Hand-crafted shoes from Special Footwear in London’s West End helps you put your best foot forward
- Credit: Archant
For people who suffer with feet problems, it is often difficult to find footwear that is both comfortable and stylish. There is a shop in the West End dedicated to changing that.
Special Footwear, found on New Cavendish Street, has been creating bespoke shoes for people with feet problems for 56 years.
The store can offer elegant footwear in any style and custom-made shoes are made on the premises, often within three weeks of the first consultation.
Master shoemaker Tony Andrews says that his shop is devoted to creating beautiful footwear for men, women and children, no matter how severe their feet issues are.
“These are handmade shoes for people with problems with their feet, who can’t buy their shoes from a regular shop” he says.
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“We make special shoes that look really attractive. We’ve got 20,000 leathers, and the shoes are made on site. Customers are welcome to go into the workshop to have a look, and have a cup of tea and a biscuit while they’re waiting.”
The process typically begins with a free, no-obligation consultation, where one of Special Footwear’s experienced shoemakers will take some initial measurements.
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Tony says: “Once they come in, we take people in to our private fitting rooms, where we chat to them about their problems, any features they would like – including special insoles or orthotics (foot support products) – and the meeting lasts about three quarters of an hour.”
Special Footwear is popular with royalty, cabinet ministers, newsreaders and television personalities – perhaps unsurprising given its close proximity to Harley Street – but walk-in consultations are common too, and Tony has welcomed customers from Australia, Europe and the United States.
Customer Ann Paine said: “I felt confident in my new shoes and felt like a women again. My husband actually said he had his old Ann back. You will never know how I feel inside because of your kindness and understanding you are helping to give me some of my personality back and the shoes are worth every penny and more to feel like that again.”
These expert shoemakers will first create a wooden last – a holding device moulded in the exact shape of the customer’s foot – before informing them how long it will be for a fitting. The whole process takes around five to six weeks, although Tony and his team can do any urgent job for special occasions in around two weeks.
Special Footwear can also bring their expertise to you.
“We do a home measuring service” says Tony. “In other words, people can phone us up, and I will personally go to their house, measure them up, take the leathers they might want in my case, and they can pick out what they would like from the comfort of their own home.”
These visits are free within a mile of the store and are also available to anyone in the UK or abroad, although a charge will apply depending on the distance in this case.
Aside from making bespoke shoes, Special Footwear also carries a comprehensive range of orthotics care for adults and children. These products include inserts, arches and foot supports, with the relevant materials and technology used to suit each patient’s needs. Special Footwear’s orthotics are tailored to suit people with issues including heel pain, plantar fascilitis, bunions and sports related injuries. These products are usually available within two to five days.
So what is it like for Tony to see customers who struggle with foot pain finally find the right shoe fit?
“It’s like a bonus” he says. “You’re seeing someone go out of the shop smiling – they are a lot happier than when they came in!
“When they come back, they can have a discount – because we already have the customer’s last, the second pair will always be more cost effective.”
Special Footwear, 12 New Cavendish Street, London, W1G 8UN; For more information, head online at: specialfootwear.co.uk or give them a call on 020 7486 4664 to arrange a free consultation.