Where have all the cobblers gone?
January 21, 2010 11:36 AM   Subscribe

Have you ever had anyone custom make you a pair of boots?

I have skinny ankles and calfs and a very particular idea about how I want my boots to look and fit. I have a pair of boots that have the fit I want, but they are starting to look their age both in condition and style. I've been searching for literally years for a replacement pair and I've finally decided I just need to have what I want made. I know this will be expensive and I'm ok with that but if I'm going to spend the money I want the result to be awesome. I'm in Northern California - but don't limit your responses geographically. If you have a bespoke boot maker - dress boots, not cowboy or riding, then I'd love to hear about them wherever they are in the world.
posted by Wolfie to Clothing, Beauty, & Fashion (6 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

They made me a great pair of motorcycle boots -- excellent quality and durability, and not too expensive given how long they last.
posted by Pantengliopoli at 11:47 AM on January 21, 2010

You might check out Duo Boots. I've never bought from them so I can't vouch for the products, but you can custom order your boots according to your foot and calf size.
posted by Queen of Spreadable Fats at 7:30 PM on January 21, 2010

Contact Julian Boots. Awesome boots. Just awesome. Receiving the box and unpacking them is awesome. Smelling them is awesome. Wearing them is awesome. They're even awesome as I eat 99-cent ramen. They've gone through hell and back and have held up awesomely, and look more awesome than I would've ever imagined. I suspect they will last forever and continue to develop their awesomeness for years to come.

The initial investment is not that awesome, but if you take the price and divide it by the predicted time of survival (infinity), you will see that it's an awesome investment.

If you get a pair, be sure to take good care of them: use their awesome paste they supply you with. And if you run out, just shoot a line to them, and they'll awesomely send you summore!
posted by herrdoktor at 7:32 PM on January 21, 2010 [1 favorite]

I tried Duo Boots a couple of seasons ago for the same reasons as you -- skinny calves, can't find anything to fit for love or money -- and I was very disappointed in their quality and customer service (plus you wind up having to pay for shipping both ways to/from UK if you return them).

The problem with all the custom boots places I found is that they mainly do work/motorcycle boots, rather than women's dress boots. I finally settled for getting a fairly expensive pair of boots that fit me in every way except in the calf, and which had a seam down the front and the back of the boot to take in; then I went to a cobbler and paid more to get the calves taken in further. The whole investment wound up being over $400; they don't fit exactly perfectly (not the way the pair of d $200 Sudinis from 9 years ago fit!) but they're closer than literally anything else I've tried on in the past 5 or 6 years (and I would guess I tried at least 50-60 pairs), with the sole exception of a $1000 pair of Jimmy Choos that I couldn't bring myself to buy.

Anyway, the cobbler I used in L.A. is Willy's Shoe Service, and they also do some custom work. You could give them a call (Raul is probably the guy you want to chat with) and see what a pair of boots might run you. Good luck. It's absolutely maddening that a perfectly common way to size women's boots seems to have disappeared in the past 5 years.
posted by scody at 8:16 PM on January 21, 2010

I probably should have mentioned that I'm a woman - Wolfie probably doesn't convey that very well.
The Julian Boots look beautiful - but don't seem to have any women's styles.

Thanks scody for the review of Duo Boots. I had found them in my search over the last few days and something just didn't feel right about them. Willy's looks promising - I'll let you know what I find out.
posted by Wolfie at 10:53 AM on January 22, 2010

My mister got a pair of western boots made by Maida's Blackjack Boot company - expensive but lovely!
posted by matildaben at 12:25 PM on January 22, 2010

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