I haven’t been writing reviews on the blog lately, because there haven’t been many new products that I’ve been truly excited about experiencing first hand. As you can see, I’m reviewing Awl & Sundry now, and I’m definitely excited.
We all know that custom menswear is huge right now. There are a number of new custom shirt and suit makers popping up every few months, whether they be online or brick and mortar shops. The risk is always the quality of the product, which varies very drastically. The same opportunities and risks have recently become present in the footwear market as well; however, Awl & Sundry has proven that quality isn’t an issue at all. These guys produce custom, handmade, full grain leather shoes, finished with a hand-sewn Goodyear welt. Every pair is made to order, and is customizable down to the last detail.
The selection of options really impressed the hell out of me. There are five lasts to choose from, as well as four styles (derby, loafer, monkstrap, and oxford) to set as the base of your shoe. Once you pass the initial options, there are variety of options to add to the vamp, eye stay, toe, and foxing. After that, the full grain leather options are vast, including a variety of colors in plain calf, calf grain, calf suede, alligator, and ostrich. The laces and stitching are also color customizable, and all of the options I’ve listed above are intuitively visualized in a great 3D display that updates as you create your shoe online.
I posted a while ago that I had ordered a pair of custom, grain leather double monks, and I received them in the mail a few weeks ago. To my delight, they were absolutely beautiful. The quality of the leather was the first thing that I noticed, superbly smooth to the touch and visibly striking. The grain of the leather that I chose is subtle enough not to be overbearing but still present enough to make a distinction, and it was handled and stitched beautifully. The last really showed off the leather quite well, with a rounded toe and slim body. There were no visible flaws in the handwork on the shoes, including the Goodyear welt, and the shine and polish of the leather on the outer and sole were both on point.
I’m a sucker for packaging, and the box, although not pictured, was something worthy of note. sturdy and attractive, it made opening and experiencing the shoes for the first time an experience. Inside, besides the shoes, were a pair of wooden shoe trees, a small wooden shoe-horn, and two shoe bags for transport. The addition of these accessories, free of charge, was a really nice touch and an even further incentive to throw down $350 for a pair.
As a whole, I can only think of one or two options giving a better product/customer experience/price/package delivery, in terms of footwear at this price point. These guys are on the verge of being really big, and Awl & Sundry is definitely pushing the footwear game into new territory with the range of customizable options. I’ve been wearing these for about three weeks, a few times a week, and they’re looking great with each wear. I’m throwing out a huge thank you to Nikunj and his team for these insanely gnarly shoes.
(Shoes photographed after two wears)
Awl & Sundry was founded by Nikunj Marvania, who worked in the financial services industry before quitting his day job to create the start-up that is A&S. With a passion for start-up success and a vision for customer driven products in the footwear market, Nikunj employed an intuitive and interactive design system to bring beautiful made-to-order shoes to life.