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Bespoke shoes at Cleverley: Part 8

2 August 2010

 
Finally, I get to put my GJ Cleverley shoes on. This is the first fitting, following the shoe being lasted and a welt sewn on by Andy last month.

The shoe has no sole, but the welt is sewn around the front and braced at the back, with a temporary heel nailed on so I can wander around the shop and see how they feel. The plastic shank has also been glued on – Cleverley generally prefers plastic to wood for shanks because of their realiability. Some wooden shanks can squeak.

The joints on the shoe look to be in the right place – the points at which my big and little toes connect to the foot lining up perfectly with the widest points of the shoe. The quarters are tight to the ankle, but far enough away from the ankle bone to avoid any unpleasant rubbing. (Interestingly, George Glasgow comments that Japanese men tend to have their ankle bones proportionately lower than western counterparts, so the quarters have to be scooped rather lower.)

The waist of the shoe is very sculpted and high, tight to the arch of the foot. And the ankle is held snugly but comfortably. The toe box is pretty long, but that is standard for the Anthony Cleverley style that I picked; the classic George Cleverley would be shorter and squarer.

The only area that could be improved, which George (Glasgow) points out, is the vamp. There is rather a lot of excess room between the joints. That can be felt when I walk around the shop, as the excess leather bites rather into the joints of my toes and pinches the edge of the little toe. And while the facings do not seem that loose, they are laced pretty tightly – you want a good half inch of gap between the tops, or lips. If there was that amount of space here, the shoe would be pretty loose.

So George removes the shoe and retakes his measurements on the joints, just behind the joints, on the arch and the heel. These will be compared to initial measurements and the last adjusted accordingly, with a little probably being scooped out of the cone. The welt will be then taken off (at least the back part of the shoe) and it will be relasted.

A second fitting in three or four weeks (Andy being away for a couple of those, and it always being a bad idea to change makers halfway through a shoe.)

You can’t rush these things.