snapshots and observations

Sunday, 6 March 2011

my bespoke air force 1's... well... sort of.

it's been a long, long wait for them, but yesterday my bespokes finally turned
up at whitfield towers.
peter at my reception, knew how important this was to me and wrote on the box
very special delivery !

standard nike box. that's a shame. a special box would have been a nice gesture.

inside the box...
that's more like it.

each shoe is delivered in an individual dust bag
the bags are made from really nice soft cotton. almost velvety/

and here they are...

and again
what do you think ?
it's hard to tell from photos but in real life these do look and feel absolutely knockout.

unfortunately two parts of my design have not been carried out to my specification
and i'm waiting to hear back from nike about what happens next.
i'm afraid i'm going to have to send these bad boys back to new york
and have them re-made.
grrr !

let's get into the shoe, i'll explain about the design and the materials and also
point out the two errors. you may think i'm too fussy. the two mistakes may seem
not worth bothering about to you, but to me... to me they are mistakes. the shoes
are not as i designed them and however slight the differences are, i would very much
like them to be as i requested them to be constructed.

ok, this is a nice touch...
they come with cedar wood shoe trees. very nice.
the sock liner and insole are constructed from a perforated glove leather.
very soft, very luxurious. the laces are in the same light brown colour.

another nice little touch
they come with a key-fob which uses the crocodile leather i utilised on parts of the shoe

mistake number 1
see the lace eyelets ? they are in dark brown to match the croc leather.
my design stated that the top eyelet on each side of each shoe was to be in
a different colour. not dark brown, but in the same pale brown as the sock liner and laces.

so... are you with me or against me ?
i admit it's not spoiling the shoe. it's not much of a mistake, but i really wanted them 
to be that little bit different and to me, having the top eyelets in a different colour
was a good move. a sneaky little design detail that i thought was a good idea.

see the tongue tab ? i had this made in brown crocodile leather to match the swoosh
but i purposely asked for it to be left blank ( the tongue tab usually has nike air and
a swoosh embroidered or embossed on it )
i wanted the shoes to feature no branding other than the swoosh.

which leads to mistake number 2
the heel tabs were supposed to be left blank like the tongue tabs.
i specifically stated that i didn't want nike air or a swoosh on the heel tabs.
i wanted them to be in the same croc leather as the swoosh and tongue tab and left blank.
grrr !

so that's the 2 mistakes. i'd love to hear from you. do you think i'm being bad ?
or do you think i'm right to insist that they are made to the specifications i 
requested back in november ?

moving on, let me show you the rest of the shoes. look at the laces.
they have gold screw-on lace tips. i chose these laces to match the sock liner and tongue
and also the gum midsole. the shoes came with a second pair of laces in dark brown to
match the crocodile leather. they also have the gold screw-on tips.

the swoosh is in brown crocodile leather. the shoe sits on a gum midsole and an ice out.
i was told that nobody had ever used a gum midsole with an ice out before. i think it
works pretty well.
i also chose to have the stitching on the sole in dark brown and to have the 'x' stitches
on the body of the shoe in as close a colour to the insole, tongue and laces as possible.

the tongue is in the same perforated glove leather as the sock liner

here's another look at the 'x' stitches and the swoosh
the quality of the materials is first class. by the way i should have mentioned earlier
that the tip, the toe box, the eye stays, the mid panel and the foxing are all
finished in a waterproofed wool material. it feels very much like an expensive suit.

have a close look at the fronts
the wool is beautiful. i've never seen it used on any shoe before. the 'x' style stitching
i think works really well and the gum / ice sole combination does too.

i wasn't sure what to have on the dubres so i just got my name... 
... in lower case of course !

honestly, these look a lot better in real life

one last look at them before they go back in the box and back to new york
i'm really looking forward to wearing the bespokes i designed... and there's my point.
these are not the bespokes i designed.

please feel free to comment and tell me i'm miserable, too fussy or whatever,
also if you also see my point and think that the customer is right 
and that i am entitled to receive what i designed then please also let me know.


  1. i'm with you on this one! these aren't what you designed and you'll never be satisfied with them.

  2. yep, i'm with you on this too. they aren't what you designed. now then maybe if there was only one mistake with the eyelets then that could be forgiven but the swoosh and branding on the back is directly against what you wanted so they should go back.

    trouble is, some schmuck will pull them out of the nike dumpster and sell them in twenty years as the 'ones that mark rejected'... for a fortune.

    i was thinking that their attention to detail was incredible but i am not so sure now.

    nike - listen up, the world is watching how you handle mr whitfield...

  3. definitely without question send 'em back! my husband reckons they must have it in small print somewhere that they are entitled to put their branding on the heel which I think is a tad cynical of him, but If that's the case cancel the order. he also said 'ow much? a question I'm sure we all want to know don't we?btw....they look FAB!

    7 March 2011 15:21

  4. nike have been as good as gold about the whole episode.

    they have apologised and will have them re-made for me as soon as the shoes are fed-exed back to them ( on their account )
    there are no problems with the lack of branding. it's something i requested at the time and i was told it was possible.

    if it were just the eyelets i would have not complained. i'm not that petty. it would have annoyed me a little but i would have accepted the shoes. the branding on the heel tab though... that really annoys me !

    thanks for siding with me.

  5. They didnt let you keep the shoes.. Damn.

    1. no. I had to send the shoes back and two months later I got a new pair.
      funnily enough, when I was at 21 mercer a couple of months ago my original bespokes were there on display... for people to look at and maybe be inspired by.

  6. Imagine they had let you keep the shoe! One to rock, one to stock! I always wonder if its true that no one can make your bespoke. I know china makes a fake of my bespoke. I aways want to buy a pair just to see how close they got. But those dodgy chinese sites make me cautious. I might as well post my account details on facebook!

    1. i think it's pretty true but you can always do a slight difference, say an eyelet or an 'x' stitch different.
      when i was talking about doing an all cork bespoke iz said one had already been done then he pulled out the records to show me. i think it had a maroon secondary swoosh so i was in the clear.
      so... yes, i think they do try not to allow two pairs to be made the same.

      as for the dodgy chinese websites... i'd give it a go. credit card fraud is rare and you're always covered. it'd be pretty sweet to have a fake pair, to see the differences.

    2. For $800 they need to be exactly right, no question. Some people are probably thinking $800 (roughly £500) is crazy money for sneakers; I disagree; you are getting something truly 'bespoke' made from high quality materials. A RTW pair of Crockett and Jones are approaching £400, Edward Green and Lobb far more and bespoke shoes (Cleverley, G&G etc) around £3k or way more in exotic materials. I'm not an AF1 fan but think the idea and execution is fantastic and am looking into whether other models are available via the Mercer Street service.