A Men's wear & lifestyle appreciation blog

Sole From The City of Brotherly Love – Doc C Custom Clothiers


  After finally finding the right tailor, choosing swatches and getting measured, some weeks have gone by and your suit has finally arrived. You’ve matched up shirts, ties, pocket squares  but something is missing….. Shoes !  It’s the final piece to complete the look you’ve gone through the trouble, and lets face it no matter how nice your clothing looks on you without the right pair of shoes , it can through everything completely off. So you’ve tried going to every shoe store , and you can’t find anything that jumps out at you, enter Philly based Doc C Custom Clothiers .


A custom footwear firm that is looking to make it’s footprint in Baltimore, possibly at a fine men’s clothing store or “design studio” near you. Despite being based in Philadelphia, you are still able to place orders on-line at Doc C Custom Clothier.

We caught up with owner and creator of Doc C Custom Clothier , Darrell Cleveland to get a brief tutorial and a peek into the world of Bespoke and MTO (Made To Order) shoes.

DC King: How long have you had this passion for men’s footwear ? 

DC: I have had a passion for quality men’s footwear for several years; at least 15 years now.  I purchased my first pair of custom made-to-order footwear five years ago and have not looked back.  I plan to purchase my first pair of true bespoke shoes this year in preparation for offering true bespoke services as well.

DC King: What is the inspiration behind your shoe line ?

DC: I was inspired to begin my shoe line when I decided to begin my custom clothing business.  Many custom clothiers do not offer handmade custom footwear and I decided I wanted to differentiate myself by also giving customers the option to purchase made-to-order custom footwear as well.  I offer custom footwear at reasonable prices and customers can choose from many styles and options. However, some customers do not want to wait 6-8 weeks for custom footwear so I decided to create my ready-to-wear line; Conrad by Doc C.  These footwear are also hand constructed but customers cannot modify the styles.



DC King: Explain Bespoke vs MTO (made to order) Custom shoes ?

DC: Like suits, custom made footwear has two different processes, made-to-order and true bespoke. At Doc C Custom Clothier I offer made-to-order footwear footwear that entails tracing the foot and measuring the foot if four places.  Customers can then select the color(s), the style of shoe they want and the details.  Possibilities are endless and customers can have their shoe constructed with the many sample details in the store. For example, if a customer likes a style but wants details from another style such as punch hole design, 2-tone colors, 2-tone skin (leather and suede), all leather sole or slip guard and height of heal just to name a few.  Made-to-order custom shoes are constructed on an existing shoe last and can be constructed with goodyear welted construction or blake stitching.   Made-to-order footwear generally take 6-8 weeks.  My made-to-order footwear comes standard with cedar shoe trees to retain the shape of the shoe while absorbing moisture and rear heel plates to protect the heel.   Doc C Custom Clothier Made-to-Order footwear begins at $550. Image

Bespoke shoes on the other hand have many more steps.  More detailed measurements are taken then the made-to-order process.   Meticulous notes are taken for irregular toes, bunions, flat feet, etc.  The foot is also traced but with more notes and details.  From these measurements and drawing  a wooden shoe lasts is hand-carved; essentially the customers foot is re-created.  Shoe lasts take anywhere from 2-4 weeks to produce which is why the bespoke process takes – 8-12 weeks longer then the made-to-order process.  Once shoe lasts are constructed the customer can continue to get shoes constructed with the same shoe last reducing the time to construct the footwear.  Essentially the shoe lasts is used to create a pattern that is used to cut the leather that is sewed while wet, molded and dried to ensure the perfect fit.  All bespoke footwear is made with goodyear welted construction.  Bespoke footwear can begin at $3500 and go up to as much as six figures for exotic skins.   




DC King: What sets you apart from other custom shoemaker ‘s ?

I don’t think I set myself apart from other shoemakers.  I do think I set myself apart from other haberdashery’s by offering custom footwear to customers as well as full handmade, full canvas suits.  I chose not to offer half-canvas and fused suits.  My suits and footwear are very reasonably priced for the quality.  I also think that sets me apart is I am a one-stop shop.  I also offer luxury Swill time pieces by Edouard Lauzières, and accessories.  I also offer tuxedo rental as well.  

DC King: Describe your brand in three words ? 

Exceptional, Quality, Service

DC King: Where can one find your shoes ? 

DC: My shoes can be found at 7150 Germantown Ave., Philadelphia, PA  19150.  It is my hope that you will see my shoes in other fine men’s shoe and clothing stores around the country next year.  I also offer private label service so my shoes may be in a shoe store in your area with the retailers logo.

DC King: What’s on the horizon in the near future for your brand ?

DC: “… I am hoping to place my footwear in other fine men’s clothiers and footwear retailers around the country.  This will be primarily my ready-to-wear footwear and my bench made brand where custom made-to-order styles can be purchased by retailers in bulk according to the specific details they want, my brand or their own private label.

DC King -ALS

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