As a society we are becoming increasingly aware of the long term implications of our actions. We know we should eat more healthily, do more exercise, produce less carbon dioxide, learn more skills, educate our children better. These all require investments in our future quality of life at the expense of short term convenience.
Looking after our feet should rank up there with all these other noble causes; we only get one pair, and if we ruin them through neglect we have a whole lifetime to regret our actions.
If we used our feet as they have evolved to serve us; walking everywhere on sand, woodland or grassland bare foot, we would have built up their strength and resilience to avoid most of their common ailments. We have, however, become accustomed to wearing shoes and living sedentary lifestyles, and walking on harsh, unnatural terrains. The shoes we wear often compound the problem, largely poor quality and uncomfortable, doing untold damage to our feet. Women suffer significantly more in this department than men, due largely to high heels, yet despite this, it is men who turn more readily to bespoke shoemaking than women for relief.
Every hand-made, bespoke designed pair of shoes is a precious creation by craftsmen. It protects and supports the foot, even with high heels, and expresses the wearer’s taste and often her position in society. The option to go bespoke is not open to everyone, but for some women it ranks among their highest priorities. In addition to the desire to look after their feet, women go bespoke to satisfy their thirst for differentiation and individuality. We like to have an influence on everything – the shape, the design, the materials, the thickness of the sole, the height of the heel, the embellishments, so that the shoes will go with a particular outfit or be appropriate for a particular occasion.
Many of my clients reach middle age before they recognize the value of bespoke shoemaking to impact the quality of their life. As a bespoke shoemaker, nothing fills me with joy more than getting the opportunity to make shoes for young women, for whom my focus can be on preventing damage, and helping them with self-expression through their shoes. It is notable, however, that it is often their boyfriends or husbands who take the first step in this direction, with many of our younger clients receiving a bespoke shoe gift voucher as a present. For some lucky women, their men show levels of insight for which they are rarely given credit.