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.
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.
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:
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
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.