Review: Shoes of Prey

Since I love finding companies that make shoes in smaller than a size US 5, a reader emailed me to  suggest I check out Shoes of Prey. Offering the ability to custom make “bespoke” shoes, this company comes in as small as a size US 3!

So this is how it works:

You can explore the “Ready Made” options, which are pre-designed shoes, currently available. These shoes are ready to ship, but size availability is limited to what’s left in stock. If you like a ready made shoe, but it’s not the perfect color, or you’d like it in a different material, you can click the “edit this design” button and make any changes you’d like. Expect a shipping delay once changes are made, since your perfect shoe now has to be made specially for you.

Or, you can “Design” your own perfect shoe from scratch. This function is really neat, and I found myself playing with it for hours. First you choose a starting design, and then have fun playing with everything from toe shape, back shape, heel shape, heel height, decorations, a fun array of colors, and impressive amount of different materials. As I tend to be very indecisive, I found the design possibilities a bit daunting, which is never a bad thing. I’d rather have too much choice, than too little, right?

After you design your perfect shoe, you pick your size by giving them your usual shoe size. You can also make note if you have narrow or wide feet, and they will custom size your shoes accordingly. Then you sit back and wait 5-6 weeks while your shoes are custom hand made and shipped ($25 flat rate) to you.


Returns:

Since these shoes are shipping all the way from Australia, and are custom made to your specifics, I was very concerned with how the return process works. If you are not satisfied with your shoes, you can return them for a full refund, including initial shipping (you would only be responsible for paying return shipping), within 30 days. If the shoes don’t fit, they will pay to have them tweaked by a cobbler in your area, or will remake them free of charge. In this situation, return shipping is paid by the customer, but usually refunded by way of store voucher. Shipping of the newly re-made shoes are paid by Shoes of Prey. See their full return policy here.

I wandered around the website for a while, playing with designing my own shoes, but wondered what these shoes really look like. I contacted Shoes of Prey asking if I could review a pair, and they were kind enough to send me over a sample to play with. Here is a pair of ready made size US 5 (my usual shoe size).

The shoe box they came in is really nice. Fully padded and lined in silky black fabric, the shoes have a nice little home to live in. I also liked how the box opened from the side for easy closet storage.

Quality:

Close up of the side of the shoe. Nice even stitches connect the leather pieces, and the parts of the shoe are cleany glued and smooth. Overall, the shoe appears well constructed.

Compare that to a mass produced Cole Haan shoe, also patent leather, at a similar price point:

More views:

Heel
Inside of shoe
Sole

Comfort and Fit:

These are a size US 5, which is the most common size in my shoe collection. I found these to be a bit short, so my toes were squished against the front of the shoe. I would order a half size up, and then I’d say they would be perfect. I walked around in them without the strap buckled, and the back height was adequate enough that my heel did not slip out. They were also a very medium width, so that I felt like they were neither too wide, nor too slim.

What I didn’t like about the fit of these shoes was the toe box was too high for me. This is evidenced by the extra space between the top of the shoe, and my foot. I asked Shoes of Prey if this was alterable, and they replied:

“Good news – we can make the toe box slightly lower. Normally when you order shoes we ask that you send us a picture of your feet – so at this stage we may have perceived there to be an issue and picked this up for you.

Additionally, we also normally include innersoles and heel grips with the shoes, which can cover off on this if the additional height is a minimal issue.”

The heel height on these are 4.5 inches, which is a bit too high for me, so along with the toe squishing, I couldn’t get an accurate gauge on comfort.

These shoes gave me a retro, Swingers kind of feel, so I busted out my LOFT pencil skirt for a bit of a 40’s look.


Top: Banana Republic, size PXXS (altered in this post)
Skirt: LOFT Suiting Pencil Skirt (slimmed)
Belt: Eugenia Kim patent leather, size XS
Shoes: Shoes of Prey, size 5

Verdict:  Aside from the height of the toe box, I give Shoes of Prey a good grade. The shoes felt solidly made, and I really like the customizability. They also get good marks for going down to a size US 3! These can be a bit pricey, especially with shipping tacked on, so I would use Shoe of Prey’s services to invest in something really special, or something that I just can’t seem to find anywhere else. Just make sure to order them well before you need to wear them, to allow for the hand making process, and the possibility of them needing some tweaking.
If I were designing my own shoes…it would be these…or these…I told you I couldn’t decide. =)

Has anyone ordered from Shoes of Prey? What was your experience?

Disclaimer:  Shoes of Prey sent me these shoes for review only, and will be returned to them after this post. This is a non-compensated and non-sponsored review, and is purely my opinion.

More companies that make small shoes:

10 Comments

  • Reply June 9, 2010

    PetiteAsianGirl

    Great, thorough review! I can see this being great for women who want a special shoe for their wedding or other special occasion – or women who just have unlimited funds to spend on shoes. I'm interested in seeing the quality of their soft leather versus patent leather.

    Based on your review, their customer service seems to be a pleasure to work with for any questions or inquiries. Good service is always a good thing!

  • Reply June 9, 2010

    Alterations Needed

    PAG – I'm also interested in seeing their suede! I love suede! =)

    You're absolutely right about their customer service. They were a pleasure to work with, and responded to all my questions really quickly. I really appreciate that.

  • Reply June 9, 2010

    PetiteXXS

    Luckily my feet are big enough that I have too many shoe temptations available already as it is, but I'm sure this is useful for those who have super tiny feet. I love the design your own shoes concept… oh the possibilities! If only I had unlimited funds to spend on shoes… :)

  • Reply June 9, 2010

    thesmallone

    Thanks for posting! I thought about ordering from SOP but was very worried about spending big bucks on shoes that might not be comfy and be unable to return them. I find most pretty shoes too uncomfortable to wear and being a city girl who walks everywhere I need comfy shoes. This post is not encouraging. I usually wear wedges since they tend to be cute and comfortable. Luckily my feet aren't abnormally small so I can usually get shoes in most places (size 6 or 6 1/2).

  • Reply June 9, 2010

    Really Petite

    Very interesting post! I can only fit into a TRUE size 5 but my 2 of my sisters feet are super tiny- they wear kids size 1!!! So I am so excited to share this brand of shoes with them! Thanks for the great review!

  • Reply June 9, 2010

    Alterations Needed

    thesmallone – I wish I could have gotten a more accurate gauge on the comfort level for you. The only bummer about SoP is the return shipping charges if you end up returning them (since initial shipping gets refunded to you). Good luck on your shoe hunt!

    ReallyPetite – Kids size 1! Poor sisters! It's so hard to find nice shoes when your feet are that small. I hope SoP works for them. =)

  • Reply June 15, 2010

    deelirium

    Wow, I'm really glad you were able to get in touch with them and do such a thorough review!

    Just like thesmallone, I also prefer wedges. And they have a lot of wedge options with the mix-and-match features! If only I thought I could spare the $230…

  • Reply July 20, 2010

    Angie

    This is a great idea! My size almost-5 feet kill my wallet and hopes and dreams when it comes to fashionable footwear. I will definitely be reading up on your posts about small shoes :D

  • Reply July 25, 2010

    AubreyOhDang!

    I wear a US 3.5 in women's. such a difficult issue!!! I live in Socal so I just depend on Cinderella of Boston. but I like that you can design your own shoes w/SoP. I enjoyed this blog. Informative.

  • Reply October 2, 2013

    Fay

    I have narrow feet so I ordered a pair of heels from Shoes of Prey for $200 (shipping included). I was disappointed. I had the same problem with the toe box being too high. And their narrow size A feels wider than some of my regular shoes. The shoes feels boxy and uncomfortable. The sole looks completely different from what you have in the picture. Mine looked like couple pieces of legos glued together. I like my Cole Haan much better. I have 2 pairs of Cole Haan. The $300 pair is much better than the $170. It’s like they’re made by different companies…Cole Haan fits my narrow feet well.

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