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John Lobb’s Custom Shoes

Ready-to-wear John Lobb shoes go through the same 190 production steps as the bespoke option. So why should you spring for a pair all your own? Paul Wilson, bespoke shoemaker at the John Lobb New York boutique, dissects the investment.

It’s obvious: They will fit you. We take nine measurements to produce a molding, which we send to the Paris workshop to create a carved wooden form. There are at least two more fittings, including one with a vacuum press to find problem areas.

Details matter. To start, I show clients ready-to-wear models, but we can make any modifications, from caps to soles to buckles. There are more than 28 leather options, and we can also polish them to any shade.

Consider the quirks. We can use your own orthopedic inserts or simply adjust the shoes to align your feet correctly. If your right leg runs short, we can build up the sole on that side.

It’s a one-time fitting. For most styles you need only one mold, so it’s less expensive for a second pair. You’ll need a separate fitting for loafers, though (and I know Americans love loafers).

We will come to you. I’m at the Madison Avenue boutique full time, but I head out to the Costa Mesa, California, shop every three months. I also take in-office appointments. In Paris, the year-old John Lobb bespoke salon at 32 Rue de Mogador is open by appointment only, and clients can view the shoemakers on-site.

John Lobb bespoke shoes, from $6,780; 212-888-9797;

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