Some years ago a reader directed me to a German sartorial forum, which now seems to have vanished. The forum was full of discussions about welted shoes. One participant called “Posh” was an authority on the matter. She – it was a she – defended handmade bespoke shoes intensively explaining the difference (attachments, sewing, materials, fit) to goodyear welted shoes.
Going to Berlin to visit Volkmar Arnulf, I decided to find her shoemaker workshop. She works in Berlin. That I remembered, and her website confirms that.
Her son was present, when I arrived walking from Checkpoint Charlie 500 meters away, and minutes later Posh with the legal name Hendrikije Ehlers appeared.
She could tell me she has been working at John Lobb’s in London for year, and she repeated her position that bespoke handmade shoes indeed are a different matter from goodyear welted shoes, which doesn’t mean goodyear welted shoes cannot be very fine shoes. She is selling Carmina and Dinkelacker shoes herself from the shop.
In regards to her bespoke shoes, she always makes a pair of trial shoes (see above), she said to me. The customer will use them for a week, and the real shoes with adjustments will be made afterwards.
I asked her, how John Lobb in St James’s in London as the World’s most renowned shoemaker can skip the fitting. I know a fitting is no guarantee of a well-fitting shoe, but still.
“Well, they are John Lobb,” she said with a smile adding:
“You know, in Germany there are strong consumer rights. If a customer doesn’t like a pair of shoes or doesn’t feel they are comfortable, he can without further reason return them claiming his money back. So, the shoemaker is eager to make the shoes fit!”
Hendrikje Ehlers’ bespoke shoes are 2.500 euro excl. lasts and shoe trees.
Source: The Journal of Style