At Foster & Son, we use “bespoke” in its original sense of something entirely made by hand to the customer’s specifications.


Working alongside a shoemaker in designing your own unique pair of bespoke shoes can be an unforgettable experience.
You may walk into our Workshop on impulse, and find a knowledgeable shoemaker who will guide you to a successful choice. However for many people the planning of this purchase is an important pleasure and if you enjoy the process we suggest that you take some time to look at the designs on our web site and other shoes that appeal to you, and think about the basic questions.
Do I want a casual slip-on shoe, or a lace-up? Is it for work, formal wear or the week-end? Am I looking mainly for foot comfort and practicality or a fashion statement? Are textures and colours important to the effect I am looking for? And very importantly, what kind of toe shape will suit my foot and my personality?
For a first meeting we do suggest you make an appointment so that we can give you our best attention. You should allow an hour for us to measure and assess your feet, discuss the models, toe shapes, leathers and other features that appeal to you such as the height and shape of the heel, the thickness of the sole, the shape of the instep or “Waist” and decorative elements such as brogueing patterns. The time you spend planning is likely to be well rewarded when your stunning Foster’s finally arrive.


“I have my last at Foster & Son” is a proud claim for many a well dressed gentleman, and this rite of passage is an important moment for us as well, because once we have a perfect last for you everything else should run smoothly. The last is the form on which we build the shoes and this gives the shoes their unique shape and personality. For a bespoke house, the aesthetic sense of the last maker contributes more to the “house signature” than anything else.
Hand carved from a block of seasoned Beechwood or Hornbeam, the last incorporates the shapes and measurements of the foot so as to be comfortable and healthy for you. This process takes time, but once we have the last correct we can be confident that your shoes will always fit perfectly.


The shoemaking process involves a number of stages, each dependent on the other, some of which require time for the leather to take on the shape of the last. This is why it usually takes 6-9 months for the shoes to be completed.
From the last, we create paper patterns, and from them we cut the leather components for the uppers. This is called “clicking” from the sound of the sharp knife on the cutting block. The upper components are now stitched together. This often requires highly skilled and detailed hand work, and is called “closing” the shoe.
Meantime, we soak the leather inner sole in water, attach it to the sole of the last and leave it to dry out for a long period, so that it assumes the contours of your foot and you can walk in comfort. The uppers and the inner sole are then fitted to the last and stitched together by a skilled shoemaker using flaxen thread that he makes himself. If this is your first pair, we stop the making before the outer sole is attached, and ask you to try on the shoe to ensure that the fit is correct.

Once we are satisfied that the fit is perfect we proceed to the final stage of making, attaching the sole and heel and then finishing the shoe with meticulous care.