In Person: Mantorii Custom Shoes

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Mantorii Single Monk Strap w/ Medallion - $228.00 w/ code DAPPERED

Price includes the $5.00 “upgrade” to dark brown leather.  $304 pre 25% off code.  Code expires 2/18/13.

Much like Indochino, Mantorii is stepping in to offer custom-made shoes at a reasonable price point more in line with the likes of Allen Edmonds than other custom shoe options. Starting at $299, you can get shoes made to your unique specifications. They offer a wide range of styles for customization.  Lace-ups, loafers, even dress boots and chukkas are available.  Detail options include everything from plain toes to full wingtips.  All shoes are made in Vietnam with the Goodyear welt method for durability and possible resoling.

The measuring process is relatively easy (see here for their returns & remakes info), and can be found on their website. It requires you to print out a page and trace your feet onto it, measuring your insteps and balls. Your foot balls…the balls of your feet. Whatever.

I only lost my balance and fell over once trying to get through this process of crouching on a sheet of paper. You will then need to scan this drawing and send it to Mantorii. I personally do not have a scanner and it took me a few days to get down to FedEx and use their scanner while I was shipping a package. I asked Mantorii if this has been a problem, and was told I’m the first person to ask about it. They did kindly offer to reimburse me the cost of physically mailing my foot drawing to them.

Mantorii monk from aboveOut of the box, the dark brown leather’s grain is hard to miss.  Almost deerskin like.

For the style of the shoes, I decided that if I was going to get custom shoes I’d branch out a bit and fill a hole in my wardrobe: monk strap, medallion toe, dark brown, with a leather sole.  It was exactly two weeks from order to receipt of the shoes. The shoes certainly feel high quality and the craftsmanship is in line with other shoes at this price, with no visible faults. They have a good, classic shape with a nicely tapered, rounded toe.

Putting on the shoe, my first thought was “Ooh, a little small.” But after standing in them and walking around my house a bit I reconsidered. Both shoes fit around my feet perfectly. They were snug, but not tight, without pinching or discomfort.

Mantorii soles Goodyear Welted.  Made in Vietnam.

The color is dark, a deep coffee brown, darker than my Saddleback bag. It’s also soft and pliable with a visible grain. Not everyone will love how visible the grain is.  Mantorii sent me this note regarding the leather, “our dark brown is a rather soft full grain leather, so it should be very comfortable to wear and develop a nice patina over time. It will also regularly need to be treated with a shoe conditioner (more so than hard leather) to preserve the softness and avoid the wrinkles to crack.”  In a follow up email, they mentioned that the Dark Brown is most likely their softest full grain leather, and “most other leathers incl. the Essential Black, the Tan etc. are much smoother.  The Essential Brown is also pretty soft, but the grain is less visible.

Mantori and saddleback They weren’t kidding about “dark” brown.  Shown on top of a Saddleback in Dark Coffee leather.

I can’t compare Mantorii to any other custom shoe experience, but at this price I am very happy with the product and their service. Soon after placing my order, they contacted me to double-check the measurements because they thought there might be a discrepancy between the scan they received and my original. Once winter is over I’ll put them through their paces a bit more outside, and I’m expecting them to hold up very well.

Post and photos by our Arts & Culture correspondent Ben Madeska.  For more on literature, art, food, wine, and a real perspective on the news these things make, follow Ben on Twitter.