Jul
07

Review: Shoes of Prey

Posted in Fashion, Reviews

Just going to preface this by saying I’m not receiving any kind of payment for this review – I contacted Shoes of Prey and asked them to mail me some shoes to review (and then return), and they were nice enough to do so. So this is 100% my real personal opinion and an item that I genuinely think is of interest to you readers – I won’t feature any products or services that aren’t!

So Shoes of Prey are a Sydney based company that make custom shoes. Orders are made through their website, which allows you to choose and customise the shoes in a bunch of different ways.

Putting a design together

As a web designer, I was really impressed with the interface – it’s very simple to use and gives a pretty good idea of how the final shoes will look. Besides the basic shape of the shoes, things like heel height, toe style, straps and other decorations can all be chosen and most give the option of using different materials for the extras if required. The number of options, especially colours and styles that can be really hard to find in stores, very impressive as well.

Onto what they sent to me:

Little extras

It was all beautifully packaged inside a box lined with foam to protect the shoes, which were wrapped in tissue tied together with a ribbon. Packaging might seem a little irrelevant, but if I’m paying (what I consider) premium prices for products, I expect premium service and presentation – and they definitely don’t disappoint in that respect. The shoes also came with a soft bag to store them in, and a pack with various shaped inserts to help the shoes fit and feel more comfortable.

The look

Look, I’ll be honest – these shoes are pretty far from my style (no offense if they are your style of course – you can get them here). That wasn’t the point though of course – these shoes weren’t custom made for me, they’re just shoes that were in my size and available for them to send out to me at the time. But comparing it to the design, I’d say that it matches up decently well, so if you really wanted it to look like that then you’d be pretty happy receive this pair of shoes. The patent leather is nice and glossy, the gold very shiny and I can’t really fault the overall appearance at all.

Make quality

Comparing these shoes to my own pair of nude patent leather shoes, the general make quality seems excellent – the stitches are small and even and neat, there’s no visible traces of glue and the inner lining is all leather. I must admit though that I’m no shoe fanatic, so probably wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in quality between a $150 pair of shoes and $1150 pair of shoes, if there is such a difference.

Fit & comfort

Unfortunately, these shoes didn’t fit me at all. Not in the sort-of-uncomfortable-but-I-can-wear-them-to-dinner type fit, but the oh-god-the-pain type fit. I’m an odd case in that my feet are wide, flat and often in between sizes – I asked for a size AU 6 / EU 36, but I think a half size up would have helped immensely. It’s not at all uncommon for me to find shoes that are the right size but simply too narrow for me feet, and it seems that this is the case with these. The FAQ on the site does mention that you can request shoes to be made wider or narrower to account for weird feet like mine though, which is encouraging. Unfortunately as the shoes are made to standard sizes (plus any requests for wide feet etc) rather than physically measuring your feet and making them specifically for you, there isn’t any guarantee on the perfect fit the first time around. It seems they will remake or rework your shoes for free if they don’t fit though, which is nice.

Since I’m unable to stand up in these shoes, I asked Miss T (who is also a size 6, but with lovely normal shaped feet) to try them on and do a lap of my living room. They fit her perfectly and she said that they were comfortable despite their height.

Price

I’m not a big shoe person – I have less than 10 pairs of shoes (which I wear to death) and most of them are under or around the $100 mark. The pair of shoes I was sent are classified as a ‘mid heel’ and will set you back $250; flats are $195, higher heels are $300 and ankle boots are $350. The prices seem to be irrespective of the number of fabrics or embellishments that you add to them. To some people that might seem like nothing, but to me that’s a fair chunk of money that I would not ordinarily spend on shoes. In terms of materials and quality they seem comparable to slightly cheaper pairs of shoes that I own (although as noted previously I’m not sure I’m enough of a shoe connoisseur to be able to tell).

To be honest, if you were after a fairly ubiquitous pair of black pumps or something that you could easily be able to find in local shops for a much lower price, I’d say Shoes of Prey is an unnecessarily pricey way to go.

On the other hand, if you’re after something very particular and not easily found (for example, the yellow soft leather round toed shoes with a not-too-high heel and maybe an ankle strap that I want for the wedding), this is a decent option for getting exactly what you want. There’s no way I’m going to find exactly the right shoes that I want for my wedding locally, and even if I found it online it’s likely that they won’t fit my wide feet – and the game of buying shoes and having to return them if they don’t fit gets costly fast, especially with international suppliers. This would be a splurge no doubt, but when I hear about other brides springing for Louboutins it doesn’t seem like such a bad thing. And if the wider version of their shoes ends up working well for me, this opens up the door to other shoe designs that I generally can’t find to fit me.

Other bits

They have an excellent returns policy, which is nice considering it’s a custom made product. Shipping is a flat $25 fee worldwide. The ladies that I dealt with were lovely and nice to allow my request, especially considering the readership of this blog is much lower than some popular social media stars they’ve had review their products.

Protip

Actually measure some shoes that you have currently to see what kind of heel you want instead of just guessing – I had set up a design of my wedding shoes to order before I received this pair to review, and they have the same heel height (3.5 inches) – which as it turns out is much higher than what I wanted. I’d also suggest reading the information about their various materials before making a decision too – the little thumbnails on the design page don’t necessarily give the full picture.

Bottom line

If you want something really different, specific and hard to find or have difficult to fit feet, and don’t mind paying $195+ for a pair of shoes – go for it. If they don’t fit or you don’t like them, you can always return them for the cost of postage. If you want something that’s more easy to find or are on a serious budget, this isn’t the place for you. The cost definitely made me pause, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be going with this option for my wedding – I’ll write another review when they arrive!

Comments

  1. Miss C

    Totally agree with your comments.

    The thing that concerns me is the returns policy (while it is also great). To be able to afford to go back and forth with shoes without extra cost or give refunds, that element would have to be built into the price of every pair. So I kind of feel like I’d also be paying extra in case I didn’t like them, if know what I mean? Or helping to offset their costs for providing that to other people?

    I don’t know, it is the salesperson in me!

  2. The Girl

    Hrmm, that’s a good point! I have no idea how they deal with returned pairs of shoes, so it’s possible that they just build it into the price.

    I made my order since posting this, but the lady I’ve been emailing with at Shoes of Prey said that the soft leather in yellow is actually slightly limey 🙁 They’re sending me some fabric samples just to make sure I’m happy with it. Finding yellow shoes is such a pain!

  3. Melanie

    Good luck with that. I ordered my wedding shoes from them in a US 8 1/2 extra wide, feeling confident, as you did, that they would be able to meet my needs. I got my shoes two days ago and they are almost a full inch narrower than my current go to heals that are that size. When I e-mailed them about the problem, their response was basically sorry, but we can’t make those shoes for you. It was a huge letdown that I totally wasn’t expecting. They are pleasent to work with, but for me it wasn’t all it was cracked up to be. I hope you have better luck.

  4. The Girl

    Melanie – wow, sounds like a bad experience 🙁 From my understanding they just add extra to the mold to make the extra wide shoes, so it’s weird that they told you they couldn’t do it. I’m a bit scared now! Fingers crossed they turn out okay…

  5. Melanie

    Apparently, they had already added the most amount of padding they could. It seemed odd to me too, since they don’t make any mention of not being able to accomodate some sizes on their website. If they had, I would at least have been prepared for the idea that they couldn’t help me!

    Like I said, though, they were great to work with. They were very atentive and seemed truly sorry they couldn’t help me, and gave me a full refund.

  6. Serendipity | Getting Hitched

    […] while back I posted my review of some Shoes of Prey shoes, and then ordered some for myself. This week they arrived, just a couple of weeks after […]

  7. Jodie

    Hi Melanie, The Girl and Miss C,

    I’m Jodie from Shoes of Prey – I’m one of the founders. I saw your conversation and thought I’d provide some answers to your very valid questions 🙂

    To your questions on cost – our shoes cost the same as other shoes of similar quality. Our generous refunds policy isn’t hidden inside the price … it’s just a cost that we think we should absorb in order to sell customised shoes on the internet. We want all of our customers to have a fabulous experience, and feel confident about ordering customised shoes online.

    We do say in our FAQs that sometimes it’s not possible for us to make shoes for a customer. However, please be assured that we do genuinely try everything we can to make comfortable and gorgeous shoes for you — often making a loss on selling the shoes to a customer, in the hope that they’ll come back to us once we’ve got their size correct. Melanie,you’re right, we’re really are sad that we couldn’t make your shoes – however with a sizing range of 2.5 – 15 (31 – 49), and narrow and wide fittings, this is extremely rare. We’re always working on new ways to offer more in terms of fit, so I really hope that one day we can make shoes that are perfect for you.

    Lastly, we do always happily refund customers for any reason, and again this is a cost we absorb. We do this so that you can rest assured when you purchase from us.

    I hope that this helps, and if there are any other questions you’d like answered, please do feel free to contact me personally at jodie@shoesofprey.com

    Jodie x

  8. Chisa

    Thanks for the post Jodie – definitely good to know the reasoning behind these things.

  9. Jodie

    Hi Chisa,

    You’re welcome!

    Hope you have a great holiday season 🙂

    Jodie x

  10. Kerry

    I had a similar experience to Melanie above.

    I have small feet (US 5 approx) which are very wide for their length (a D fitting), and was excited that the Shoes of Prey website said they could make shoes wider. Unfortunately this turns out not to be true. What they do is make the UPPER wider but the sole is a pre-made product and is a set width (and quite narrow at that). The salesperson I am dealing with is very friendly and keeps insisting they have made shoes for people with wider feet before. She sent some very revealing photos of her own feet showing that her foot is wider than the sole but the widened upper squishes her foot together to fit it on the sole. This is terrible for your feet and I can’t imagine it being comfortable for long periods.

    Shoes of Prey seem to make lovely shoes and their customer service is very attentive, but I think it’s shame they are dishonest on their website about custom widths. Don’t be fooled. These are custom shoes from a design perspective – which is great if that’s what you’re looking for – they aren’t shoes for people with very difficult to fit feet. Anyone with very wide feet like me will know widening the upper isn’t going to help, you need something of the appropriate width to stand on as well.

    I’m in the process of getting a refund.

    The Girl how did yours go in the end? Did you have this issue?

  11. Chisa

    Thanks for the comments Kerry. Jodie, if you still keep an eye on this post – any comments?

    I wrote about the shoes I ended up with here: http://gettinghitched.chigarden.com/2011/08/serendipity/

    I think maybe my wide feet aren’t as problematic as some – the extra wide shoes that I ordered from Shoes of Prey seemed to be the right width for me. They were too big length-wise though and I wasn’t completely happy with the style and heel height (which I chose, so my bad). I was going to exchange them for a smaller pair with a higher heel, but ended up finding a perfect pair of shoes locally on sale so just returned them and got a refund. Customer service were excellent and speedy through the process.

    I think all in all Shoes of Prey suffers from the same issues as buying anything online – there’s no guarantee that they’ll fit. Of course they have a good returns policy and apparently will pay for shoes to be altered locally if necessary, although I’d guess that’s only within reason. I haven’t gone through that process though, so can’t comment. I agree that it definitely isn’t a solution for hard-to-fit feet as I had originally thought – I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to just stick to shoes I can try on before purchasing. And it seems that there’s some serious limitations on how wide they can make the shoes.

  12. Jodie

    Hi Chisa and ladies, I am sorry it’s taken me a little while to pick this thread up!

    Kerry, firstly I am very sorry to hear that we weren’t able to make shoes that were both your ideal design and comfortable for you to wear. Unfortunately there are some limitations we currently work within in terms of fit, and very occasionally width is one of them. It’s an exceedingly rare circumstance in which we cannot help and I do extend my sincerest apologies that you’ve had this experience.

    I’m also very sorry to hear that you felt our site portrayed our sizing abilities dishonestly – this is absolutely not our intention and we really pride ourselves on providing clear and accurate information. I’ll take a look at our wording to see if I can’t make that clearer.

    Chisa, I do agree that sometimes you just need to try things on. And, you are right we do have a 100% satisfaction guarantee on our shoes. You are able to return them to us, unworn within 365 days for a remake or full refund – the full policy is here: http://www.shoesofprey.com/content/returns.html

    Happy to answer any additional questions, as always.

    Jodie x

  13. A.K.

    I’ve loved every pair of shoes I have purchased from you!

    If it is any consolation to those with hard to fit feet, I did a shoe-making course (my husband made me do it to quell the shoe fettish). Even then, the shoes were still NOT a perfect fit. Everything was measured several times, but they were a bit longer than I expected. Toe padding has overcome this to some extent. So, even with precise measurement, you may not get it quite right. I am interested to know about the width option. I wasn’t even aware of this. I love my latest pair. Thanks, Alison

  14. Vicky

    I had a similar experience to Melanie. I was so disappointed to hear that Shoes of Prey don’t make shoes wider using lasts of the correct width and just add a limited amount of padding to the last. Customer service advised stretching my shoes and said that they would be more comfortable after a few wears. I persisted but the shoes were SO uncomfortable and cut my feet. I couldn’t return them because I had worn them so now I have really expensive shoes that don’t fit. Major let down. They should be honest about their widths up front to avoid customers feeling cheated.
    I was also surprised to discover that my shoes are made in China – they don’t have this information anywhere on their site. Much better to be honest and let customers make a decision with all information than to be shady about stuff like this.


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