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You can walk miles in these custom-made pumps

Mr Jeremiah Ang, 33, Mr Kenneth Teh, 33, and Mr Joshua Leong, 31, are not fashion greenhorns - albeit they know more about men's stuff than women's.

The first two are owners of The J. Myers Company, a five-year-old men's leather goods company, while the third, an ex-apprentice of the late Florentine artisan Stefano Bemer, has an eponymous gent's shoemaking brand. But where there are men, there will be women.

"We've had requests for ladies' shoes at our own brands," said Mr Leong.

They got the idea of providing custom-made, flat pumps under the name Palola last year.

He added: "We were in the middle of a bak kut teh dinner when one of us made a joke about three fellas sitting in the middle of the CBD, making shoes for women."

The joke became an idea, which simmered into 30 prototypes and countless critique sessions, like taking "toe cleavage" out of one style and ensuring that the pumps fit so well, they're good enough for long walks - be it on the cobbled streets of Florence or to the MRT station. And instead of the CBD, the trio settled into a shophouse at Joo Chiat where the Cinderella magic comes to life.

The pumps in five different designs are customised in two ways - either made-to-order or bespoke.

Lasts are made in Italy, not China. Toes are stiffened by vegetable paste to prevent the front from biting into your toes and leaving behind ugly marks, the way man-made adhesives do.

  • THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN MADE-TOORDER AND BESPOKE

    Made-to-order

    You pick from existing sizes (EU 34-41, half sizes included), as well as standard and slim widths. From $295.

    Bespoke

    You get a shoe pattern and last that are made for you. It’s for women who either have uncommon feet sizes or want a highly accurate fit. From $895.

Super-soft lambskin and calfskin from Italy and Spain are used.

The finished product takes four weeks - to prevent mass production, and because that's all the three fellas can manage, with only 1,000 pairs being made a year.

This story first appeared in Her World magazine.

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