How to Shop For Custom Leather Shoes

How to Shop For Custom Leather Shoes

Shopping for custom leather shoes can be an intimidating process. But, with the right knowledge and guidance, you can find your ideal pair of shoes that will last for years. In this article, we'll discuss the key factors to consider when shopping for custom leather shoes, as well as tips on how to get the best fit and look. Read on to learn how to shop for custom leather shoes.

Ace Marks

As versatile as the day is long, custom leather shoes are a stone-cold classic. Throughout the decades, handmade leather garments have played a pivotal role in subculture aesthetics right across the spectrum. From mod to rocker, punk to psychobilly, and beyond, custom leather shoes have offered comfort and iconic status in equal measures.

Presently, when you're talking about leather shoes, going handmade is the best choice. High-quality custom leather shoes offer a wealth of benefits⁠—and they look incredible⁠. It doesn't make a difference where you remain on the subcultural spectrum, what music you're into or what aesthetic you're trying to achieve, you will discover a couple of high-quality leather shoes that suit your style and character down to a tee.

If you understand the benefits of custom leather shoes and know where to look, connecting with your dream footwear is inevitable.

To help you on your path to custom leather glory, here’s a quick-fire guide for your reading pleasure.

Let’s get started.

Image result for paul weller in leather loafers

The Unstitchd

Leather Shoes and Subculture

Leather shoes and subcultures go hand in hand. Footwear, at its core, has been somewhat of a social marker for many yearswith leather shoes, sneakers, and boots at the heart of many musical movements the world over.

Bowling shoes and loafers belonged to the mods while robust, clunky leather boots and DM-style shoes shaped the look of their rivals, the rockers.

Punks, post-punk, and mod revivalists were all defined by their DM boots, chunky brogues, and bold sneaker-like leather shoes, navigating the twists and turns of everyday working-class life while donning the footwear that carried them to their destination with comfort and style.

In contemporary culture, handmade leather shoes are just as iconic as they were in the 1950s, with a wealth of retro as well as modern custom creations that continue to turn heads on streets across the globe.

Inspired? Good, let’s look at the benefits of buying (and of course, wearing) custom leather shoes.

The Benefits of Custom Leather Shoes


Plainly whatever your elective leanings, custom leather shoes made by talented hands are the place it's at⁠—and you need them in your life. What's more, if you need somewhat more persuading, here are the significant advantages of purchasing handmade leather footwear.

Fit like a glove

As custom leather shoes are completely handcrafted, they are typically formed to the contours of the foot-line than factory-made footwear. In this way, when you purchase high-quality leather shoes or boots, breaking them in is rarely an issue, which means you're probably not going to get blisters and very likely to take to them straight away.

Endure the toughest of conditions

As handcrafted custom footwear is made from carefully-sourced, high-grade materials, not only will they stand out from the crowd in terms of looks, but they are more solid than batch-made shoes or boots. Essentially, handcrafted leather footwear is hard to tear, break or flaw than factory-produced shoes, implying that regardless of what you put them through, they're probably going to turn out sparkling.

Go the extra mile

If you invest in handmade leather shoes, you will appreciate the most extreme rate of profitability as they do go the extra mile, literally. The treatment and quality leather combined with master craftsmanship mean that your footwear (with a little TLC) will last you for quite a long time. No repeat trips to the shoe shop⁠—buy a couple of pairs of handmade leather beauties and you’ll be set for a long, long time.

Offer unrivaled choice

The painstaking passion and creative energy that goes into custom leather shoes make this kind of handcrafted footwear genuinely unique. The personalized nature of custom footwear implies that you're probably not going to discover two sets that are the equivalent and with a keen eye, you will connect with a creation that suits your special elective soul down to the absolute last fiber. Variety and originality⁠—two of the key qualities of any worthy subculture.

Choosing the Right Material: A Rundown of Custom Leathers

leather pattern

Blokes Bags

Now that you’re well-versed in the ways of handmade footwear, let’s glance at the most common leathers that custom shoe-makers use to craft their creations.

Top grain

Smooth and shimmering by nature, top grain leather is treated for a classic semi-blemished finish. Buffed for sparkle and sanded or smoothed out to remove glaring blemishes, top grain leather is consistent in color with little, subtle markings that add character. A great choice for that slick mod aesthetic.


For the discerning punk or grunge-aficionado, this style of leather is taken from the belly of the animal and thus comes wrinkled. Its textured, blemished nature offers a rough & ready look that works impeccably for robust shoes or boots.


The term genuine leather refers to shoe material that is blended in with little other materials or treatment chemicals. Genuine leather is generally exceptionally smooth, consistent, and blemish-free, again making a phenomenal choice for mods just as goths and vintage apparel enthusiasts.


A patchwork quilt, if you will, bonded leather is a collection of various leather scraps, carefully glued together to create an entire composition. Bonded leather is usually manufactured in the same way as vinyl and when it comes to custom shoes, it comes in a host of shapes or sizes. Perhaps a little less durable than other leather types, but boasting plenty of variety.

“Cherish forever what makes you unique, ‘cuz you’re really a yawn if it goes.” —Bette Midler

Custom leather shoes will allow you to showcase your unique personality to the world while enjoying maximum comfort. Handmade footwear is one of the best investments you’ll ever make and by keeping your eyes peeled and using this guide for inspiration, success will be yours for the taking.

Explore online marketplaces including eBay, visit your local vintage or retro stores, get active on handmade shoe forums, and you’ll open yourself up to a world of leather possibilities. Oh, and check out our full range of handmade custom leather shoes⁠—you’re sure to find something fits like a glove.

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About the Author

Daniel Hughes