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"I can't concentrate in flats!" - Victoria Beckham.

"A shoe has so much more to offer than just to walk." - Christian Louboutin.

"A woman carries her clothes. But the shoe carries the woman." - Christian Louboutin.

"A shoe is not only a design, but it's a part of your body language, the way you walk. The way you're going to move is quite dictated by your shoes." - Christian Louboutin.

"I really had no great love for shoes. I was a working First Lady; I was always in canvas shoes. I did nurture the shoes industry of the Philippines, and so every time there was a shoe fair, I would receive a pair of shoes as a token of gratitude." - Imelda Marcos.

A SHOE is an item of footwear intended to protect and comfort the human foot while doing various activities. Shoes are also used as an item of decoration. The design of shoes has varied enormously through time and from culture to culture, with appearance originally being tied to function. Additionally fashion has often dictated many design elements, such as whether shoes have very high heels or flat ones. Contemporary footwear varies widely in style, complexity and cost.

The earliest known shoes are sandals dating from about 8000 to 7000 BCE and found in Oregon, USA in 1938. The world's oldest leather shoe, made from a single piece of cowhide laced with a leather cord along seams at the front and back, was found in a cave in Armenia in 2008 and is believed to date to 3,500 BCE. Ötzi the Iceman's shoes, dating to 3,300 BCE, featured brown bearskin bases, deerskin side panels, and a bark-string net, which pulled tight around the foot. However, tanned leather, the material most commonly used for making shoes, does not normally last for thousands of years, so shoes were probably in use long before this. Physical anthropologist Erik Trinkaus believes he has found evidence that the use of shoes began in the period between about 40,000 and 26,000 years ago, based on the fact that the thickness of the bones of the toes (other than the big toe) decreased during this period, on the premise that wearing shoes resulted in less bone growth, resulting in shorter, thinner toes. The earliest designs were simple affairs, often mere "foot bags" of leather to protect the feet from rocks, debris, and cold. Since shoes use more leather than sandals, their use was more common in cold climates. By the Middle Ages, turn-shoes had been developed with toggled flaps or drawstrings to tighten the leather around the foot for a better fit. As Europe gained in wealth and power, fancy shoes became status symbols. Toes became long and pointed, often to ridiculous proportions. Artisans created unique footwear for rich patrons, and new styles developed. Eventually the modern shoe, with a sewn-on sole, was devised. Since the 17th century, most leather shoes have used a sewn-on sole. This remains the standard for finer-quality dress shoes today. Until around 1800, shoes were made without differentiation for the left or right foot. Such shoes are now referred to as "straights". Only gradually did the modern foot-specific shoe become standard.

Since the mid-20th Century, advances in rubber, plastics, synthetic cloth, and industrial adhesives have allowed manufacturers to create shoes that stray considerably from traditional crafting techniques. Leather, which had been the primary material in earlier styles, has remained standard in expensive dress shoes, but athletic shoes often have little or no real leather. Soles, which were once laboriously hand-stitched on, are now more often machine stitched or simply glued on.

A BOOT is a type of footwear. Most boots mainly cover the foot and the ankle and extend up the leg, sometimes as far as the knee or even the hip. Most boots have a heel that is clearly distinguishable from the rest of the sole, even if the two are made of one piece. Traditionally made of leather or rubber, modern boots are made from a variety of materials. Boots are worn both for their functionality – protecting the foot and leg from water, snow, mud or hazards or providing additional ankle support for strenuous activities – and for reasons of style and fashion.

A SLIPPER or houseshoe is a semi-closed type of indoor/outdoor shoe, consisting of a sole held to the wearer's foot by a strap running over (or between) the toes or instep. Slippers are soft and lightweight compared to other types of footwear. They are mostly made of soft or comforting materials that allow a certain level of comfort for the wearer. This can range from faux fur to leather.

Blüchers (American), Derbys (British): shoe (also called Gibson) is a style of men's shoe characterized by quarters with shoelace eyelets that are sewn on top of the vamp. This construction method, also known as "open lacing", contrasts with that of the Oxfords.

Dress boots: are short leather boots worn by men. Built like dress shoes, but with uppers covering the ankle, versions of the boots are used as an alternative to these in bad weather or rough outdoor situation, and as a traditional option for day time formalwear.

Monk straps: a buckle and strap instead of lacing.

Oxfords (also referred as "Balmorals". In France, Oxfords are better known under the name of "Richelieu".): a style of laced shoe characterized by shoelace eyelet tabs that are stitched underneath the vamp, a construction method that is also sometimes referred to as "closed lacing".

Patent leather shoes: patent leather is a type of japanned leather that has been given a high gloss, shiny finish. It is used to make shoes, bags, and belts.

Plimsoll shoe: a type of athletic shoe with a canvas upper and rubber sole, developed as beachwear in the 1830s by the Liverpool Rubber Company.

Slip-ons / Penny loafers: there are no lacings or fastenings. The popular loafers are part of this category, as well as less popular styles, such as elastic-sided shoes.

Ballet flats, known in the UK as ballerinas, ballet pumps or skimmers, are shoes with a very low heel and a relatively short vamp, exposing much of the instep. They are popular for warm-weather wear, and may be seen as more comfortable than shoes with a higher heel.

Court shoes, known in the US as pumps, are typically high-heeled, slip-on dress shoes.

High-heeled footwear is footwear that raises the heels, typically 2 inches (5 cm) or more above the toes, commonly worn by women for formal occasions or social outings. Variants include kitten heels (typically 1½-2 inches high) and stilletto heels (with a very narrow heel post) and wedge heels (with a wedge-shaped sole rather than a heel post).

Mules are shoes or slippers with no fitting around the heel (i.e. they are backless).

Slingbacks are shoes which are secured by a strap behind the heel, rather than over the top of the foot.

Sneaker boot or sneaker pump: a shoe that looks like an athletic shoe, but is equipped with a heel, making it a kind of novelty dress shoe.

Crocs: shoe manufacturer founded in 2002 to produce and distribute a foam clog design acquired from a Quebec company called Foam Creations. The shoe was originally developed as a boating shoe. The first model produced by Crocs, the Beach, was unveiled at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show in Florida.

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  • ALAN FLUSSER CUSTOM SHOP - "Permanent Style." New York City.
  • ALDEN - "Custom bootmakers since 1884."
  • Alfred Sargent Shoemakers - "Synonymous with quality English shoemaking since 1899." Over four generations we have acquired an enviable reputation for the most excellent made to order service, enabling our clients to compliment their wardrobe with the vast range of styles we offer for every occasion.
  • ALLEN EDMONDS CUSTOM - "Custom-made men's dress shoes & casual shoes since 1922."
  • Andrew McDonald Shoemaker - since 1990. Men's & women's custom made shoes.
  • ANELLO & DAVIDE - bespoke shoes since 1922. "The premier brand in dance, theatrical and bridal footwear, with a reputation for specialised, handcrafted shoes."
  • AUBERCY - "Bottier à Paris - 1935." For me, Xavier Aubercy, Bespoke is the Haute Couture of the magnificent bootmaker craft, certainly the most exceptional of what we can realize with leather, thread and wood. It is because we are still a family-owned independent company that our shoes are probably the most beautiful in the world.
  • BONTONI -"Fine Hand Made Italian Shoes." Made-to-measure: Special shoes for a special few.
  • buchanan bespoke footwear - "Distinctive Shoes Made in Scotland." Our Bespoke Brogues are created by measuring your feet and tailoring the shoes to your individual proportions. You choose your leather and tartan or tweed and allow us to measure your dimensions up to 3 times to receive a completely unique pair of Scottish shoes, tailored for a perfect fit.
  • CAROLINE GROVES - bespoke shoemaker. "The joy of owning a bespoke pair of shoes is not only in the wearing but also in the commissioning process of something that uniquely reflects your personality and desires."
  • Christian Louboutin - "Made to Measure." The most exclusive shoes in the world come in only one size: yours! If you can dream it, we can make it. In Christian Louboutin’s Paris Atelier, elite artisans work with you to bring your footwear wishes to life through our Made to Measure service. One of the best-kept secrets in the fashion world, the Made to Measure process is unique and utterly luxurious. In our salon, one-of-a-kind shoes and boots are meticulously created from your personal measurements, and crafted with care by a number of expert hands. The possibilities are endless!
  • CROCKETT & JONES - since 1879. Men's handmade shoes.
  • Duke + Dexter - Handmade in England. Men's bespoke loafers. "Our craftsmen require 10-14 days production time for bespoke pairs. All D&D's are handmade in England. After order confirmation, our bespoke team will send you a mocked up image of your exclusive design. Should you require a completely tailor-made design, please email for assistance."
  • E. VOGEL Bespoke - "Custom Boots & Shoes Since 1879."
  • EDWARD GREEN - since 1890. "The finest shoes in England for the discerning few." Custom Made Men's Shoes: Create a shoe that is unique to you. Drawing on our century of shoe-making experience, select from our range of patterns, lasts, leathers and details for a shoe which not only fits your foot but also your style.
  • FOSTER & SON - establisted 1840. 83 Jermyn Street, London, U.K. London's oldest established shoemakers and one of the oldest-established custom shoe and bootmakers in the World. Known as "The shoemakers' shoemaker". Bespoke custom-made men's shoes & boots.
  • GAZIANO & GIRLING - "Handcrafted in England." The best of the best. In terms of craft, fit and freedom of expression, the bespoke service at Gaziano & Girling creates simply some of the finest shoes available. Bespoke and bench made men's shoes.
  • G.J. CLEVERLEY & Co. - since 1958. "Bespoke is the ultimate luxury combining the three elements that make Bespoke what it is. The perfect fit, total control over design, and a completely handmade product."
  • Heel the World - "All our shoes are handmade and bespoke. We offer a range of materials in limited quantities. Our craftsmen meticulously work for 2 to 4 weeks to make the perfect shoes for you."
  • Jan Kielman - since 1883. "For over a hundred and thirty unbroken years we have been making customized shoes for customers who appreciate classic design, comfort and the inimitable charm of handcrafted products."
  • JOHN LOBB BOOTMAKER - founded in 1849. "Makers of the finest hand made to measure shoes and boots." Benefits of John Lobb Shoes. Men's & women's.
  • KLEMANN SHOES - since 1986. "They are the 'Rolls Royce' among shoes: bespoke shoes. Every hand-sewn, bespoke shoe is individually created to perfectly suit the customer´s foot and guarantees unique quality."
  • Leffot - "Made to Order." We take great pride in specializing in made-to-order shoes. If you’re looking for shoes in a particular color or leather, or if you wear a special size or width, having a pair made to order is just for you.
  • Ludwig Reiter - since 1885. "A custom-made shoe is an individually designed Ludwig Reiter shoe. Within a few weeks, with a minimal surcharge, a combination of shoe patterns, last, upper leather and sole is produced."
  • Maison Corthay - "Maison Corthay bottier Luxe à Paris." A bespoke shoe fits like a glove. It provides a unique physical sensation because it is married to the anatomy of the foot. It grows to fit the pressure points and respects the differences in muscle density. This gives the exact proportion that defines personal silhouette and elegance...
  • MARINI - "The Marini bespoke experience starts with the measurement of the Client›s feet, performed by our specialized artisans. The Client is then assisted by specialists to decide the following features of their one of a kind shoe: the model, the leather, the sole, and every other detail in order to make the shoe a unique piece." High class handmade Italian men's shoes since 1899.
  • Oliver Moore Bootmakers - since 1878. "Oliver Moore is responsible for some of the most beautiful handmade shoes in New York. The founder of the firm, Oliver Moore, learned the craft of shoemaking in England, and took his knowledge and love of tradition with him to the USA in 1878. Since that time, many famous personalities have been Oliver Moore customers, including Whitney Houston, Charlie Sheen, Walter Cronkite, Carol Burnett, Paul Anka, Glenn Close, Kathleen Turner, Katherine Hepburn, Steve Wynn." Men's & women's.
  • PAKERSON - "Handmade in Italy since 1923." Bespoke is excellence, for its singular skill in fashioning footwear entirely by hand-like a tailor-made suit-to the precise form of each individual Client’s foot. The Pakerson boutiques offer tailor-made footwear services.
  • PAOLO SCAFORA NAPOLI - customized bespoke men's shoes.
  • Scarosso - "Volumental and SCAROSSO use 3D technology to revolutionize bespoke shoes."
  • SILVANO LATTANZI - "The noble gesture of bowing in order to take the measurements of the foot is a lesson in life." Custom men's & women's shoes.
  • Stamp Shoes - "Bespoke Shoemaker." The finest bespoke shoes hand-crafted in Northampton by Nicholas Cooper. Bespoke made-to-measure shoes.
  • Stefano Bemer - Florence, Italy. Bespoke and Made to Order shoemaker. "We offer a choice of over 40 basic styles, each of which comes in three, four or more versions. French and english calf, english suede, shark-skin, hippopotamus, elefant and camel-hyde, ostrich, crocodile, kudù, sting-ray, toad-skin, perch and tripe, are amongst the skins we use to meet even the most demanding client's desires."
  • THE LONDON SHOEMAKER - since 2006. "Shoes of distinction crafted by hand." Gentlemen’s & Ladies Bespoke Shoes.
  • TIM LITTLE SHOES - "Fully handmade bespoke shoes." Our bespoke service is fully handmade bespoke, which is very rare but also the best possible form of shoemaking in the world. We measure your feet, make your unique wooden lasts and then create the shoes to your exact specification. The process is a fine craft and takes around 10 to 12 weeks.
  • Unico - "The new and exclusive made-to-measure service that offers the ANGELO GALASSO customer a new dimension in menswear - Italian traditional craftsmanship, combined with Angelo Galasso’s fastidious eye for detail. The footwear connoisseur will be delighted to learn that in the Unico room anything can come to life: monk straps, loafers or derbys shoes are available in understated plain leathers as well as bold pythons and crocodile skins."
  • Top 300+ High-End Shoe & Boot Makers: A-Z
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