Got two left feet? Not a problem if you're custom scanning them for made-to-measure shoes. Starting today, the Los Angeles-based Left Shoe Company is offering its 3-D-scanning services for three days at a pop-up store at 601 W. 26th Street, Suite 1750, in New York City.
The process is surprisingly simple: First, you slip on a provided pair of yellow-and-green socks specially designed to help a scanner pick up the length, width, and volume of your feet. According to company chairman Gordon Clune, 25 percent of people do not have the same size left and right feet.
Next, you stand on a slight platform, place your feet on the markers as if you were playing Dance Dance Revolution, and wait 30 seconds for the scanner to do its thing. A computer records and processes the data—so you can see and rotate a 3-D model of your feet, warts and all, and also glean information about how your feet compare to the general population (weak arches, extreme width, etc.). Folks with mismatched feet, in some cases, can try on longer or wider sample shoes in an attempt to find the perfect fit. The company is able to accommodate sizes 5 to 17 (sorry, Shaq).
Finally, you get to pick the style you want made. The company sells more than 50 models in various materials (leather, nubuck, ostrich, stingray, croc, cork) and colors. And it has wisely put most of its shoes on display throughout the shop, so you can see and pick up the wingtips, chelsea boots, double-monk straps, and loafers (a new high-end performance driving shoe makes its debut in November). A sales associate will walk you through the steps online, explaining which shoes are best for your feet, the advantages of different soles, and how to add a two-line custom inscription on the inside bottom of the left shoe (your monogram, perhaps?).
When you're all done, click "send" and the info goes to craftsmen in Portugal who, with some mechanical help, build your shoes—using Goodyear Welted soles, if you've picked ones that can accommodate that feature. Prices range from $395 to $3,500. And yes, there is a money-back guarantee if you don't like what you get.
A few notes: Addicts of instant gratification will need to temper their expectations. You won't likely see your creation for another six weeks. And while these boots were made for walking—and custom-fitted to your feet—they still need to be broken in. They're not designed to be instantly more comfortable than normal shoes—just the perfect fit. Still, it's a big step forward for shoe lovers.
Actor Joe Manganiello, pictured above, trying on a pair of Left Foot's 3-D-scanned, made-to-measure shoes. Note the optimized-for-scanning socks.
The New York City pop-up store is at 601 W. 26th Street, Suite 1750, and will be open from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., August 19 to 21. Left Shoes' flagship is located at 8473 Melrose Avenue in West Hollywood. Plans are already in the works for more shops in New York.