Bespoke & Handmade Dress Shoes For Men – Q&A 8 | Kirby Allison

Hi, I’m Kirby Allison, and we love helping
the well-dressed take care of their wardrobes. Thank you for all of your
comments and questions that you guys have posted on our YouTube channel. After
reading them all and answering as many as possible I’ve selected five of my
favorites that we’re gonna feature in today’s Q&A video. Since we so often talk
about bespoke shoes in today’s Q&A video I’m going to be answering some of the
questions from our channel specifically about bespoke shoes. Each of these
individuals I’ve selected will receive a complimentary pair of our sovereign
grade shoelaces as a token of our appreciation for their participation in
our channel. Remember if you have any questions or comments while you’re
watching one of our videos please ask them in the comment section below. I try
to get back to as many of those questions as possible. Our first question
today is from Adrian Fox, and it was on our why use a pig bristle brush video.
His question reads I’m currently having a bespoke pair of
shoes made out of crocodile leather. Will this type of brush be effective for use
with severe Repton on crocodile leather? So great question Adrian. So
fundamentally his question is is what is the best type of bristle to use when
buffing an exotic leather like crocodile or alligator. So there’s really two
different options. One is pig bristle. Now Pig bristle is generally stiffer than
horsehair of the equivalent length, or you could use a horsehair brush. Now we
use a hundred percent tail hair in all of our horsehair brushes with zero main.
The main hair is the more brittle of the bristle or hair in this case and is more
likely to break which is what causes all of the shedding. Our 100% pig bristle
brush that we sell here at the hanger project has the longest possible cut
length, but you can see it’s still substantially shorter than the cut
length on our horsehair brush. So my recommendation would be to use our
deluxe horsehair brush because not only is the horse hair softer but
because you’re able to get a longer cut length it is an even softer bristle than
what you would otherwise have on the equivalent horsehair brush.
This is important because you know a lot of the exotic skins are slightly more
delicate and so my recommendation would be to use a softer bristle and just
spend more time buffing the shoe than what you would use with the pig bristle
brush.Congratulations on the new crocodile shoes Adrienne as you can see
and our how to care for exotic shoe care video I actually inherited a beautiful
pair of crocodile shoes from my grandfather. So if you take care of those
shoes by using the proper polish and polish them regularly they really can
last a lifetime. Thank you for your question, and I look forward to sending
you a pair of our Sovereign Grade shoelaces to use on your new shoes. Our
second question today is from a Brent Morris, and it’s on our video where I
could show you what my top 10 favorite shoe profiles are on Instagram. His
question reads probably a stupid question but approximately how much do
bespoke shoes cost. I’m new to this world and just curious, really enjoying your
videos. Thanks Brent for your question. It’s actually a great question because a
lot of the bespoke makers don’t publish their prices online. So let’s talk about
this today. So if we’re looking at just the UK bespoke makers there’s really
three of what you’d call the Heritage High Street bespoke shoemaking firms.
John Lobb of course the most famous, Georges cleverly, and Foster & Sons, and
then a newer kind of upstart but certainly very well regarded in the UK
is Gaziano & Girling. So John Lobb is without question the most expensive. This
is John Lobb boot maker which is on St. James. The original John Lobb not to be
confused with John La Paris. Now their prices excluding VAT for a bespoke pair
of cat-scans shoes is four thousand one hundred seventy pounds. Now that does not
include shoe trees, and you’d be crazy to buy a pair of bespoke shoes without
getting the fully lasted shoe trees. So shoe trees are an extra 800 to 850
pounds. So for a pair of John Lobb st. James shoes made of calf skin you’re
really looking at five thousand pounds. So five thousand pounds and US dollars
at today’s conversion about a dollar forty or a dollar
thirty-five is almost $7,000. It’s an incredible amount of money to
pay for shoes. Now if you’re buying those shoes and you live in the EU or the
United Kingdom and you have to pay VAT add 20% of that price and you’re looking
at almost $10,000 for a pair of bespoke shoes. So since John Lobb St. James is
certainly the oldest and probably the most preeminent bespoke shoe maker in
all of the United Kingdom they certainly have no trouble charging those prices. I
mean they do hold the Royal warrants for both the Duke of Edinburgh and the
Prince of Wales. So of course wearing a pair of John Lobb
St. James shoes is a lot like pulling up in a Rolls-Royce Phantom. You know
actually the last time I was at John Lobb you know a customer pulled up in his beautiful new Bentley and parked it right out front. So those are the type of
customers you see a John Lobb St. James. Now behind John Lobb is Gaziano & Girling. Daniel Wiegand who does all the bespoke work for Gaziano & Girling is highly regarded as one of the best shoe makers right now. He placed
second in the world championship of shoemaking. You can see some interviews
with him on this channel and is very talented. The price of a pair of bespoke
Gaziano & Girling shoes is 4,200 pounds. That’s about $5,500,
but with Gaziano & Girling the second pair is less expensive it’s 3,500 pounds
which is about $4,700. So Gaziano & Girling is the only of these bespoke
shoe makers to offer a second lower price for all your subsequent pairs of
shoes. Of course this is taking into account that there’s a significant
amount of additional work involved in your first pair of shoes because of the
creation of your last. Now what’s unique about Gaziano & Girling is that most of
the shoes are done entirely by Daniel Wiegand. So again you just have one
person touching your shoes for the most part. Now behind Gaziano & Girling
you then have Foster and Sons. Now Foster and Sons is located on German
Street. We also have some great grid videos with Foster and Sons on this
channel. Certainly the most discreet of all of the British bespoke shoemaking
firms, very dedicated small workshop doing their Bespoke
work. Their shoes come in at 4,200 pounds. Of course this is not including VAT if
you live in the United Kingdom. Let’s see so 4,200 pounds that’s including shoe
trees comes in right around $5,500 plus some change. I’m currently having a pair
of bespoke shoes made at Foster & Sons, and I have several pair of their
slippers that are hand monogrammed in London and lastly and certainly not
least is George cleverly. So George Cleverly comes in at two thousand nine
hundred fifty pounds which includes the shoe trees and that’s right about four
thousand dollars at today’s exchange rate. It’s a fantastic value and without
question makes George cleverly the most accessible of all the bespoke shoe
makers in England. Their work is absolutely fantastic and as you can tell
from this channel I’ve got a great relationship with the Glasgow’s and
absolutely love my Bespoke Cleverlys. You can certainly spend less money on a
pair of shoes, but the bespoke experience and what you get at the end of that
process is just something really special and unique. Having a pair of shoes made
by hand just for you with someone that you have a relationship you know really
is priceless. So all of my bespoke shoes that I own I love them whenever I wear
them. They’re special, I feel great, I look good, they’re incredibly comfortable, and
they fit perfectly, and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Thanks Brent for your
question. We look forward to sending you a pair of our Sovereign Grade shoelaces.
Our third question today is from a Jerry Mouchian, and it’s on our Gaziano & Girling Deco review video. His question reads you know thank you for
broadcasting these amazing shoes from Gaziano & Girling most definitely
excellent shoes to covet. So as you had mentioned the shoes are not colored
and/or died during the tanning process but rather at the end of making them
truly wonderful however it leads me to the most important question. Since Gaziano & Girling are taking the time in the care of creating a bespoke pair of these
marvelously dyed and colored shoes should they still be polished to a
mirror finish? I find that to be a bit sacrilegious. I mean it’s like having a
chef prepare you the world’s best dish, but
then you add salt and ketchup. Yikes! Thank you again for your videos.
Waiting to see more. Cheers Jerry! Jerry great question. So you know the short
answer is yes. Although Gaziano & Girling is starting with kind of a crust
leather and then hand dyeing and developing the patina for each shoe. It’s
important to understand that they’re doing this with alcohol-based permanent
leather dyes. So there’s nothing that you can do during the shoeshine process
really going to affect or alter that original finish in any way. You’d have to
use something like a stripper in order to affect the finish. Secondly all shoes
look better polished even the best Bespoke shoes. So I would say that
absolutely polish your shoes, develop a beautiful mirror shine. So if you have
any more questions about how to properly shine a pair of bespoke shoes now take a
look at our first polish series where I walk you through shining for the first
time at each of my bespoke pair of shoes and Jerry thank you for your question. I
really appreciate that and I look forward to sending you a pair of our
sovereign grade shoelaces. Our fourth question today is from a Peter Payne.
It’s on our George Cleverly bespoke workshop visit video, and he says it’s
mind-blowing to think that only one or two pairs of shoes can be cut from an
entire hide. It’s clearly a testament to the uncompromising quality that a
bespoke shoemaker like Cleverley is famous for. Now you’re absolutely right. I
mean it’s incredible all the work that goes into a bespoke pair of shoes and
you know that George Glasgow Sr. and Jr. both really close friends of mine.
You know I’ve appreciated so much them inviting me into their workshop, actually
seeing the craft seeing the work being done has further enhanced and enriched
my appreciation for all that goes into bespoke shoe that you know an entire
hide a huge hide is only able to yield one maximum two pairs of shoes. One of my
favorite things to do is to share my appreciation of these workshops to all
of you through these videos. I mean really through these videos I hope you
feel like you’re there with me visiting cleverly inside the workshop and
actually having the opportunity to see first hand everything that goes into
creating one of these absolutely marvelous bespoke shoes.
Thank you Peter. I’m so delighted you enjoyed our video on the George cleverly
workshop visit. We have many more great videos coming from George Cleverly and
other bespoke shoemakers. So make sure you subscribe to our Channel and you
stay tuned in. In the meantime I look forward to sending you a pair of our
Sovereign Grade shoelaces just a small token of my appreciation for your
participation in this channel. Our last question today is from an Adam Atherly and
it’s actually on our unboxing video of my Russian Reindeer Split Toe Derbies
which I’m actually wearing today and his question reads a quick question for you
Mr. Allison as you mentioned as with all bespoke shoes they were will they will
require a certain level of break-in. Do you mean that bespoke shoes usually take
longer to break in than ready-to-wear perhaps due to the closer fit to your
foot. I would have assumed that the break-in time was more a function of how
supple the leather is rather than fit. Is it your experience that Bespoke takes
longer than ready-to-wear with other factors remaining equal? Great video and
lovely shoes.. All the best. Thanks Adam! You know I think the point that I was
trying to make is that although bespoke shoes are made by hand and made
to fit perfectly that they too still require a break-in period. So whenever
you receive a lovely pair of new bespoke shoes you can’t assume that you’re gonna
walk out and that they aren’t going to require a little bit of breaking in to
fully reach the level of comfort that you would expect from a pair of bespoke
shoes. Every pair that I’ve ever received requires a little bit of break-in. Now
that said a bespoke pair of shoes requires less time to break in than a
pair of ready to wear shoes all things else equal. So the reason a pair of
ready-to-wear shoes would require a little bit more time to break in is
because of course you know the leathers are going to be a more stiff, and then
second the Goodyear welting you know with the cork filling on the inside just
creates a stiffer shoe. So it just requires more time to break in
in than an equivalent pair of Bespoke shoes. An ill-fitting pair of shoes is
not going to require more time to break in than a pair that fits well. Now it
might be more uncomfortable during the break-in period, but that is not a
function of the break-in period itself. Thank You Adam for your question.
I appreciate your participation on our YouTube channel, and I look forward to
sending you a pair of our Sovereign Grade shoelaces. If you haven’t watched
our unboxing of my most recent pair of bespoke shoes, the George Cleverly Russian
Reindeer Split Toe Derbies they are unquestionably one of my most unique and
special pair of shoes. The Russian Reindeer has an incredible really unique
story behind it so make sure you take a look at that video. The bespoke shoe
making process really is something that traditionally was behind velvet curtains and theres just not a lot of people that are very familiar with bespoke
shoes, how much they cost, how they’re made, what that process looks like so if
you have any questions that I didn’t answer in this video about bespoke
shoes about the bespoke shoe making process feel free to ask them in the
comment section below. I look forward to getting back to all those questions
personally. In today’s video I’m wearing a bespoke
Chris Despos Brown Fresco Suit. You’ll see it has patch pockets and a tapped
trouser band. I have a white bespoke Charvet Shirt .I’m wearing one of our
Sovereign Grade Ancient Madder Ties, one of my favorite ties actually. I have a
pair of our Horn Hanger Project Collar Stays. Im wearing my Chopard Perpetual
Calendar Watch, and then I actually have a pocket square that was a gift to me
from Gary Tok that is one of the photographs from the Master Shoemakers
Book. I’m wearing one of my absolutely favorite socks these are the Palatino
Giotto Small Dot Melange Cotton Dress Socks. I have these socks in every color.
I always travel with them they’re one of my most favorite most elegant pair of
socks, and then last but certainly not least I have my George Cleverly Russian
Reindeer Split Toed Derby Shoes. Bespoke my most recent pair of bespoke shoes, incredibly special, super comfortable and I can’t
tell you how much I love wearing these. Once again I’d like to take a moment to
thank everyone for their comments and questions. It’s your engagement on our
YouTube channel that make these Q&A videos possible. I
really enjoy the opportunity to share these experiences with you all through
these videos and having the opportunity to interact back and forth with people watching these videos through the comments makes it all that much more
special for me. I read all of your questions and comments personally and really do enjoy getting back to as many of them as I
possibly can. If you enjoyed this video give us a
thumbs up and please subscribe to our channel and turn on your notifications by clicking the bell on the upper right hand corner so that you can learn
whenever we release new videos…and of course please visit
where we have the largest and most comprehensive collection of luxury garment care and shoe care accessories in the world, as well as many other
incredible products for the well-dressed. And while you’re there subscribe to our
newsletter to receive notifications of new product launches promotions, as well
as a weekly digest of all the videos we publish here on our YouTube channel. I’m
Kirby Allison, and thanks for joining me!


  • Awesome Q&A Kirby. Thanks for all of the great answers.

  • Definitely a versatile collection. Kirby what shoe do you find yourself wearing most often? Why do you wear it most it often?

  • would you ever consider commissioning a pair of shoes from John Lobb?

  • Hi Kirby, thank you so much for featuring my question! how's best for me to get in contact with you to organise the shipment of the shoes laces?

  • I got another question about the bespoke shoes price. What is the price of a bespoke Russian Reindeer shoes from George Cleverley?

  • did compile quite a comprehensive list of bespoke shoes pricing:
    Hope you don't mind I post other's link here.

  • Thank you for sharing

  • A man needs 5 brushes:
    1 horse or pig hair brush for clothes
    1 pig hair brush for the shoe sole and dirt
    1 horse hair brush for dust on shoes
    1 goat hair brush for polishing
    1 suede brush

  • What glasses are you wearing?

  • Hi Kirby. As always, thank you for both your time and effort in creating such original and informative content. I especially enjoy your shoe care videos and was wondering if you have any hints, tips or advice for taking care of the "insides" of shoes?

  • *2:10 equivalent pig bristle brush not horse hair brush

  • Hi Kirby.. Great video as usual. How do different types of wood affect performance of a shoe Tree?

  • You should screencap the questions only. By revealing the answers as well, you give viewers reason to skip around the video, which affects your watch time.

  • Hoo… those prices. I sorely tempted by bespoke shoes, but just can't afford. Until the day comes I will just have to envious gaze into the windows of Lobb, Foster and Cleverley.

  • I've seen in a couple videos that you have horn collar stays. Is the a better option than metal or plastic ones that you can buy ( rather than the cheep plastic ones that come with ready to wear shirts.) Or is that something that you personally prefer? Thank you Kirby

  • It is amazing to think that only two pairs of shoes are made from an entire cowhide at Cleverley. Even more amazing is that, my bespoke shoemaker which made my crocodile wholecuts, told me that they require two matching crocodile skins to make a single pair of wholecuts. I would wonder how much of the excess skin is waste and how much can be used for other shoe parts such as the tongue or even other leather goods. It would also be interesting to see how many pairs of most ready to wear shoes could be made from an average cowhide.

  • Great topic! Can you recommend any bespoke shoemakers in the USA?

  • My God I can't look at spread collars.

  • Hello Kirby. Thank you so much for your videos. I recently joined your lovely chanel and enjoying every single video. As you once mentioned "its never too many shoes". I haven't had the honor and oportunity to experience bespoke. I live in Hungary where salaries are bit lower than western world. There are some shoe makers over here in hungary who do bespoke. Do you have any opinion about those hungarian shoe makers. There shoes cost around 400-600 dollars, which I can afford, but not more than that. I appreciate your knowledge and thank you again. Chears, Ziad.

  • I have informal light brown shoe in doff color, i use saphir shoe cream and become a bit different colour , how to maintain doff colour shoes

  • Hi Kirby. I have a little question as well. I own several nice pairs of western boots made of calfskin and I just recently purchased my first Saphir Renovator and tested it on them and it worked perfectly, I'm very impressed by Saphir and I'm looking forward to buying more from them through your website. I'm not sure how much you know about western boots and their care but maybe it's all the same as dress shoes, but I was wondering how often do you think I should use the Renovator on my boots in order to keep them well conditioned without ruining them from overuse of the Renovator? Thank you and keep up the awesome content!

  • Hi Kirby, you mentioned that basically the only way you could ruin the hand-finish on your bespoke shoes would be with a stripper. Honestly, I'd be more worried about her stealing them!

  • Kirby, thank you for all the great content. When it's time to replace shoe soles what are the pros and cons of replacing full soles versus half soles?

  • Hey Kirby,
    I received my Allen Edmonds for Fathers Day, and then received the Hanger Project shoe shine kit today. I watched your video on how to shine new AE shoes, and followed your example perfectly . . . total win! The caps are bright and shiny, and the rest of the shoe is soft, shiny and fully hydrated/nourished. Thanks so much for sourcing these great products and sharing how to best use them 🙂

  • Just curious? Have you ever purchased a pair of used shoes on ebay? When I say used I mean like new worn once or twice. Vintage Florsheim from the 50's, 60's and 70's can't be beat. Hanover, Stetson and Nettleton are my other favorites. Great USA craftsmanship from the past. So far I have 50 pair. My Bespoke 1960's Florsheim Alligators are among my favorites. All fit me perfectly. Thanks Kirby

  • Hello Kirby. Thank you for choosing one of my questions. Your videos are well made and extremely educational – especially for those looking to improve and be the very best there is when it comes to their wardrobe. I'm sure that you'll notice that I have made many a purchase with you… and will continue doing so. I look forward to receiving a pair of your sovereign laces. Cheers

  • Hi Kirby.Your video on Gazino and Girling Deco range inspired me to own one of those.I recently order a Made To Order shoes at their Salvie Row store.I ordered the Dempsey in Black calf skin.My question is that should i get a mirror shine polish get done at their store or should i mirror shine the shoes myself.Love your videos i have seen most of your videos more than 4 5 times.Love you alot please keep posting the good things about mens wear and i would love to see a video from you on Ciffoneli Suits,100 Hands Shirts,Marol Shirts and Mens eyewears.Thaks a lot.

  • Hi Mr A. Kirby, I am a college student and absolutely admire the “Gentleman” way of dressing. I know your channel focuses on the higher end of the associated crafts but can you suggest or make a video on some affordable dress shoe options for those who are in a budget.($300~). Awesome video as always. Thanks.

  • Hi Kirby,
    I really appreciate all you share, Thank You.
    I have a pair of Allen Edmonds deer skin leather shoes and some exotic skin cowboy boots. What products should I use on them?

  • Hello Kirby, I am really enjoying watching your videos! I would love a bespoke pair of shoes but my budget cannot stretch to them, I was wondering what your opinion is of the current Grenson shoes? They are responsibly priced look great and can be resoled easily at the factory.

  • Great videos, but after debating whether to buy a new pair of bespoke shoes I bought a new car instead!

  • Hi Kirby. I wear orthotic inserts and it seems to help not only my feet but more importantly my knees. This is great, but it has severely restricted the quality of shoes I can buy, since they need a removable insert. I am getting by with several pairs of Allen Edmonds made for this purpose, but am not happy with the limited selection, quality, and styling in my size. What are my options? Would bespoke shoes accomplish the same thing? I'm OK with dropping the money on a lineup of George Cleverly's if it would do the job.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *