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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!