Not so long ago I was sure it’s impossible to get bespoke shoes in Kraków. What a nice surprise!

Until now my most formal shoes were a pair of black cap-toe oxfords from Bexley. Nothing particularly spectacular, I must admit. I decided this gap is to be filled, and that gave me an opportunity to see how ordering a pair of bespoke shoes from Karol Stanios looks. His workshop can be found on Smoleńsk 27 in Kraków.

I went there and we talked the order over. Black wholecuts, with one seam on the inside of the heel, on a slim last and narrow welt. As minimalistic as possible.

Mr. Stanios asked a lot of questions concerning my preferences, and about details of the order I didn’t think about myself. So I was able to decide almost every little thing, from the shape of the last to the shape of the sole and details of the upper.

I didn’t look at the available leathers. My shoes were supposed to be black, so I decided to trust Mr. Stanios on that, but I’m sure there are several leathers to choose from if you’re looking for something different, and the shoemaker constantly tries to get his hands on more.

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There’s one particular thing I wanted addressed: the little toe of my left foot tends to get irritated and swollen in new shoes, which makes walking in them a pain. So I wanted to have some extra space there – and accommodating this into a very narrow last was the biggest challange.

The last was prepared just for me from scratch. There was also a test fitting shoe – the left one, keeping in mind this little problem of mine – which allowed me to see if it’s comfortable and whether any adjustments are needed. You could see a photo of this shoe (made of brown leather on a pegged sole) on my Instagram.

After the fitting, all I had to do is wait. Shoes ordered sometime in April they got to me on the last day of June.

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Since then I wore them twice – during my graduation ball and graduation ceremony. I must say they were extremely comfortable from the very first time I had them on my feet.

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Have a look at the sole – especially the very slim waist. The sole is stitched, with a closed channel stitching. At first Mr. Stanios said the sole might need to be pegged in the narrowest part, but this turned out to not be necessary.

The heel is also quite narrow, narrower than in any other shoes I have.

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What I liked a lot is how open Mr. Stanios is to the ideas of the client and how he himself looks for new ways of doing things. He follows other shoemakers from all over the world on the internet, and finds inspiration in their work. This is quite rare in Poland.

Considering the price of these shoes – 1600zł, which is around 370€ at the time of publishing this post – this is a really good price/quality ratio right there.

The only thing I miss is a possibility of ordering lasted shoe trees, but this is a thing Mr. Stanios is planning to introduce.

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Black wholecut shoes – made by shoemaker Karol Stanios, 27 Smoleńsk street, Kraków

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Szymon Jeziorko

My name's Szymon Jeziorko. I wear ties and write about it compulsively. More...

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  • Jon Leigh

    Thank you for explaining the process – these are amazing and something I am very envious of. There is something very satisfying about having a shoe made to the direct measurements of your foot and something I must someday try – once I have made it in the big time 🙂

    Seriously great looking shoes 🙂