Gaziano & Girling bespoke 2
Part 2: The measuring
Thursday 1st of March 2012

In the last post in this series, we looked at the process of designing a pair of bespoke shoes at Gaziano & Girling. With that decided, it was on to the measuring process.

Interestingly, Tony had me stand up on the G&G-branded measuring paper, rather than sit down as other bespoke makers of my experience had done. But then the difference is just a question of adjusting for the fact that the foot will swell slightly when subjected to greater pressure, and push the toes forward. The maker must also account for the time of day you are being measured (as feet swell during the day).
Measuring techniques do vary. While most English shoemakers take a similar number of readings, illustrated by the pictures here, Italians tend to take more notes and the Japanese scribble all over the place. Tony Gaziano believes this makes little difference, however.
“The most important thing is not the measuring but the first fitting,” he explains. “In exactly the same way as bespoke tailoring, you can only tell so much before you place something on the customer and see how it fits.”
At that point, communication is the key. For unlike tailoring, the bespoke shoemaker cannot see every aspect of the fit. Even if he cuts apart the shoe at the fitting, the information is not precise. Leather reveals so much less than worsted, at least at this stage.
“You need to make sure the customer is comfortable with telling you everything about the shoe,” says Tony. “He needs to realise that it may not be perfect at this point, that a lot can still be changed, and that every aspect of how it feels is therefore worth communicating.”
Apparently customers are frequently surprised that a shoe can be altered. These are usually the ones that have never seen one being made. For as long as you are prepared to re-sew the welt, there is nothing to stop the shoemaker taking apart the shoe and relasting it, to be snugger or looser in any part of the foot.
Indeed, with a first-time customer Gaziano & Girling will often have two fittings, to make sure the last is perfect. The second may take place after the shoe has been worn for a few weeks – beginning with three hours a day, then building it up to eight or nine. “It’s really only after this period of wear that you can get a real feel for the fit,” says Tony.
In the next post, we see the shoes being made at the G&G workshop outside Northampton, England.

I do have a pair of Gaziano and Girling, I wore them twice at home for about an hour each
wearing and I can tell you they are very confortable and well done I am so satisfied.
And I can imagine how confortable they will get after a few wearing.
I would recommend every shoe freak to try a pair of Gaziano and Girling.
Guy from Canada
2012-03-01 18:00:12
Guy Douville
Over the last five years, all of my footwear (12 + pairs) has been converted to Gaziano & Girling! The excellence of their bespoke product is matched by their willingness to tend to the minutest detail of design and fit with grace and infinite patience. I have not enjoyed as fine a bespoke experience with any other maker. I haven't tried them all of course, but enough to know a good thing when I see it.
Toronto, Canada
2012-04-28 14:56:28
good stuff.  i noticed the big knot you used for your tie which is comelptely appriopate for the collar but there has been a lot of hatin' on the windsor knot of late.  i found it odd initially since that was the only knot i knew how to tie since i was in jhs (double windsor in fact) some time ago and it has always served me well.  i was always able to make it as big or small as necessary.  although in the past year or so i've taken the time to learn a number of other knots but still have a soft spot for the windsor so thanks for rocking it proudly.  =)
2012-08-05 03:59:33

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