handmade shoes are a necessity, not a luxury. Yes, they are a luxury for some, but not for all.
Nick has very wide feet. When his shoes become worn, we traipse around to countless shoe stores trying to find something to meet his need that fits his feet. This is a process that in the past has usually required weeks or longer. Once, we found sneakers at a store that were name brand that fit, and we bought both pairs in his size (that's all they had) just so we wouldn't have to try on hundreds of pairs at dozens of stores when the original pair wore out. We figured we were buying time, and eliminating the next sneaker scavenger hunt, and it was so nice when the time came to swap to the second pair and we didn't have to go hunting! This is usually the case with other casual footwear, in that we can eventually find something he can make work, but it takes days of shopping and trying on to find a pair that works. The internet isn't an option because he has to be able to try them on, and don't have the patience to keep buying/returning dozens of pairs of shoes.
Dress shoes are an entirely different situation. When he has to go to the office for important meetings, or travel to his company headquarters, he has to dress more formally, and is often on his feet for long periods of time. When wearing a suit, he obviously has to have dress shoes, but after the last excursion to find some, and shopping at what we are pretty sure was every dress shoe store in town, we finally decided to try a shoemaker that makes shoes by hand. He measured Nick's feet, selected the style, color, and sole of his preference, and then hand made the shoes to fit his feet. Nick was ecstatic. He finally had a nice pair of shoes that actually fit, and ended up lasting considerably longer than his manufactured shoes. It was worth the extra money to get something that was comfortable and fit properly. Sometimes handmade shoes are available at select boutiques off the rack that aren't custom made to fit a specific foot, and those are higher quality, longer lasting shoes as well, if you are able to wear off the rack shoes. With proper care, handmade shoes can last significantly longer than other shoes, thus the extra upfront expense pays for itself over time.
A different situation for handmade shoes, is also for special needs kids. With our own special needs child (who is fortunate to wear any shoe), we see several specialists and therapists, and thus meet other special needs families. Often these families require special hand made shoes as well, to be fitted to their child's specific measurements and needs, and are a necessity and not a luxury.
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