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Handmade Shoes: The True Value of Comfort and Quality

Etsy.com handmade and vintage goods

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I recently watched my cobbler, David, help a customer in his shop. She had brought in three pairs of shoes to be fixed and was quite surprised when David gently set two of them aside on the counter, explaining that their poor materials and workmanship made them not worth repairing. “They weren’t really made well to begin with,” David said softly, sliding his work-blackened thumb into the split between the sole and synthetic upper of one worn pair. “Well, I guess they weren’t comfortable anyway,” the customer sighed.

But aren’t comfort and quality the basic qualities one looks for in footwear? These days, maybe not so much. The average American woman owns 17 pairs of shoes, but only wears three pairs regularly. Why do the other 14 pairs gather dust in the closet? Usually because they don’t fit. In a recent study, 46% of women said they have suffered from foot pain, 59% have gotten blisters from their shoes, 35% have had an evening ruined by uncomfortable shoes, and 24% have actually fallen because of their shoes’ design.

Handmade custom shoes – with expert construction, precise measurements, and quality materials – could solve all these problems. But handmade shoes seem so expensive, the ultimate luxury. Who can afford them? Even for me, a handmade fanatic to the core, they seem out of reach.

Then I did some math. The average price for a pair of shoes in the study was $50, but David tells me those $50 shoes are probably not worth buying. Let’s imagine I paid a little more, say, even $90 for shoes that could be repaired and last a little longer. Well, $90 x 17 pairs is $1530, about enough for three pairs of handmade shoes – the three pairs that the study says are all we really wear anyway.

If over time, as the budget allows, I made the shift from quantity to quality footwear, what should I look for in a good shoe? Some of Etsy’s shoe and boot makers helped me understand what is important. (And I should note that they all made a distinction between “handmade” – which can be very high quality – and “custom made” – the highest form of the craft – which refers to bespoke shoes made on a custom last.)

Everyone agreed fit was crucial. “Like a good house, your body needs a good supporting foundation,” said custom boot maker Kyle Rosfeld. “If your footwear makes you stand crooked, the rest of your body will soon be crooked as well. I strive for the fit to be as though they have been worn for six months. When the wearer gets home at night and he or she forgets to take them off, then the fit is correct,” said Kyle.

Ren, at Fairysteps, agrees. “It should be like wearing favorite slippers…all day!”

“If the client is someone who cannot fit into standard sizes, the value is immeasurable. No one should be in extreme pain from walking or standing, yet this is often what people accept,” said Daphne Board, who is working to become a pedorthist.

The makers were also unanimous about the importance of shoes being repairable. “My first criterion for a well crafted shoe or boot is how easily it is repaired”, said Kyle, who also reconditions vintage boots and saddles. “A well-made shoe should be repairable,” echoed Daphne. “If the shoe is not made so that it can be reconditioned, it is essentially a disposable shoe.”

Handmade shoes represent a time investment for the maker as well. “The making of a pair consists of two factors: The inspiration factor and the making factor,” said Tina Nortin. “Inspiration is unpredictable. It may take 10 minutes or 10 days. But after the designing and consultation process is finished, depending on the design, the making can take days.” Part of that process includes time for the shoes to “sit” on the last and take their shape.

Everyone said well-made shoes, properly cared for, should last years, maybe even decades. Buying high quality is a cost saver in the long run. The makers suggest frequent polishing, with resoling and re-heeling when necessary. “Leather likes to be loved,” said Ren. They also suggest not wearing the same shoes every day so that shoes can dry out between wearings.

It is challenging to build a life with fewer, better made things. But now I can see there are makers here to help…every step of the way.


Karen Brown is an award-winning designer and creative director of the Center for Ecoliteracy. Her work has been included in the Smithsonian Institution and Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum, and featured in The New York Times, Architectural Digest, House Beautiful, and on Today on NBC. She believes that the handmade movement is a fundamental force for transforming society and the economy.

6 Featured Comments

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  • ThreeBarDGifts

    Monica from ThreeBarDGifts says: Featured

    My husband has worn custom made western boots for years. The initial expense sounds high but when you figure in how long they last and the fact that they can be rebuilt the savings has been unreal.

    2 years ago

  • VeloNoir

    Christine Rimorin from VeloNoir says: Featured

    I depend on my feet to take me places and as a runner, to keep me fit. Having well-made and well-maintained shoes is one way of caring for my feet. I totally agree with the fact that “A well-made shoe should be repairable." My shoes have lasted a long time, thanks to my cobbler. I have them resoled and re-heeled as needed and I can really tell the difference when my shoes are well-maintained.

    2 years ago

  • PruAtelier

    Jeanne B from PruAtelier says: Featured

    I SO totally agree with your article and some great shoes too! I WISH that I could find a good fit - style, comfort, maker and price - so I may have made a pair of shoes and boots of my design. I happen to love the way my old Victorian boots (used to) fit in spite of the elongated pointed toe....they cradled/supported the foot AND supported the ankle with their tight lacing. As I have on/off plantar fasciitis what works for me now is cushy. That being said, I also wish for the old-fashioned shoemakers/cobblers that dotted every town across America not too long ago, who after repairing the sad-looking shoes brought in for his magic, gave them back looking as though they gained another life! (I must admit too I loved the aroma of the shoe polish in those places!)

    2 years ago

  • fairysteps

    Ren from Fairysteps says: Featured

    So chuffed to be featured here among so many talented Shoemakers! Blushing with pride on the one hand to have our Fairysteps shoes included but also grateful that Karen has explained the need for sustainable, comfortable footwear so perfectly! Lets all wave a big flag for handmade and embrace the power of our hands and hearts, and let our feet benefit! Ren x

    2 years ago

  • SerafinStoneware

    Lisa-Marie Serafin from LMSerafinPottery says: Featured

    One things I never skimp on are shoes. I had a pair of custom made sandals when I was still living at home with my parents. Now I long for quality shoes made in North America and made with natural fibers and hides. I never thought of looking HERE to find them!! Now that I know I will be saving my pottery money in order to buy a pair...or two!!

    2 years ago

  • PurplePeony

    Brenda Braun from Decadence2Jewelry says: Featured

    I have always tried to buy the best shoes I could afford & to take care of them, especially since one of my husbands best friends was a cobbler! I'd much rather have a handful of well made, long lasting shoes & boots in my closet than 100 pairs of junky shoes. I hope to add a pair from Fairysteps to my closet in 2013!

    2 years ago

  • 711laurakay

    Laura Kay from diarysketches says:

    oh wow these shoes are awesome!

    2 years ago

  • MistyAurora

    MistyAurora from MistyAurora says:

    Fantastic shoes, I simply adore NorTin!

    2 years ago

  • Ainurcrochet

    Ainur KOKSAL from Ainurcrochet says:

    OMG! I'd love to .Shoes are great!!

    2 years ago

  • MrsGingerandWasabi

    Marta DQ from tribomo says:

    I agree, handmade shoes are amazing! The only issue for me is that I need to try on the shoes before buying them, that's why I don't buy shoes online :(

    2 years ago

  • guext65

    JW Lin from JWPersonalShop says:

    beautiful!

    2 years ago

  • Lin222

    Lin222 from Lin222 says:

    WOW...I just LOVE all these beautiful shoes!...TXS for this article..........Lin

    2 years ago

  • TheSewingGin

    TheSewingGin from TheSewingGin says:

    Now I want handmade shoes. Great article.

    2 years ago

  • MrsPetersonPottery

    Brianna Peterson from MrsPetersonPottery says:

    Great shoes! Like I need more, but handmade is the way to go... perhaps just one more pair, right?

    2 years ago

  • AlisaDesign

    AlisaDesign from AlisaDesign says:

    Love handmade shoes, I adore MARCUE! Fantastic handmade products! ...

    2 years ago

  • rarebeasts

    Brian McNamara from rarebeasts says:

    Another great handmade item. I want shoes now :)

    2 years ago

  • KMalinka

    Natalia from KMalinkaVintage says:

    Awesome shoes!

    2 years ago

  • ThreeBarDGifts

    Monica from ThreeBarDGifts says: Featured

    My husband has worn custom made western boots for years. The initial expense sounds high but when you figure in how long they last and the fact that they can be rebuilt the savings has been unreal.

    2 years ago

  • SIKIU

    Sikiu Perez from Sikiu says:

    I love every-single-one !!!! I admire shoe makers I think it's so personal to make handmade shoes for somebody.

    2 years ago

  • LivingVintage

    LivingVintage from LivingVintage says:

    Hand made shoes and socks, nothing like 'em!

    2 years ago

  • OuterKnits

    OuterKnits from OuterKnits says:

    The downside of a disposable society! Great article.

    2 years ago

  • VeloNoir

    Christine Rimorin from VeloNoir says: Featured

    I depend on my feet to take me places and as a runner, to keep me fit. Having well-made and well-maintained shoes is one way of caring for my feet. I totally agree with the fact that “A well-made shoe should be repairable." My shoes have lasted a long time, thanks to my cobbler. I have them resoled and re-heeled as needed and I can really tell the difference when my shoes are well-maintained.

    2 years ago

  • Bananamoo

    Bananamoo from Bananamoo says:

    awesome! THanks for sharing!!

    2 years ago

  • woolybaby

    Josie Marsh from WoolyBaby says:

    I should invest in some handmade shoes... but instead I do wear slippers all day!

    2 years ago

  • pollymakes

    Polly Tucknott from PollyTucknott says:

    17 pairs of shoes! I have about 35, and I probably wear about half of them regularly and most of the rest occasionally, I am a shoe-aholic!

    2 years ago

  • pollymakes

    Polly Tucknott from PollyTucknott says:

    But I do get them repaired, I hasten to add! I had the first ever pair of boots I bought with my first pay cheque after finishing uni resoled about 7 times, they lasted a decade and I finally said goodbye to them last year - even TopShop ordinaries will last if they are regularly polished and resoled.

    2 years ago

  • MissingHeirloom

    Elizabeth Pickett from MissingHeirloom says:

    I have always loved shoes - there is no question that my favorites are the most expensive and best fitting.

    2 years ago

  • ZorroPlateado

    Carole from ZorroPlateado says:

    I love the ankle boots!!

    2 years ago

  • JennysTreasuresForU

    Jennifer from JennysTreasuresForU says:

    Been wanting to get some handmade shoes for a while...hopefully I can sometime.I try to get pretty good quality shoes,Born and Naturalizer are some of my faves,but will sometimes buy some not as comfortable dress shoes since I won't wear those very often. (I have one pair of dress shoes so far,and they are flat,haha.Need to get some good heels someday). Someone told me that I should never spend more than $35-$40 on a pair of shoes.But I rarely buy shoes,and she bought them more often...so by buying less pairs at a higher price,I would be spending about the same.And also,it would be less strain on my feet,knees,and back,which will save me pain and money in the future!I usually prefer to go barefoot than wear a highly uncomfortable pair of shoes.

    2 years ago

  • Parachute425

    Parachute425 from Parachute425 says:

    Gosh I love shoes! Fascinating article.

    2 years ago

  • peshka

    Peshka from Peshka says:

    So beautiful !!

    2 years ago

  • rachelkennsion

    Rachel Kennsion from makememori says:

    All of these shoes are so amazing... wow!

    2 years ago

  • PruAtelier

    Jeanne B from PruAtelier says: Featured

    I SO totally agree with your article and some great shoes too! I WISH that I could find a good fit - style, comfort, maker and price - so I may have made a pair of shoes and boots of my design. I happen to love the way my old Victorian boots (used to) fit in spite of the elongated pointed toe....they cradled/supported the foot AND supported the ankle with their tight lacing. As I have on/off plantar fasciitis what works for me now is cushy. That being said, I also wish for the old-fashioned shoemakers/cobblers that dotted every town across America not too long ago, who after repairing the sad-looking shoes brought in for his magic, gave them back looking as though they gained another life! (I must admit too I loved the aroma of the shoe polish in those places!)

    2 years ago

  • AzimuthVintage

    Traci McKnight from AzimuthVintage says:

    Yes, LOVE your feet. As a dancer I know all too well about foot pain and injuries. We so often brush foot pain aside and, as you said, even accept it. And we do this even though it so heavily affects the rest of the body, especially the hips and back. Our feet are our foundations, our roots, our closest connection to the earth. Care for your roots and stay supported :) Great article!!!!

    2 years ago

  • TheDrifterLeather

    TheDrifterLeather from TheDrifterLeather says:

    Congrats to my fellow shoemakers! Indeed, custom made shoes are really hard to craft and it takes a real craftsman to know what to do and be versatile. That's why you can't find many shoemakers today that still make custom fit shoes. It's a great art and I really hope it never seizes to exist. Lovely article, Karen!

    2 years ago

  • AntoinettesWhims

    Antoinette from AntoinettesWhims says:

    A good pair of shoes are worth their weight in gold.

    2 years ago

  • blainedesign

    Karen Brown from blainedesign says:

    Thanks, everyone, for your comments. As I interviewed the shoemakers, I never felt such dedication to fundamentals in my life. Shoes have become purely a thing of "fashion," but shoemaking is such an important craft with so many implications for health and well-being. Thanks to everyone who contributed. I learned so much from you.

    2 years ago

  • zerkahloostrah

    daphne board from daphneboard says:

    I am incredibly humbled to have been asked to contribute my thoughts on handmade shoes and shoemaking, and to be in such good company of fellow shoemakers. The collective work here is stunning. This is exactly the kind of article I was hoping for when Karen first messaged me to ask if I would participate. Here's to "fewer, better things" indeed!

    2 years ago

  • PattiTrostle

    Patti Trostle from PattiTrostle says:

    Very interesting! It is very hard for me to find shoes that fit well. Sore feet make a person hurt all over. The extra cost of custom shoes would be well worth the money!

    2 years ago

  • xZOUix

    Zoui from XZOUIX says:

    i was always admiring those skilled craftsmen who can create shoes. (and i always enjoy discovering the original designs of cowboy boots ::::-)

    2 years ago

  • KayaNow

    Christine from KayaNow says:

    Very lovely shoes. My shoes definitely influence my experience and my mood! I think babies learning to walk are sensitive to their shoes also. Shoes are very important!

    2 years ago

  • wizeowlhandprints

    Amy Grogan from wizeowlhandprints says:

    That was an excellent post on why quality matters even in this day and age of mass production; for our health & to keep the craft alive.

    2 years ago

  • BeaconMills

    Patrick from BeaconMills says:

    Very interesting, some good information in there. I've always had high regard for quality footwear. Our quality of life stems naturally from our foundation to the earth.

    2 years ago

  • slathered

    Sharon Moores from slathered says:

    What a neat pin! I'm very intrigued -- what I've been seeing at DSW the past few years have been boring me to tears. Unique AND comfortable would be a nice switch.

    2 years ago

  • slathered
  • slathered

    Sharon Moores from slathered says:

    *post*, not pin

    2 years ago

  • PinkCheetahVintage

    PinkCheetahVintage from PinkCheetahVintage says:

    Those buckskin fringed boots are amazing

    2 years ago

  • sandrostumpo

    Sandro Stumpo from GalleryDiModa says:

    My girlfriend would love these. I think its fine to have one expensive pair of very well made shoes. They will last for many years and be comfortable. No need to abuse your poor feet to squeeze into poorly made and fitting shoes that match your outfit-ouch! These shoes are very unique and creative. You can't find shoes like this in stores. Very nice work.

    2 years ago

  • jenstilley

    Jen Stilley from ArtfullyYoursByJen says:

    This is a wonderful write up. I, regretfully, have bought inexpensive shoes for a long time. I now suffer from painful foot issues. Good shoes, that fit well, is so important. I wish I could have known that earlier.

    2 years ago

  • RECCIEatETSY

    Clarice Booth from RECCIEatETSY says:

    Quantity seldom denotes quality. I would agree with the statistics (as I look at the many pairs of shoes in my own closet) and not surprisingly two out of the few pair I wear most often are custom crafted. Love the Velvet Mirror ! Blessings.

    2 years ago

  • Kamiann

    Kami from Kamiann says:

    I've been watching Ken Burns' documentary The Dust Bowl these past couple evenings. It makes me want to change everything about my life... including my shoes.

    2 years ago

  • RobiniArt

    Robin Arthur from RobiniArt says:

    I am 42 years old and have NEVER had a pair of comfy shoes because (A) My feet are super narrow, and (B) my left foot is a half size longer than my right. I have always dreamed of having custom made shoes. I'd wear them every single day. Every day. Every day. Can I stress how much I would love to have a pair? I never spend much money on things for myself though. Maybe it's time to splurge!

    2 years ago

  • RobiniArt

    Robin Arthur from RobiniArt says:

    Dying for the Fairysteps shoes!

    2 years ago

  • PyxusPassionProject

    Michelle Maynard from SimonesRoseBoutique says:

    AAah - I was just recently thinking I needed to bring my boots to the cobbler to resole them but now I realize they may not be very good quality to start with. I'm curious to see what they tell me - they weren't inexpensive but I can definitely tell the quality isn't the best. Thanks for the eye opening post!

    2 years ago

  • BambuEarth

    Amber from BambuEarth says:

    Great article. My feet are wide. I usually buy a size too large or suffer through with too-narrow shoes. I usually stick with sandals because they aren't constricted. My husband is always telling me "It can be 30 degrees outside and you'll go out in sandals." I always tell him it's because they're comfortable, but I think the reason, more accurately, is that all my other shoes are uncomfortable. I will definitely look into buying handmade from now on.

    2 years ago

  • Iammie

    iammie from iammie says:

    I love handmade shoes!

    2 years ago

  • silversamba

    Alana from silversamba says:

    Love this post!

    2 years ago

  • WingedWorld

    Vickie Moore from WingedWorld says:

    I have a pair of $90 black leather Italian shoes with great arch support that have lasted for more than 15 years and still look practically new. On the other hand, I have two pairs of mass produced black shoes that cost about $25 each and that I hardly ever wear because they're so uncomfortable and difficult to walk in. Well made shoes are definitely worth the investment!

    2 years ago

  • NorTin

    NorTin Handmade Shoes by shoelazzo from NorTin says:

    Wonderful post and with so many views and insights from fellow shoemakers! Thank you so much Karen for including us in this article! I

    2 years ago

  • prasadpingali

    Prasad Pingali says:

    Look cool. There's nothing like a custom made item. Looks like lot of people like it on social media too. Sentiment has soared 90+ positive. http://www.veooz.com/search?q=handmade+shoes

    2 years ago

  • tundrababe

    tundrababe says:

    Beautiful shoes! I absolutely love the idea of homemade or custom made shoes, but I have a question. Are there any faux-leather materials (besides felted wool, vinyl or canvas) out there that are of high enough quality that someone would make them? I have really odd shaped feet (kind of duck like, super wide in the front, narrow in the back, and I need a bit of a high heel because of a muscular disease) and I sit in a wheelchair, and I'm a vegan. Needless to say perhaps, but shoe shopping is a nightmare. I can only find shoes that are stylish that fit "good enough" at Payless. I have an old pair of leather boots I still wear and treat like gold, and a faux suede pair that fit almost as good. I just don't know if anyone who makes shoes even entertains the thought of using some sort of leather synthetic. Does anyone have an answer please? (I realize that one of the perks of sitting down all the time is that I can wear really high heels, but they swell and even when we sit, fit is important I've learned. When I used to walk and was desperate, I went to a store that custom made Italian shoes, but they didn't have a heel selection that would have worked for the way I walked.) Thanks for any feedback!

    2 years ago

  • mattyhandmadecrafts

    Matejka Max from NattyMatty says:

    Love it!!!!!!

    2 years ago

  • BijouxOdalisque

    Bijoux d'Odalisque from BijouxOdalisque says:

    YES!!!! A million times YES! Oh shoes I love thee. How many of you I have loved and hated, but a love nonetheless. Shoes define my day. I find myself dressing *around* the shoes I wear. They are the barometer of my feelings when I get out of bed in the morning. Comfort is a must, attractive, whimsical, and well-made are what take years to find. Once you stumble across this formula, you tend to become a shoemaker's stalker for life. I am so very proud to say I am in the right place. I have buying shoes from the same man in NY for three decades. He made my first pair of ballet shoes for me at the age of 3 (which I still have). Well done Karen!

    2 years ago

  • maryjose4

    mary jose says:

    Handmade is always beauty. I like very much the light green shoe

    2 years ago

  • fairysteps

    Ren from Fairysteps says: Featured

    So chuffed to be featured here among so many talented Shoemakers! Blushing with pride on the one hand to have our Fairysteps shoes included but also grateful that Karen has explained the need for sustainable, comfortable footwear so perfectly! Lets all wave a big flag for handmade and embrace the power of our hands and hearts, and let our feet benefit! Ren x

    2 years ago

  • melissatgardner

    Melissa Gardner says:

    I have two pairs of moccassins custom made for me. I sent in a mold of my foot and paid well over 800 dollars for a pair of boots and a pair of shoes. These are the best investment I have ever made. I love to put them on, truly I love to. The moc maker has recently passed and I am so grateful I acted upon this when I did. I know they will last a lifetime. Honestly.

    2 years ago

  • PetitPointFrance

    Sonia from PetitPointFrance says:

    These shoes are gorgeous !

    2 years ago

  • WISHsupplies

    WISHsupplies from WISHsupplies says:

    Nortin is my favourite!

    2 years ago

  • amoronia

    Demi from amoronia says:

    Great article, useful and very practical for all of us! Thank you Etsy and wonderful shoe makers!!!

    2 years ago

  • dinosaurdrygoods

    Jackie Dickinson from dinosaurdrygoods says:

    And don't forget Aurora Shoes...handmade and comfortable...and for me, local!

    2 years ago

  • ErikaPrice

    Erika from ErikaPrice says:

    Oh wow - the one thing I've always wanted is a pair of handmade shoes, custom made to fit my rather wide tootsies!

    2 years ago

  • jilldrapermakesstuff

    Jill Draper from jilldrapermakesstuff says:

    I have 2 pairs of Fairysteps that I've worn to shows and stood in for 8-12 hours/day and still been comfortable. They are so unique & special, I get tons of compliments on them. They have been well worth their price many times over. As I try to transition to 100% handmade wardrobe I was glad to find handmade shoes that fit my aesthetic & are super wearable.

    2 years ago

  • mazedasastoat

    mazedasastoat from mazedasastoat says:

    I've always worn hand made shoes, my "every day" ones generally get resoled 3 or 4 times & last at least 15 years... the ones that get more occasional wear will probably outlast me by a long time, although they may have to be resoled once or even twice! It really is a no-brainer, not just for the sake of my comfort & foot health, but also as far as value for money goes. I've actually worked out that over 30 years I've spent less on shoes than my better half, even though he does the typically male thing & only has one pair at a time!

    2 years ago

  • LittleWrenPottery

    Victoria Baker from LittleWrenPottery says:

    Love buying shoes! It's true that making an investment in decent clothing is a good idea they last so much longer than store bought clothing

    2 years ago

  • FranceGallery

    France Gallery from FranceGallery says:

    Really interesting shoes!

    2 years ago

  • jibbyandjuna

    genevieve williamson from jibbyandjuna says:

    I ordered custom made shoes while on my honey in England - they were the best shoes I ever had but had a hard time finding someone to repair then here in the US.

    2 years ago

  • teazel

    Linny from teazel says:

    Hmmmm...fairysteps, I love them........

    2 years ago

  • sparrowsalvage

    Sparrow from sparrowsalvage says:

    I have 3 pairs of shoes I wear regularly - a pair of 1960s ex-service army boots which have been my everyday for the last 20 years, a pair of handmade leather sandals from India and a pair of cheap-o rubber and suede 90s wedges that cost me $4 at the thrift, where I buy 99% of my shoes. Were I to invest in new (not thrifted) shoes I would head straight for the shoemaker! Not just because I want something that lasts and can be repaired, but because I love an excuse to go there- the smell, the tools, the quiet craftsman...my idea of heaven.

    2 years ago

  • lcarlsonjewelry

    Liesl Carlson from lcarlsonjewelry says:

    Fabulous!!! I love shoes. I think that it is amazing that people still are making shoes. Thankfully making is making a comeback.

    2 years ago

  • galepaula

    Ms Gale from sewntalesfashions says:

    Great article. Having really bad feet to fit, I appreciate the art of custom made . I live in tennis shoes because there are no shoes of nice quality to fit my wide feet. Hope this craft has a great return.

    2 years ago

  • ElainaLouiseStudios

    Lisa Steiner from ElainaLouiseStudios says:

    Fantastic article! I'm I big fan if cobblers, especially my neighborhood one who's name is Santa : )

    2 years ago

  • SerafinStoneware

    Lisa-Marie Serafin from LMSerafinPottery says: Featured

    One things I never skimp on are shoes. I had a pair of custom made sandals when I was still living at home with my parents. Now I long for quality shoes made in North America and made with natural fibers and hides. I never thought of looking HERE to find them!! Now that I know I will be saving my pottery money in order to buy a pair...or two!!

    2 years ago

  • fabiennedebastiani

    fabienne debastiani from BijouxStravaganza says:

    beautiful article ! I love shoes an especially this handmade shoes ! congrats!!!

    2 years ago

  • PrayerNotes

    Prayer Notes by Cynthia from PrayerNotes says:

    I am a shoe fanatic! Now, I'm thinking about custom-made shoes. Your handmade shoes are beautiful. Thank you, for this article. ~Cynthia

    2 years ago

  • lizaanne

    liza anne from KitschyBits says:

    I think that these days the skill and art of a good cobbler is completely over looked in favor of cheap and trendy shoes. If one purchases well made, classic styles, and has a dependable cobbler, a good pair of shoes can last (and look wonderful) for many many years.

    2 years ago

  • alethiah

    Alethia from FortnersFinds says:

    Great information!

    2 years ago

  • radusport

    Alina Ionescu from radusport says:

    growyng up in a comunist country(romania) the handmade shoes where not a choice, they where a way of life. I still remember the old shoe maker that took the right messurments, and the matching and fitting on the foot. but the fact was that each person was cravyng for the western, machine made shoes(the ones we saw in cataloques that where smugled around and worth there weight in gold, because they where forbiden and verry hard to obtain), the one without flaws, that seem to be untouched by men. Now, the trends goes again to having handmade, quality items, and thats good.

    2 years ago

  • valeriephoto

    Valerie from valeriestitchery says:

    It's a nice idea, but given how much I walk (20 miles last week, just to and from work, plus all the extra steps in a day), I really don't know that handmade shoes last me any longer than factory produced ones. I have some of both, and I'm always running to the cobbler.

    2 years ago

  • littlegoatsoaps

    Karly from LittleGoatSoaps says:

    They are beautiful!!! But... i am TERRIBLY hard on shoes, i cannot afford to spend that much on shoes, AND all the cute slip on ballet-type shoes i see on Etsy are FLAT. I can not wear those! I must have enough of a little heel to keep from hurting my back. Even 3/8"! :(

    2 years ago

  • MARCUEshoes

    Marina from MARCUEshoes says:

    So beautiful, LOVE IT! Thank you

    2 years ago

  • orangeskunkjewelry

    Jill from orangeskunkjewelry says:

    Great article and beautiful shoes...what more can you ask for? :)

    2 years ago

  • alangood

    alangood says:

    Wonderful story, Karen. thanks again for bringing the value of handcrafted items into focus.

    2 years ago

  • mbueb

    Monica Bueb from MonicaBags says:

    Good story, Karen. I hope Santa brings me handmade shoes for Christmas!

    2 years ago

  • Steampunkitis

    Susan Jane from Steampunkitis says:

    Theres nothing more important than a good pair of comfortable shoes. That's all I want for Christmas too ! Amen.

    2 years ago

  • GoldenSpiralDesigns

    Lola Ocian from GoldenSpiralDesigns says:

    It's such a tricky topic. I, as well, have a hard time stomaching the price of handmade shoes. I love the concept of shoes that will last a long time and I also love the idea of eco-friendly materials... but sometimes it's those non-eco-friendly materials that make shoes comfortable enough to wear on the daily. I've tried many a pair of hand-mades and maybe it's because I have super-high arches, but they just don't ever fit comfortably. Kudos to the folks who can design these works of art and even more Kudos to those who can make them comfortable!

    2 years ago

  • allstarorganics

    allstarorganics from allstarorganics says:

    I love what Kyle says about shoes providing the foundation for your whole body. This is so overlooked, and absolutely true.

    2 years ago

  • awkward

    awkward from awkward says:

    These are SO beautiful - I wish I could heart this post! Learning to make proper shoes on a last is one of my goals/dreams, though I would also rather like to be able to buy them custom-made by artisans like these, too.

    2 years ago

  • popelkaLida

    Ludmila Kotaskova from popelkaLida says:

    I could not believe anybody has "GOLD" hands ! SOOOO BEAUTIFUL shoes !

    2 years ago

  • mystoplooking

    jinny from daliart says:

    very nice and beautiful shoes

    2 years ago

  • Jewellgreens

    Mellissa Green says:

    Shoes are forever and a magnet

    2 years ago

  • studiorandom

    Dana Seilhan from studiorandom says:

    I have oddly-shaped feet: wide, with a high rise. Some of that has been from my overweight over the past 17-18 years, but I've always had a little bit of a rise and it's a contributor to my needing wide shoes in the first place. So buying commercial shoes is a nightmare, and I usually resign myself to sneakers and nothing else. Even if my feet were lower-rise, the wideness means I don't have "real women's feet" and keeps me out of dress shoes for the most part. At least the cutest ones. I would put more money into handmade shoes if the process were relatively painless. And I strongly prefer leather over "vegan leather." The latter requires petroleum input to make the plastic and, at the end of its useful life, even if it's left outside to break down, then it puts plastic into the food chain which messes up all manner of other life forms. I'm always happy when I run into a leather artisan on Etsy because so many seem caught up in the plastic madness now; it's really sad.

    2 years ago

  • PiacereMioPaperie

    PiacereMioPaperie from PiacereMioPaperie says:

    This was a great article. I always believed in a quality shoe. Thank you for reinforcing that!

    2 years ago

  • greenrose34

    natalie rose says:

    It is so true! My boyfriend just invested in a pair of New England Outerwear boots that are handmade. He swears they are the most comfortable shoes he's ever had. The quality of a handmade boot outweighs the quantity/cost because they will last so much longer! Love the saddle boots, so adorable!

    2 years ago

  • millerkent

    Kent Miller says:

    "My cobbler" --- now there's an expression one doesn't hear every day…. This article beautifully explains the probable reason why we don't, why it matters, and how we can do better. My feet are happier already!

    2 years ago

  • bojacobson

    Bo Jacobson says:

    Love the continuing theme of fewer, better things. Paying 2-3 times the cost of a mediocre pair of shoes (that might only last a year) seems reasonable if you get to wear unique, more durable, higher quality, better looking footwear.

    2 years ago

  • PurplePeony

    Brenda Braun from Decadence2Jewelry says: Featured

    I have always tried to buy the best shoes I could afford & to take care of them, especially since one of my husbands best friends was a cobbler! I'd much rather have a handful of well made, long lasting shoes & boots in my closet than 100 pairs of junky shoes. I hope to add a pair from Fairysteps to my closet in 2013!

    2 years ago

  • bootmaker

    Kyle Rosfeld from bootmaker says:

    I hope this encourages everyone to take a good look at footwear before purchasing. I know many people think hand made is too expensive, but when you consider the options, well made and well cared for is a combination that leads to a cost effective boot. Thank you Karen for asking my opinion. Kyle

    2 years ago

  • MLivista

    Stella Sargantani from MLivista says:

    Fantastic shoes and beautiful .

    2 years ago

  • shiriis

    Shiri Israeli from ShiriIsraeli says:

    Fantastic shoes. love a pair of original shoes for my self.

    2 years ago

  • LasMilagrosas

    Ari Castellanos from LasMilagrosas says:

    amazing article!

    2 years ago

  • HandCraftLeather

    Yareen Avni and Sara Burghardt from TreeHouseLeather says:

    we make hand made&custom shoes https://www.etsy.com/listing/128078244/leather-elf-moccasin-boots

    2 years ago

  • irenegarnit

    Irene Agripina from AgripinaShoes says:

    A very truly eye opening article.

    2 years ago

  • AuroraShoeCo

    David Binns from AuroraShoeCo says:

    Congrats to my fellow cobblers! Indeed, handmade shoes require the skills of a true craftsman. That's why you can't find many shoemakers today that still follow the time honored tradition. It's a great art and I know that their will always be a market for comfort and quality!

    1 year ago

  • IGolfItaly

    Matteo Marotta from igolfitaly says:

    Agreed! The most common reaction when talking about handmade shoes is that they cost too much. But after doing some math, most people realize and agree that in the long run they cost less and tend to be fashionable even with time, while 'commercial' shoes are the cheaper option that end up costing more

    217 days ago