Check out our fascinating video guide to the world of customised shoes designed and made right in the heart of London at Cleverley Shoes, Old Bond Street, London. Hand sewn footwear, stingray uppers and more..
George Cleverly became an apprentice when he was fifteeen years of age and he kept making shoes for the rest of his life. He was working fulltime when he was eighty years old and he made his last pair of shoes when he was ninety three, when he died. And so they say these shoes are worth the price, which is more than two thousand pounds a pair, because they’re custom-made to your foot so you get the perfect fit.
Yeah, first we have a sit down with the customer, a proper chat, see what it his expectation. Because for bespoke, because of fit, a bit more stylish than he can get in ready to wear, because he has the money to afford bespoke shoes now and he just wants to be part of that world.
How longwould a pair of Cleverly shoes last for?
1950s, something like that so we have shoes going back here that are much older than that.
Some of them are still wearing them. Basically for bespoke shoes, its made to fit perfectly, the more you wear them, the better it gets. So the older the shoes get, the less the customer wants to get rid of them.
So they appreciate the old ones more than the new ones.
So here you can see this customer wanted shoes and he required to have them fitted first. So we make the whole upper partand we make the welt, that holds the uppers together so thats the main part of the shoes. On this here, we stitch the sole. So that allows for having the upper and the sole separated to then repair the shoes because even if everything is stitched together.
So thats obviously what you will see from the outside.
It look so big.
Yeah, you need all this, will dissapear through the ….then the yellow part here, this is the lining.
Yeah, then sometimes, you have a layer betwene the two.
The shoe basically will be put on this and that is what will give the shape to the shoe.
So we start from, say this customer is a size five, then we start with a size five pair of lasts and then we either add here for the arch. Apparently this gentleman has a lower arch so we stuck a piece of leather or then we just craft the wood to make the shape we want.
We take the measurements in four parts for the fit which is basically the joints, then the lowe instep, then the higher instep, then from the higher instep to here. Andif its for a paif of shoes, its enough to build.
So, the prices could start at, how much, I read two thousand somewhere.
No, its two thousand eight hundred is the starting price. And it goes up to, if you go for alligator or stingray.
Five thousand, something like that
So this is stingray.
See, these are the eyeballs
These are the eyeballs! That’s incredible
That’s the back. I never would have thought of that as a material you could use to make shoes.
Yes, its actually used a lot for lots of products but
You just don’t know.
Yeah, wow. That’s amazing.
You can see all this part is very hard.
That’s really hard.
The different finish.
So to stitch it after that, you really have to go between all the stains here.
Like beads almost.
Although, I feel like they’re more in fashion now. I see people wearing these kind of shoes.
A pair of mens shoes will look beautiful when its small. For the moment, its very hard to make women understand that they have to wait so long for a pair of shoes.
Because usually its, I like these shoes. I want them now. I don’t care if they fit or not. I’ll make them fit so whatever the price, I like them. So its different understanding. So this leather was found in the boat that sank in 1786. Around the nineties, that’s when divers found it. In the bell of a ship by searching the bottom of the sea. They took the bell out, found an empty box and made some researches thinking there might be some gold. And they found out there was actually some leather. They took the leather out, dried it and that’s how it came up.
So this leather dates from 17.., the boat dates from 17…
Yeah the boat sank in 1796, so its maybe 1784, it was a boat that lived in St Petersburg.
So they have Winston Churchill’s last. So the wooden part when they made his shoe, they still have it in storage.
Thanks very much.