We’ve all been there: you’ve nailed the outfit, it fits you perfectly, complements your body shape and there should be a spring in your step as if you were Ryan Gosling on a good hair day.
Should, but there’s not. Prince Charming might have struggled to find the owner of Cinderella’s glass slipper, but we’d bet he had a harder time finding his own shoes for the ball. Hunting down the perfect footwear can be an arduous task, which often ends with resorting to the same old option everyone else wears. But if you’re tired of the usual treads, there’s now a bespoke solution that doesn’t require attending cobblers school or trekking the high street for days on end.
Enter Undandy. Positioning itself as the Savile Row of the shoe world, the Lisbon-based company works with third-generation artisans in Portugal’s manufacturing capital, São João da Madeira, to produce bespoke footwear using the finest quality French leather and suede.
The term ‘bespoke’ might have lost some of its clout thanks to confusing marketing spiel from distinctly non-bespoke retailers, but a truly custom offering comes with unique benefits. One of those being that you’re not restricted to the often-unhelpful sizing found in shops. Undandy allows you to choose a size right down to the very inch, which means that even those with awkwardly wide or difficult ‘and a half’ feet can get the made-to-measure treatment usually reserved for Hollywood A-listers, minimising break-in time and ensuring a perfect fit.
Yet the primary perk of custom cobbling is being able to create the exact shoe you’ve always wanted, without compromise. Via a slick 3D design interface on Undandy’s easy-to-use website, the process begins by selecting one of seven classic design blueprints. From a timeless Oxford to a weekend Chukka boot, you’re able to pick the shape you like best and tailor it to your personal requirements, choosing everything from the type of leather used to stitching thread colour and even optional personalised stamp engravings.
Recommended: Patina Effect Leather
One of the more classic options available from Undandy is a patina effect: a delicate art that involves slowly colouring the leather using dye.
The technique was initially mastered in France and Italy and developed to give new shoes an old-school edge or help bring tired shoes back to life. Now a proud staple of the Portuguese shoe industry, a patina is achieved entirely by hand; an intricate process that relies heavily on the skill set of the craftsman and provides footwear with a luxurious, deeply hued gloss-and-fade finish that is truly one-of-a-kind.
While it might be painstakingly time-consuming, an authentic patina provides a unique result that can only be realised through the dedication of a true artisan. Layer by layer, the dye is built up to create the desired finish, whether that be a striking all-over ombré effect or subtle detailing on the toe cap.
The shoes are aired between each layer, from the base coat to the gradually darker tones that increase depth of colour, until it reaches the desired shade. To achieve the signature sheen of the patina, the shoes are then buffed and shined with beeswax polish, increasing the richness of the chosen hue.
If this sounds like it’s going to take forever or cost the earth, think again. The whole process takes around two to three weeks, and your custom shoes will arrive packaged in a protective box complete with the brand’s signature engraving. With prices starting at £180, Undandy just might be the perfect fit.
Create your own bespoke patina leather shoes now at undandy.com.