5 Min Guide: The 4 Types Of Customization For Men Dress Shoes


When it comes to shoes, there are different levels of customization.

Let me go through them in more details to provide a better understanding.


1.)    Ready To Wear


This is what most men are accustomed to.

Off the shelves shoes.

No customization allowed. What you see is what you get.

This does not mean it is of poor quality.

There are high quality RTW shoes like Carmina, Church’s, etc.

However, for lower end shoes, below $250,

It is unlikely you’ll find a wide selection of colours and designs.

Pro: No waiting time.

Cons: Might not be as well fitting and might not offer a wide variety of options

(depending on price point)


2.)    Custom Made or Made To Order

CM Colors.png

This is one step above RTW.

You get to choose the

  • designs
  • colors
  • shoe last 

One of the main advantages is that you get a wider variety of colors, sizes and designs.

For e.g, CustomMade offers 7 different colors

Black, Navy, Burgundy, Red, and 4 shades of brown with the option of burnishing.

On top of more than 25 customizable designs.

Furthermore, for MTO, you get to choose a shoe last (shape) that fits you better.

Similarly, CustomMade has 4 different shoe last.

Pros: A better fit and wider range of style, design and colors

Cons: More costly and longer waiting time


3.)    Semi-Bespoke


This is similar to MTO with the added customization of making amendments to the shoe last.

They are also known as Made To Measure (MTM)

Basically, measurements to your feet are taken

And the amendment to the shoe last is made accordingly.

If you like a particular shoe last, but somehow it doesn’t fit well, for example, the width is too tight,

The maker could add volume around the width so it would fit better.

Usually there are two fittings involved.

First fitting would involve

  • the measurements
  • the selection of the shoe last, design, colors, etc.

After a few weeks, they would make a fitting shoe (usually of poorer leather)

You try them out and let the maker know of your fitting issues

(too tight around the width, too loose around the back ,etc)

They would take note of that, amend the shoe last

Before making the actual shoe base on your inputs.

Pros: More customization for fitting compared to RTW and MTO.

Cons: More expensive and longer waiting time. (no less than $700)

For CustomMade, we offer fit amendments similar to semi bespoke but without a trial fitting for costing reasons. 

4.)    Bespoke

Image by Joshua Leong

Image by Joshua Leong

This is the most expensive type of shoes.

Think of it as semi-bespoke with the addition of making a brand new shoe last.  

You can choose the toe shapes, the design ideas and the type of colors you’re looking for.

Similar to semi-bespoke, you’ll most likely get two to three trial fitting before the maker constructs the shoes.

A bespoke shoe resembles more art than just a pair of shoe.

It typically takes 6 to 12 months for a pair to get done.

As this involves:

  • Making a brand new shoe last.  
  • Making a fitting shoe
  • Making amendments to said last,
  • Making the shoe.

Pros: The most amount of customization in a pair of shoes

Cons: Very costly and long waiting time. (no less than $1000)

CustomMade Opening Promotion

Our new showroom at 82 Telok Ayer St, #02-04. 

Our Usual Price is at $330 to 350. 

For our promotional prices, it would be at $300 flat! 


We'll be offering a one time opening promotion. 

This would be available for those who sign up to our list and Like Our Facebook! 
(if you're already on the list,  you don't have to sign up again)

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