Custom men’s shoes are a luxury that’s far out of reach for most consumers. But an e-commerce upstart called Undandy figured out a way to keep bespoke prices low — really low — without skimping on quality. The footwear is handcrafted-on-demand in Portugal by third-generation shoemakers, and ships direct in 2-3 weeks to the U.S., with free returns and prices well below $300.
I needed two pairs of shoes (one dressy, one casual) for an Italy trip I took this month, and wasn’t finding the precise look I wanted at my local retailers. After an Undandy ad popped up on Facebook, I checked it out and was immediately drawn in by the alluring online interface. The shoes on the customer design studio practically leaped off the page. I’ve tried other custom clothing e-tailers but Undandy’s technology so far beats them all.
What’s different is that Undandy, founded in 2015 by a duo of Portuguese entrepreneurs, fools you into thinking you only need to make a couple clicks to get the shoes you want. In reality there are millions of options and variations to select from, but it all begins with three simple choices: shoes, boots or sneakers.
I picked an Undandy ’48 boot, billed as a classic with a contemporary twist that’s “equally at ease in the boardroom as they are on a night out.” I knew I wanted a Chukka so my style choice was easy. Since I’m married to a chocolatier, I went with chocolate suede with dark brown laces and stitching, and added a grippy sole. The one true bespoke move was adding a strip of calf leather (also in chocolate) to the heel, to give the shoes a dash of panache. The whole process took less time than finding a parking spot at Century City Mall here in Los Angeles.
Why stop there, right? I love dress sneakers but never like to wear what everyone else is wearing. Undandy certainly solved that. With the Undandy ’68 sneaker, I pushed a bit outside my comfort zone. The shoe I built is black suede with elements of gray and yellow suede and white stitching throughout. For some reason that just felt Milan-sophisticated to me.
Again, I wouldn’t even have been up the escalator at the mall by the time both these creations were ready to order. And I would have paid more, too. The total came to $246 for the dress shoes and $162 for the sneakers.
In two weeks, my Undandys arrived looking almost identical to the 3-D high-res images I saw online. Well, they actually looked better. The back of my Chukkas added flair without being too loud or noticeable. “Conspicuously inconspicuous,” as the site’s tagline goes. I followed the sizing instructions carefully so they fit well, and I wore them all over Italy, feeling as stylish as any local.
Think of Undandy as custom shoes for everyday. Build them online but wear them anywhere. Until something better comes along, I can’t imagine buying a pair off the rack again.
Think of @UndandyShoes as custom shoes for everyday. #shoes #customshoes #bespoke