Hello everyone, and welcome to another of my reviews. In this article, I’m taking a closer look at the dress shoes from Customwelt.

Full disclosure: I run Customwelt, so this article is not an objective review. Rather, I simply wish to shine a spotlight on the shoes, which I believe provide tremendous value for money. I’ve previously done an introductory article – let’s now take a deeper dive into Customwelt’s dress shoe offerings.

Customwelt shoes are made by hand in Spain, using full-grain leather from Spanish, Italian and German tanneries that supply prominent brands such as Churches. For those uninitiated with leather, leather generally comes in three quality tiers – genuine, top-grain, and full-grain, in ascending order of quality. Unlike the genuine leather shoes one often finds in departmental stores, full-grain leather will patina beautifully over time.

Like leather, dress shoes typically come in 3 forms of construction: cemented, blake-stitched, and Goodyear-welted, in ascending order of quality. As its name suggests, Cuistomwelt shoes utilise Goodyear-welted construction, which is considered the most durable (and also most expensive) form of construction available. It employs two-level stitching, which not only makes the shoe more robust (including waterproofing qualities) but also allows for easier resoling. For more information, I wrote an article on the different forms of shoe construction here.

Customwelt shoes come in standard ($399) and patina ($499) options. Although the $100 difference is significant, I believe the premium is justified given the artisanal quality of the patinated shoes, which feature handpainted brush strokes. Up close, one can also see the individual grains of the full-grain leather used – it’s a sight to behold.

Being European-made – comparably priced Goodyear-welted shoes are typically manufactured in Southeast Asia – one can expect greater attention to details. For example, the stitching is immaculate, without loose or fraying threads. The tassels also reflect the burnishing and brushed patina of the shoes, which is a delightful detail.

Being Goodyear-welted, the shoes (like a full-canvassed suit) will become increasingly comfortable over time. This is due to the presence of a small cavity underneath the insoles that are filled with cork, which will mould itself to the wearer’s feet and also provide cushioning. The shoes also feature leather lining on the inside, which ensures decent breathability on the feet due to its natural composition. I wore a pair of Customwelt shoes during my recent trip to Bangkok and it served me rather well, even after a full day of trekking through markets and back alleys.

There are a variety of styles available on Customwelt (14 in total, in fact), but I’m incredibly partial to a pair of loafers. Loafers are perfect for all but the most formal occasions, rendering them stylistically versatile – especially a brown pair. These look good with a suit, with a polo tee and chinos, and even with a Hawaiian shirt and shorts.

Of course, the unique selling point of Customwelt is that you can customise your unique pair of dress shoes, making them truly your own. There are a bunch of customisation options available (last, laces, sole colour, monogram, etc), but I want to specifically highlight the sole options. You can opt for full leather, a leather/rubber hybrid, leather buttons, and even upgrade to genuine Dainite soles. The options are instantly reflected in the 3D customisation platform, providing an accurate visual representation of the finished product.

And if you’re not a fan of brushed patina, other types of patina designs are available as well. One of my personal favourites is the museum patina, which features lovely hand-dyed marbling to the leather. Made famous by luxury shoemaker John Lobb, the finish employs a mixture of light and dark finishes, creating a beautiful juxtaposition.

Last shapes play an important aesthetic role as well. The previous loafers are in the Zurigo last, which has a traditional look with a rounded toe. In contrast, the above-pictured museum patina oxfords are in the Savile last, which features a sleeker look with a slightly chiselled toe. This gives the oxfords a more striking aesthetic, making them a bona fide conversation starter.

Customwelt doesn’t have a physical store, so the lower overheads allow me to keep prices very affordable. However, interested customers can still try on our fitting shoes at one of our tailoring partners (The Suited LabelThe Gentlemen’s Atelier and Gentlemen’s Pursuit) to determine the correct size and width for your feet. Due to the custom nature of the shoes, no refunds or exchanges will be provided in cases of incorrect sizing, so do be doubly sure before placing an order.

Those interested in commissioning a pair can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy 10% off your order. After the discount, the Standard Collection can be had for just $359, while the Patina Collection (like the above) would cost only $449. I’m also pleased to offer free local shipping, as well as a money-back guarantee if you don’t get your shoes in 6 weeks. At this pricing, Customwelt represents the most affordable entry to Goodyear-welted custom shoes in the local (possibly global) market – enjoy quality European shoemaking without breaking the bank.

Visit the Customwelt website here.

P.S: Check out The Shiok Store here – it serves as a curation of my favourite products from my favourite brands.

P.P.S: Do check out the new “Discounts!” page for exclusive discounts for Wah so Shiok readers! More brands will be added very soon – stay tuned!

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P.P.P.P.S Shiok is a common word Singaporeans use to express admiration or approval. As of 2016, you can find the definition of the word in the Oxford English Dictionary.