Real artisan shoemakers are scarce in Paris

homme en train de faire des chaussures sur mesure paris

The made-to-measure shoe sector in Paris is very, very small. As is that of made-to-measure women’s suits. Made-to-measure, when done by the book, means that the shoe is wholly handmade. Because sending the item in to a workshop to make a unique shoe would mean that its cost would raise its status to that of a work of art. A fact that footwear enthusiasts are unlikely to dispute.

In Paris, bespoke footwear is extremely rare

It takes around 60 to 80 hours’ work to make a pair of handcrafted shoes. The names of the shoemakers who make wholly handcrafted made-to-measure shoes are world-renowned, and unfortunately, some great names have passed away very recently, including Stéphane Jimenez, who served as an international benchmark, from the French Compagnons du devoir school, who left us in May 2023. Leaving us with a legacy to carry forward.

Massaro, Chanel’s eternal ally

To make a bespoke shoe of excellent quality, you need to enlist the help of several industries and crafts. For the past ten years or so, luxury brands such as Chanel and LVMH have been taking possession of the best tanneries in the world (and therefore French ones) to source leather of exceptional quality. Massaro, in the person of Raymond, forged links with Coco Chanel, for whom he created a shoe with a low heel and an inner elastic band in place of the traditional buckle: the Slingback, a small two-tone pump. It met the expectations of Coco Chanel: a woman freed from her shackles.

Since then, Massaro has been lucky enough to get the most perfect leather on the planet from which to make its shoes.

All done by the book: crafting of your one-of-a kind last, hand carving, initial piecing together, pattern-making, creation of the sole and… Pampering.

The special feature of Maison Massaro is its in-house orthopaedic department. It really is the ultimate in made-to-measure creation.
The showroom housed within 19M, 2 Place Skanderbeg, in the 19th arrondissement of Paris. Or at Chanel, 19 rue Cambon.

Aubercy: French excellence

In the workshop boutique at 34 rue Vivienne in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, bespoke shoes are made, not least using exotic animal skins. Crocodile, snake and other animals whose leather is rarely used to make made-to-measure shoes.

Aubercy states that it does absolutely everything by hand, but it should be noted that the shoemaker states that it uses the Goodyear sewing process, specifying “by hand”. Which is impossible. As the Goodyear process is mechanical by definition. As you browse the site, you find out that what is hand-sewn is the welt. We think it best to notify our readers, as the astute connoisseurs that you are.

However, you will be delighted by the presence of Yasuhiro Shiota on the artistic design team.
Note that there’s also a collection of colourful trainers in leather and suede.

Made to order: production of pre-designed pairs on demand only

The shoes are generally very limited editions, which are not made to measure, but whose rare production runs make them hot property.

Alexis Lafont for Caulaincourt

Here we are in a slightly more affordable price range. No wonder – these shoes aren’t made to fit your own feet, but they’re still a work of art. The quality of the leather becomes paramount to help you forget the fact that the manufacturing will probably take place in a factory (which is not a bad sign, either).

Caulaincourt has 3 branches in Paris: avenue Kléber, rue Linois and rue Chomel.
And Alexis Lafont’s sartorial soul makes itself felt all over them.

La Maison intends to be innovative but not anti-conformist. A bandit, as it were, which is the name given to the trainer collection. Reflecting the brand’smodern, transgressive state of mind.

Shoe customisation: not quite bespoke, but not quite mass-produced

A halfway house allowing you to get shoes that are rendered (almost) unique by colouring, applying a patina or seal to the leather.

La Maison Altan, artisan shoemakers

With two branches in the 8th arrondissement of Paris (rue Miromesnil for made-to-measure and rue Lincoln for collections), Altan stands out due to its custom colour, patina and top-of-the-range shoemending service which is also used by other leading Parisian shoemakers.

Care is what helps your shoes last over time. More than anything else. Even more than the quality of the leather, even more than resulting from a production process like Blake or Goodyear.

Other made-to-measure workshops in France, in Paris

To help you with your search during your stay in Paris, here are a few well-known establishments in and around the 7th arrondissement:

  • John Lobb: this legend of bespoke shoes, founded in England over 150 years ago, needs no introduction. You’ll find it at 226 bd Saint-Germain, in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, among others.
  • Berluti: came over to Paris from Italy in the late 19th century. Alessandro Berluti founded a bespoke men’s shoemaker and shoemending business that’s world-renowned. You’ll find it at 14 rue de Sèvres, in the 7th arrondissement of Paris.
  • Philippe Atienza Bottier Paris: trained by the Compagnons du Devoir and a Meilleur Ouvrier de France (national craftsmanship award holder), Philippe Atienza creates unique shoes for men and women at 53 avenue Daumesnil, in the 12th arrondissement of Paris.

The fine shoes made by master shoemakers are not lost on the eyes of connoisseurs, who will notice the tiniest crease or vein in the leather that denotes the true quality of the workmanship. But it’s care using the right products, a good shoe tree, and regular visits to your shoemender that will prove to everyone just how much you love your shoes. Or you can let the shoemender Georges & Georges, next door to our base in the 7th arrondissement of Paris, come to you with his shoeshine chair.