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The Fine Art of Footwear

Christina Garofalo

Hungarian shoe designer Ildikó Gál recently opened her first shop at 790 Madison Avenue in New York, where, for starting around $2,000, those interested can purchase a pair of handmade ready-to-wear or bespoke shoes. Ildikó’s collection of men’s dress shoes comes in everything from classic calfskin to more than 10 exotic skins, such as stingray, crocodile, or sharkskin, in four styles: lace-up, loafer, golf, and boots.

The process begins with a three-dimensional foot scan that renders the size, shape, arches, and pressure points of the feet, which is sent to the company’s Hungarian office where third-generation shoe artisans build every pair by hand. Each pair takes approximately six weeks to complete and, Gál says, if properly treated, should last up to 15 years without losing shape or support. The Ildikó Gál footwear is packaged in custom-size wooden boxes equipped with shoe trees and silk shoe bags, as well as a complete care kit that includes a stiff brush to clean, a small horsehair brush to polish, a larger horsehair brush to buff, plus a shoehorn. (212.472.1425, www.ildikogal.com)

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