How Much Do Custom Boots Cost? Less Than Replacing New Ones All The Time
There is a price for custom work boots, but that sticker shock can be far more worth it than a more "affordable pair."
Custom boots can be "expensive" in terms of a one-time purchase. The kind of investment you need to make in handmade, custom work boots is substantial…
...but it's also less expensive than buying a new pair of store-brand boots every year, if not two or three pairs per year.
Some people go through a pair of boots every six months in their line of work, and that can start to seriously add up, depending on what brand you're buying. A pair of work boots that only needs a resole every year becomes cheaper in the long run than a whole new pair.
You also get the option to customize your boots to your liking instead of just having to accept what the factory puts out. That may make the difference to you between just a pair of boots and the perfect pair of boots you've been dreaming about. Even if you're just looking for casual wear or light work boots, a custom pair of boots can make a massive difference in comfort
So how much DO custom boots cost? That kind of depends on what you mean.
Custom Boots Cost More, But So Do Premium Materials And Specialized Labor
There are a lot of different companies that make custom boots in a lot of different styles.
There are custom work boots, there are custom fashion boots, cowboy boots, whatever kind of boot you might want.
We can't comment on the pricing and pricing structure of every company out there making custom boots. You can have a look at our made to order boots, but obviously we can't talk about anyone else's.
But let's start by stating what should be obvious.
Any consumer good - name some durable good people buy and this idea applies - that is made to order, by hand, from premium materials will cost more to make in terms of materials and specialized labor than a comparable item made in a factory at volume.
How a lot of big brands work is they have product made overseas, shipped stateside (or to wherever) and distributed to various retailers, with some stock in company warehousing.
The materials range from "good enough" to "pretty decent" in most cases, as is the workmanship. Not outstanding, not excellent, but good enough to work.
Outside of a small workshop, a lot of big boot brands (and brands in other industries) are really a marketing company with a small shop attached to it that makes a certain amount of their overall output.
If you're buying handmade work boots that are made in America or certain other countries - this is just a fact - the labor is more expensive. Labor is just more expensive to begin with and specialized crafts have fewer practitioners.
Fewer people have the specialized skills needed to make footwear (and plenty of other trades and crafts as well) the right way and you have to pay them more to do it.
Also, some materials are more expensive. Sure, the amount of leather that goes into one pair of boots isn't that expensive and neither are Vibram soles...but bootmakers that purposefully get the best quality of materials pay a lot more for it.
So, handmade boots cost more than factory boots. They do. But, on the other hand, the labor required to make a pair of boots by hand, to order, and better quality of materials to go with better quality of construction is more expensive to the manufacturer.
It costs more to make a Bentley than it does to make a Dodge Charger, even if you can get a Charger that's just as fast.
Custom Work Boots Can Be Less Expensive In The Long Run
If you're getting custom boots for work, it's actually the case that you can spend less in the long run than by buying one or two pairs of factory boots per year.
Some jobs tear boots to pieces. Some trades will require either a resole or total replacement at least once per year, if not every six months, depending on the trade. The welting disintegrates, and the upper takes a beating that the maker won't fix.
After all, some boot brands don't think it's worth the labor and material cost to rebuild a pair of boots (even if the boots are fairly expensive and we could name some pretty big names that do this) when they could just say they won't fix any damage to the upper.
Putting new soles on welted boots is fairly easy and not terrifically expensive, since it's heavily automated and doesn't involve a lot in materials. Stitching new uppers? That takes more effort, time, labor and material to do.
On the other hand, custom boot makers typically offer not only resoling services, but also complete rebuilds. New uppers, new soles, new footbeds...literally remaking the boot from scratch.
A rebuild on a pair of handmade boots isn't cheap, but it's less than buying a whole new pair of plenty of brands of work boots.
So is a resole, which is another reason some people will buy multiple pairs of boots in a year. Again, resoling a pair of boots isn't cheap, but is often less expensive than buying an entirely new pair of boots every few months.
Think of it this way: let's say a person needed new soles on their work boots every six months. The pair of boots they buy is typically $250. Instead of trying to find a cobbler to have the work done, they just buy a new pair every six months. That's $500 in boots every year!
But let's say the same person had a pair of work boots handmade for $550, and got them resoled at the same rate for $150 every time.
That first year...yes, it would be more expensive...but the total cost drops to $300 for the second year, a $200 savings. In 3-½ years, the custom boots have paid for themselves.
And that's just in terms of money. Custom work boots are usually designed to be more comfortable and more supportive than most factory-made footwear. Having to buy fewer insoles and just feeling better on your feet is a good investment to make.
Are YOU Worth Investing In?
Ask yourself whether YOU are worth investing in. Do you think you're worth not having tired, aching feet every day? Do you think you deserve to get what you want in a pair of boots?
Of course you are. Everyone is. There is nobody that deserves to feel bad all the time, except maybe people who talk on their phone at the movies.
Yes, custom boots cost more in terms of what you spend on them, but you'll get more than your money's worth in fit, finish and also in feel if you invest in a quality pair that's made to measure for your feet.
Remember, factory boots are made in a numerical size, based on whatever lasts they use. You have to figure out which numerical size of theirs is the same as your feet. If you have wide feet, that can be a real problem, but not for a custom boot maker.
You may have a preference of sole, arch height or color of leather. You can get that from a custom boot maker. You can't always count on it with factory-made boots.
If you finally find that perfect pair and style and model for you, you're out of luck if they get discontinued by the manufacturer. A custom boot can usually be rebuilt, so you can keep wearing them for the rest of your life.
It might be that you don't necessarily want to have the same pair of boots or shoes for a long time, and that's fine. However, it might also be that you want to invest in a great pair of work boots, heritage boots or leather shoes that are well-built, fit you perfectly, and look amazing as well.
If you do, then custom boots are likely your best option to get into the pair of boots or shoes you want. And getting exactly what you want is always worth the cost.