Being one of those people myself, you can imagine my delight when I stumbled across a site that let's you do exactly that -- to a degree.
A must-see for brides, or anyone who likes the idea of shoes that are uniquely "them," ShoesUSA.com offers an amazing selection of shoes to choose from -- once you find a pair you like (and you'll probably find several), you can begin customizing to your heart's content.
About the ShoesThe brand is featured is Kris K., and the styles offered include flats, platforms, wedges and even boots and bridal shoes. But, there is an emphasis on really sexy footwear, and there are far more heels than flats to choose from.
All of the shoes sold on this site are handmade in a shoe factory in North Hollywood, California (US), and each pair is made from scratch when the order is placed.
Designing Your Own ShoesTechnically, you're not really designing the shoes. The shoes have already been designed, and can be ordered as shown. But with so many customization options, the shoes you personalize can be nearly as unique as if you had designed them yourself.
When you visit the site, you'll select the type of shoe you're looking for. You can choose from flats, heels, wedges, etc. For whatever type you choose, several different styles will load -- there are a lot of styles in each category. Each shoe has customization options next to it. Most of the styles will allow you to control many of the following options:
- Size: Most styles are available in US women's sizes 4 - 10. But if you wear a larger size, don't despair. There is a large, special section that includes styles that can be made in sizes 11 - 14.
- Width: Need a special width? Not to worry, every style I looked at had the option of being made in narrow, medium or wide.
- Colors: Nearly every shoe I viewed had at least one color that could be changed - and the selection of colors is amazing - baby blue to lime green, and everything in between. Some styles also allowed you to select trim, lining and the colors of accents, like crystals or studs.
- Materials: If the shoe features a leather upper, you can select from options like patent, genuine, metallic or suede. In some cases, other fabrics are available.
- Heels: In certain instances, you can select the heel height, and in many cases you can choose the heel color, whether or not it has rhinestones, or other embellishments.
- Insoles: Latex foam insoles are always included at no charge, but for $10 - $15 more, you can choose to add special poron soles for added comfort.
How Much Does it Cost?Prices for shoes start at about $109 (US), while certain boot styles cost over $400. A few of the customization options, like special insoles can add to the price, but most of the listed options do not.
Shipping charges are very reasonable, and express shipping is available for a higher fee.
What Could Make the Process BetterSince dreaming up ways to make pretty shoes prettier is high on my list of "fun ways to spend an afternoon," I can't say enough good things about this site. The only thing that could make the experience better would be the ability to see a mock-up of the shoe with your options.
I imagine this sort of system would be quite an undertaking, and would open up its own set of problems, but still, it would be cool to see my silver stiletto-heeled slides with lime green uppers before I committed to ordering them.
Important Notes about Customizing ShoesSince the shoes are made when your order is placed, this is definitely not an option for shoes to wear to tomorrow's office party. However, given that the shoes are custom-made to your specifications, the 14-21 day process actually seems pretty quick. You can place a rush order, but it will still take up to ten days for your shoes to leave their warehouse.
Another consideration when ordering such a custom item is the penalty for needing to return it. Ranging from 30-50%, the restocking fees can be pretty steep, but are not out of line what other custom-order companies charge. After all, the work has been done, and it might be difficult to resell the fuschia clogs you chose to cover with blue rhinestones.
For complete and current details about return policies, and to address any other questions you might have, be sure to visit ShoesUSA.com.