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Perfect-fitting shoes made to order

January 23, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
These days you can customize just about anything from jeans to makeup. So why not take a shot at designing your own shoes?A growing number of companies make it possible to customize shoes so you can pick everything from fabric to fit. Here's how you can put your best foot forward.

Pumps, wedges, boots, wingtips -- you won't see these shoes everywhere.

A growing number of companies now let customers design their own shoes.

With some you can pick your own colors and fabrics. With others, you get shoes that fit your feet perfectly.

"It's growing and it's getting bigger and bigger, and it's more popular by the month," said Howard Shaffer, Otabo Shoes.

The prices run the gamut, and so does the way each company works. At Steve Madden, you go online and customize colors and trims. Those start at about $89.

Other brands like Tupli are a lot more extensive. And at $750, a lot more expensive.

"We build the shoe from the ground up. We talk about the different toe boxes and different heel heights and different heel shapes, how the shoe should be cut, low or high," said Kathy Myczkowski, Tupli Shoes.

Or you can go high-tech. At Otabo, you go to one of the company's locations and get your feet scanned.

"It gives us digital molds of your feet. So if you need more ball girth or need a wider heel, or whatever the adjustment is, we do that and make the shoe accordingly," said Shaffer.

"The level of comfort is something that you really can't pay enough for," said consumer Duke Wu.

It's not just about comfort and style, either. Podiatrist Dr Ross Taubman says made-to-order shoes can be beneficial. Especially if you don't have an average-sized foot, or you suffer from bunions or blisters.

"It can be made exactly to the patient's shape of their foot, length of their foot and to accommodate for other deformities," said Dr. Taubman.

While these shoppers say they don't have serious foot problems to worry about, they still love the look of their "designer" shoes.

"I like being able to feel as if these shoes were made only for me and literally they are," said Duke Wu.


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