If you've ever tossed shoes out of the closet because none of them worked with your outfit, ever limped home in abject foot pain, or ever taken your favorite pair to the cobbler, only to have him tell you that they're "not really fixable," Shoes of Prey might be for you.
This new shoe-tailer allows you to design your own shoes with a wealth of options. Not only can you can get creative and make something unique and totally you, you can put together the exact type of shoe you will actually wear — and that could dramatically reduce how many pairs of shoes you need. If one or two pairs take the place of 10, you have that much less to think about when you're running out the door. You also have less to worry about when it comes to replacing them. If you love them, just buy the same shoe again. (I imagine making a low-heeled shoe that's both black and brown so it would go with whatever I'm wearing.)
How does it work? It's based on easy-to-use software that helps you build shoes, and you start with the style of shoe you want to create. Open-toe, brogue-toe and pointy-toe are one set of options, and the shoe backs are another. Flats, heels of varying widths and heights, and even a bootie style are available. A serious array of leathers and suedes create a real plethora of options for styling. The shoe builder doesn't have a men's shoe option but it does offer vegan options for women.
I tried designing a pair of shoes and while I could have gone on for quite some time, when I really set my mind to it, it took about 10 minutes from start-to-checkout. I was reassured by the fact that (amazingly) the company does take returns. You can also remake shoes you're not satisfied with, for up to a year.
As far as sizing goes, there are a wide variety of sizing options, which is great for those on the larger or smaller size, and some adjustment in width is also possible. But the best part for sizing? If you wear two different sizes (your left foot is bigger than your right, for example), you can order accordingly. For example, you can indicate that you want a size 37 for your right foot and a 37.5 for your left, which is something I have never seen before.
This custom footwear company was started in 2009 in Sydney, Australia, by Jodie Fox, a former lawyer who teamed up with two ex-Google employees. They began online down under, and have now expanded to the U.S., specifically through Nordstrom, where in a reversal of methods, the brick-and-mortar store will encourage shoe design via a kiosk. According to Upstart BizJournals: "In the first quarter of 2015, five more studios will open within Nordstrom stores" in Paramus, New Jersey; Pentagon City, Virginia; Oakbrook, Illinois; Fashion Island in Newport Beach, California; and at the San Francisco Center.
Shoes are delivered within two to four weeks and cost between $130-$400 — the price of a well-made pair of shoes.
While Shoes of Prey doesn't solve all our shoe dilemmas, (it doesn't address the problem of what to do with your well-worn old shoes, though you can always find creative ways to recycle them), it does solve many problems through the simple concept of personalization.
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