Hello everyone, and welcome to another of my reviews. In this article, I’m introducing my very own footwear label – Customwelt.
I briefly introduced CustomWelt in my October op-ed, and am happy to announce that the brand is finally ready for launch. As a recap, the premise of CustomWelt is simple – to offer customisable, European-made Goodyear-welted shoes at an affordable price.
There were other local shoe labels offering customisable, Goodyear-welted shoes, but most of them have unfortunately gone out of business due to COVID-19. Homegrown brands such as CustomMade, Ed Et Al and Diamond Walker have all exited the market, citing high rentals and inventory costs as factors. Readers have been asking me for recommendations on Goodyear-welted shoes, but frankly, I really couldn’t find any Singaporean brands to recommend. Some South-East Asian brands have a local presence (such as Vietnamese shoemaker CNES, and Indonesian label Jalan Sriwijaya), but I wanted to recommend a homegrown brand. Shining a spotlight on noteworthy local efforts is the raison d’etre of Wah So Shiok, after all.
I saw a gap in the local market for accessible Goodyear-welted shoes, and thought to myself: why not fill the void myself, and put my spin on things? As you guys may know, I’m a big fan of customisation, both in tailoring and in watches. I’m also a fan of European products, such as European fabrics in tailoring (VBC, Drago, Reda, Loro Piana, Zegna, etc), European leather in strapmaking, and European watches. CustomWelt reflects my personal preferences by blending these aspects.
I decided to partner with a Spanish shoe manufacturer (who’s been in the industry for decades), and CustomWelt was born. The inspiration behind the name was simple – I wanted people to instantly understand the brand’s unique selling point, which was to offer customisable, Goodyear-Welted shoes. Despite being made-to-order, the lead time for the shoes is merely a month, which is much shorter than usual MTO shoes.
Despite the “atas” sounding premise of the shoes, I wanted CustomWelt to not only be extremely competitive in the local market but also eminently accessible to the masses. As such, the Standard Collection will be offered at a launch price of $399 (U.P $499), while the Patina Collection will be offered at $499 (U.P $599). These launch prices will apply to the first 100 orders, as I want to get feedback from consumers ASAP.
I genuinely believe CustomWelt offers an unbeatable value proposition, especially locally. You can get Goodyear-welted shoes from CNES and Jalan Sriwijaya for $300+, but those shoes are made in Vietnam/Indonesia and are not customisable. If you truly want a customisable, Goodyear-Welted shoe that’s made in Europe, the best alternative would be Carmina’s custom programme, which costs twice the price and takes twice as long.
CustomWelt – Details
With the introduction done and dusted, let’s get down to the details.
Firstly, all CustomWelt shoes are made with full-grain calf leather. The leather is sourced from Spanish, Italian and German tanneries that supply prominent brands such as Churches. Goodyear-Flex construction is also available, with four different sole options (for Goodyear-Flex) being offered. My recommendation is to opt for the Goodyear-Flex construction, which results in a flexible shoe that should translate into long-lasting comfort. In the samples that I’ve received, there wasn’t any need for a break-in period – all the Goodyear-Flex shoes were comfortable from day one, and only got more comfortable with repeated wear.
All soles feature a leather base and are handstitched in an open-channel design. The heel is also nailed (by hand) for greater durability – you don’t have to worry about the heel coming off with CustomWelt shoes.
For a more striking look, customers can opt for a patina finish. A bevvy of patina finishes are available, so do check them out in the customisation platform. These patina effects are the results of artisanal finishes by Spanish shoemakers, and as a result, no two pairs will look identical.
There will also be four last sizes available: Zurigo (rounded toe for a traditional English look), Monti (classic look with slightly square toe), Saville (sleek look with slight chisel toe) and Belgravia (narrow look with a chisel toe and Cuban heel). All shoes come in two width options, standard D and wide EE. CustomWelt shoes are available from US7 to US14 – perfect for those with larger feet, who often struggle to find their size from Asian shoemakers.
You can also decide how burnished you want the shoes to be.
You can even choose from a variety of sole colours. This reminds me of choosing an inner lining in suiting – no one will see it, but it’s still a great way to express your personality. Personally, I love a striking maroon sole.
Minute details such as the heel height and appearance are also customisable, as well as…
…the colour and shape of your laces.
If you opt for a monk strap, you can also choose between differently coloured rounded and square buckles (much like the side-adjuster buckles on tailored tailors).
And like with tailored clothing, you can also opt to have a monogram on the heel to truly make the shoes your own.
For a more visual walkthrough, do also watch the video above, where I explain each customisation option in the online customisation platform.
Due to the customisable nature of CustomWelt shoes, do note that no returns or refunds will be entertained (except in cases of functional defects). In other words, if you happen to order the wrong size, you will not be able to exchange the shoes. However, I found the shoes to fit true to size – if you have a pair of Carmina or Churches (or any other made-in-Europe) dress shoes, it’s safe to follow the same sizing. The same goes for Gaius Walks’ shoes. However, if you have a pair of Arden Teal shoes and are looking to upgrade, go for one size smaller. And if you’re still unsure about your sizing and width, fitting samples are available at The Suited Label, The Gentlemen’s Atelier and Gentlemen’s Pursuit (three tailors that focus heavily on customisation themselves). Simply make an appointment with them via Whatsapp.
If you have read this far, congrats – you can use the promo code “WAHSOSHIOK” to enjoy a further 10% off the launch pricing. 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 the risk of tooting my own horn, I believe CustomWelt offers tremendous value for money, especially at this launch pricing.
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!
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.