So, at the recommendation of a reader, I recently tried Shoes of Prey. They are kind of like the eShakti of the shoe world. There you can custom design (from their selection) and then have them make shoes to your specifications. The cost runs something along the lines of $120-$300 per pair. That's relatively reasonable considering my shoe habit.
I began by ordering flats: these oxford wingtips, to be precise. They came in at about $120.
I found the process of ordering relatively simple. I designed mine with the cap and sides of patent (water resistant) but the upper section leather (for comfort and workability). They give you several pairs of laces so you don't have to use red (that's what I chose, but they sent black as well).
I had to send these back because they were too big around (the laces closed to an overlap). I took photos of the ill-fit and included it with the return. Returns are not free, but cost can be counted toward the next order.
What I liked:
- Custom fit
- Custom design
- Choice in fabric and pattern
- Interface with company felt fine. They understood my issues and redid the shoe accordingly
What I did not like:
- Soles ~ only option is a flat nude tread-less dancing style sole. I really don't like this for walking, too slick. I'm going to have to take them in and get them soled over with something more rubber. (For this reason alone I won't be ordering flats from them again.) I might as well get dance shoes instead.
- Pattern memory ~ they did not store in their system the measurement adjustments I needed for fit (the reason I had to sent the shoes back). This means, if I order from them again, I will likely have the same issue. And have to go through the return process.
- Heels ~ I don't love the style of heel options for their high heels. There is nothing super vintage.
Frankly, my narrow skinny little feet do fit many Italian-designed shoes. Since I only buy leather, most will break eventually. I just don't know if this site is something I need in my life. I will keep them in mind if there comes a time when I require a very specific color shoe (emerald green, for example, is often hard to find) and might try a pump, but until they get better soles for their flats I'm out. And it is usually flats I am struggling to find.
Retro Rack is also on facebook where I post additional images and fashion thoughts.
You can also visit the following shopping lists: Travel Dork, My Steampunk, My Wardrobe.