Shopping addicts will testify that finding the perfect shoe that doesn’t fit can trigger an emotional breakdown. And that’s a situation the guys at AKA Bespoke would like to rectify. In fact, consider them fairy godfathers to flat-footed, bunion-bearing shoe lovers who’re afraid to step into stores and be confronted with their problems.
A joint venture by three shoe-shifting friends — Aeiman Jarwala, Karan Berry and Ateev Anand, the trio aim to give Mumbai bespoke footwear at affordable rates.
The key to bespoke is customising the shoe for the wearer. “We first make a mould of the client’s foot, then create two trial fits before finally finishing the product,” explains Anand. “There is no limit to how expensive a bespoke pair of shoes can cost, but the starting rate is about Rs 6,000.”
While insisting that the brand is not only about hiding foot blemishes, Anand explains that they do attract clients who’re tired of knocking on other doors. “We had a client recently, who suffers from polio and has one leg shorter than the other. Shoes for polio patients can be heavy and cumbersome and he needed something that was light on the feet.”
Other frequent visitors are women with odd foot sizes. “It’s nearly impossible to find women’s shoes beyond size 41 or smaller than 5. In fact, we had a client who was forced to shop in the children’s section because her foot size is so small. But she’s a working lady and wanted a pair of heels,” Anand recalls.
Ask him how outlandish their offerings get and he retorts, “With men, there are a few classic styles and the creativity lies in the details. But with women, we go the whole hog because they’ve become so adventurous with their shoes. Though we do have a pair of seven-inch heels that nobody’s managed to wear yet.”
Anand shares his tips on buying the right footwear.
Always try shoes in the evening because your feet swell by then. If you’re looking for shoes to wear through the day, they should fit when your feet are at their largest.
Know your size because that changes according to the shape of the shoe. Round-toed shoes might fit you in a smaller size than if buying an elongated toe. Also, genuine leather shoe expands to fit your foot so buying a snug size in some pairs isn’t such a bad idea. To keep leather from attracting mould, clean it with a dry cloth and apply oil to the inside of the shoe.
.AKA Bespoke’s prêt line is available at Bungalow 8, Arthur Bunder, Colaba.