I still think about this question quite often.
And rightly so. Because bespoke shoes are costly (at least $3,000) — some upwards of $6,000.
If you can afford it (or save up for it), my answer is still an unequivocal yes.
A bespoke shoe will display a greater attention to detail.
The stitches, waist, and shaped heel be visibly more elegant, compared to most utilitarian MTOs.
The fit should also feel much better in bespoke. It won’t be perfect; however, it should prove a better fit than RTW.
With RTW, your shoe will be difficult to return after it’s worn, even if it is uncomfortable or doesn’t fit.
With bespoke, you can have an ongoing conversation with your shoemaker should any fitting issues arise.
A outstanding bespoke lastmaker can craft a beautifully sculptured last for your measurements.
Truthfully, I’d rather not have purchased my mid-range $500 RTW shoes, and instead budgeted for bespoke.
But it’s also a two way street; a decent MTO shoe may be a good interim shoe while you sort out your wardrobe. Aspiration is motivating. Or maybe you’ll conclude that MTO works for you.
But if you’re remotely interested in bespoke look at shoemakers’ work on Instagram.
It’s been three years for me and I’m still trying to figure out my preferences.
Eventually you’ll stick with one or two craftsmen you like.