“I am so grateful to the whole team at Bill Bird Shoes for all their care and attention. It really was a very special experience.”

Slim and elegant shoes with the function of orthotics

This client had to wear orthotics to prevent his feet over-pronating. These worked well but were cumbersome and made shoes difficult to fit. He also has a healthy but very straight inner border shape to his feet, which is difficult to fit into shoes.

The team at Bill Bird Shoes in the Midlands was able to make a pair of made-to-measure black Oxfords with a straight inner border and which had the function of the orthotics built into them so that they could be made to look slim and elegant. We often do this for people because bespoke lasts can be created so that the shoes made on them behave in the same way as the orthotics but without the weight, clumsy shape or inconvenience of separate orthotics.

“This is my first pair of handmade shoes. They were a 21st birthday present from my mum and dad and I have had them for just over a month. I am at medical school at the moment, so these shoes will be doing quite a lot of mileage around hospitals.

I chose black, formal shoes and they are so comfortable. When I put them on, I just don’t want to take them off again. I had an outstanding experience at Bill Bird Shoes. Every little detail was considered to ensure we got the right balance – and the team’s attention to detail was astounding.

I had three appointments, all at the workshop in Blockley and I found it very helpful to be collected from the train station by Russell before my 2nd and 3rd appointments. I am based in Oxford, so I am about half way from the London fitting room in Grey Flannel and the Cotswolds’ workshop.

A wealth of experience

It was really nice to see the workshop. I was given a guided tour and shown shoes at different stages of progress. It was great to meet the whole team – and the cat, who was determined to be the centre of attention!

During my first visit Emily took lots of measurements, made foam moulds of my feet in order to create my lasts, and looked at the way I walk. I have an issue with my arches, which means my feet become achy quite quickly and my calves hurt. I wear insoles in my day-to-day footwear to help ease the problem.

We also looked at designs and took a collaborative approach. I have only ever bought shoes off the rack before so this was a completely new experience. I was so grateful to Bill and his team for their wealth of experience in guiding me through the process.

Astounding attention to detail

My shoes are called austere Oxfords and I was able to choose from a huge range of leather, which was brilliant to go through. We considered each for their durability and comfort and I was guided at every stage. I chose a red lining, which is quite fun. No-one else can see this except me but I like knowing it is there.

The process of seeing the shoes evolve was fascinating. My parents joined me for some of the appointments – they enjoyed it too and found the process most interesting. It was nice to share the experience with my parents, especially as it was them who bought such a special and memorable present.

I could have had my shoes posted to me but I wanted to go into the workshop to collect them. They are such a special pair of shoes. Each has its own shoe bag and I have special cream that will keep the leather nourished. They also have handcrafted shoe trees to help keep them in pristine condition.

My shoes look exactly how I envisioned them from the initial drawings and every time I put them on I remember the process. I am so grateful to the whole team at Bill Bird Shoes for all their care and attention. It really was a very special experience.”

Where to find us

The Cotswolds:

49 Northwick Business Centre
Moreton in Marsh
GL56 9RF
London (fortnightly) at:

Grey Flannel
7 Chiltern Street
London W1
For all enquiries and appointments

Phone: 01386 700855
Email: enquiries@billbird.co.uk
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