styles
For all shoe styles, the customisation starts with the welt and sole’s design. As mentioned above, all Idrese shoes are Goodyear welted. Nevertheless, you can choose the style of the welt (storm, city, country) and its colour. You will then be prompted to choose the sole as well.
If you opt for a Dainite rubber sole as is the case in the military brogue boot reviewed above, note that you won’t be able to physically change its colour. However, its colour is decided on what you chose for the welt so bear that in mind. As you can see, it appears black in the designer but in the final written review, it’s rust like the welt.
Leathers & Uppers
Using the arrows in the bottom left-hand corner, you can cycle through the different parts of the shoe. In the top-left hand corner, you will be presented with the different colours and materials that are available.
Each section of the upper can be customised independently. For instance, you’ll notice that the vamp is khaki suede whereas the toe and quarters are medium-brown box calf leather.
Be sure to cycle through every option to make sure that you haven’t missed anything out. Not only can you dictate the colours of the leathers but you can change the laces as well as any metal hardware. In the boots’ case, you choose the colour of the eyelets. Meanwhile, the buckles can be changed on a monk strap shoe.
Once finished, you can simply click on “order” in the top right-hand corner. You will then be prompted to confirm every choice that you have made. This additional step makes sure that you’re happy with your choices and that you haven’t missed anything out.
Idrese Custom Shoe Colours
As Idrese uses a 3D-rendered designer to create your shoes, it might be difficult to visualise what the leather colours will actually look like in real life. Fortunately, the custom leathers use the same colours as on Idrese’s ready-to-wear collection.
That being said, they use different names so it might be confusing to associate each custom leather with its real-life counterpart. If want to compare the 3D-rendered leather options with a photographic reference, you can use the list below:
- Black: Black
- Burgundy: Oxblood
- Navy: Not Available
- Cognac: Honey
- Dark Brown: Dark Brown
- Medium Brown: Medium Brown
Meanwhile, here is a list of the custom suede leathers:
- Grey: Not Available
- Black: Black
- Dark Brown: Dark Brown
- Medium Brown: Rust Suede
- Camel: Camel Lux Suede
- Sand: Taupe Suede
- Burgundy: Not Available
- Khaki: Not Available
- Navy: Not Available
Overall, the 3D illustrations are pretty close to what they look like in real life. Nevertheless, it’s always handy to have a clear idea of what the end result will be. As you may notice by those listed as “not available” above, some colour options are only available for custom orders.
Idreses focuses on producing affordable high-quality shoes with impeccable construction and leathers. Jawad hopes that the brand will soon receive global recognition for its efforts.
Once it surpasses a certain production threshold, it will help reduce his manufacturing costs. However, rather than enjoy a higher profit margin, Jawad wishes to use the additional funds for philanthropic projects.
For instance, he hopes to support low-income neighbourhoods through pre-existing mentoring programs. Similarly, he has shown interest in Toms Footwear’s “buy a pair give a pair” program but he would like the pursue such a project privately rather than publicly.
If you want to learn more about Idrese, head to its website. Otherwise, consider checking out some of the related guides below:
- All Shoe Reviews
- Best Spanish Shoe Brands
- Best Custom Shoe Brands
- More Shoe Brand Overviews
- Most Comfortable Dress Shoes For Men
- Bespoke Unit Shoe Homepage
"Idrese offers high-quality yet affordable Goodyear welt as well as a competitively priced opportunity to wear custom shoes."