While Hoi An is famous for its tailors, there are a lot of talented leatherworkers there as well. In addition to getting clothes made in Hoi An, my boyfriend and I got five pairs of shoes made. Well, I got four and he got one. Details.
Getting custom leather shoes made just for your foot is a dream I didn’t know I had until I visited Hoi An. It’s an experience that, even as a budget traveler, I can recommend! Here is a complete guide to getting shoes made in Hoi An, Vietnam: everything you need to know to have a great experience and come home with a unique souvenir you will use every day.
Getting Shoes Made in Hoi An, Vietnam: How Does it Work?
You show up at a leather worker shop and talk to the artisan there to select a pair of shoes that you want made. You can choose the leather type and color. They then measure each foot by tracing your foot shape on a piece of paper, and measuring your foot and ankle circumference in three different places. The shoes are made, and suddenly you’re looking snazzy.
What Shoes to Get Made in Hoi An, Vietnam
First you need to decide what shoes you want made. I used the same technique that I took with my casual clothes: I picked my dream aspirational shoes from websites and brands that I like, but maybe can’t exactly afford.
M.Gemi was the inspiration for my pointy-toe flats and my sandals. I modeled my loafers on the Gucci loafer slides that all the fashionistas wear but I could never afford. My Chelsey boots I found on Pinterest. Some other stores with great shoe inspiration are Everlane, Nisolo, and Frye. I suggest browsing and seeing what catches your eye.
If you don’t know where to start, Pinterest is another excellent resource. Just type in ‘boots’ or ‘flats’ and use the pictures that attract you to start your search and understand the vocabulary that describes what you like. If you have no clue at all what you should get, but would like the experience anyways, I recommend watching this video. Amy Serrano describes her 10 shoe essentials: see what you’re missing in your wardrobe and start from there.
I recommend considering:
- Pointy-toe flats: I wanted shoes to wear with my new suit that were elegant and professional.
- Sandals: Leather sandals are beautiful and summery and very boho-chic 😛
- Loafers: All the youtube fashionistas are obsessed with the gucci loafers, but there’s no way I’m spending $700 on shoes! I love the look though, and was able to get them for 4% of the price.
- Boots: I’ve always wanted dusty brown Chelsea boots, and I was able to pick the leather and the design myself!
What Shoes to Get Made: MEN
For men, I recommend getting some dress shoes and boots (although my boyfriend could not be convinced on the boots, it was 100% his loss). His dress shoes are beautiful though, fit him perfectly, and will last for many years.
How to Choose Custom Shoes?
To figure out what you want, check out your favorite stores, check out Pinterest, or pick one from this list of best men’s dress shoes. Some great stores to take a look at include Nisolo, M.Gemi, and Frye. My boyfriend got some brogues, which are like oxfords but with little holes as patterns. They look AWESOME and professional but with some personality.
For boots I recommend some Chelsey boots because they are my favorite. They look relaxed and effortless in my opinion. My main advice, however, is to go with your gut! I provide all this information to help your gut along if it’s not used to thinking about these things, but definitely trust yourself!
Where to Get Shoes Made in Hoi An?
Just like tailors, there is a wide range of leatherworkers in Hoi An. I suggest visiting a couple, getting their prices, and seeing if you get a good feeling about the shop and the craftsmen there. Vibing with the people there will make or break your experience.
For my pointy-toe flats, I wanted the best of the best, so I went to Friendly Shoe Shop. Friendly Shoe Shop is one of the most reputable shoe makers in Hoi An. I was very satisfied with my experience: the shoes are beautiful and fit perfectly.
I got my other three pairs of shoes at Shoes Store Hao. Honestly I was just walking by and saw that they had my ‘gucci loafers’ on display! I walked in and the girl who worked there (niece of the owner) told me that she had found them on Pinterest and made them for her display! I loved her initiative and style, so I ordered a pair of the loafers, and then came back for my sandals and boots as well.
How Much Does it Cost to get Shoes Made in Hoi An?
It depends on where you go. A high end place like Friendly Shoe Shop will be more expensive, but the further you get from the center of old town, the cheaper it will be.
Friendly Shoe Shop:
- pointy-toe flats: $50
- men’s brogues: $75
Shoes Store Hao:
- ‘gucci’ loafers: $30
- leather sandals: $18
- Chelsey boots: $50
As you can see, the prices vary. The less well known the shop, the cheaper it will be, but also the greater the risk.
How Long Does it Take to Get Shoes Made in Hoi An?
Getting shoes made in Hoi An takes one to three days. Usually you order shoes and they’re ready for a fitting the next night. If you want something changed, it’ll take another 24 hours. Unlike my custom clothes, for which I had multiple fittings, I took most of the shoes I ordered home after the first fitting.
Getting Shoes Made in Hoi An, Vietnam: Conclusion
In conclusion, getting shoes made in Hoi An is totally worth it! I loved working with talented craftsman to design and create my perfect shoes. Now that I’m back in Oregon for a bit, I’ve been wearing my boots every day, and they’ve yet to show any signs of use.
If you’re spending some time in Hoi An, please check out the best things to do in Hoi An, which includes a four day itinerary! If you end up getting shoes made in Hoi An, I’d love to hear about your experience. Did you end up with shoes you love? Please let me know in the comments!
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