These custom men’s shoes are the most-used and loved romantic gift you can get a dude.
After many years of marriage, oodles of gifts, and just about every other romantic idea already having been used, I was stumped when it came to finding a cute, personalized gift for my husband. We sort of have three anniversaries that we celebrate, the first of which is February 10, the day we decided years ago to secretly march down to City Hall and tie the legal knot before we had our religious ceremony. We came away from that day feeling like renegades, so we still celebrate that plus our “real” anniversary now several years later. We also have a sort of agreement that we combine this day with Valentine’s Day, and set a price limit on our gift spending, because hi, we’re responsible, have kids to feed, mortgages to pay, and the intention of one day retiring somewhere.
This year, just a few days before the beginning of February, a little internet fairy introduced me to a custom men’s shoes company, Umberto Luce, and suggested I try a pair for the hubs. So I did, and it seems they offer free, somewhat-secret engraving on their handmade leather shoes, making their already pretty jazzy line that much cooler. Obviously I took advantage of that, and I’ll describe how you can too, in a minute. In the meantime, can we just focus on how chic this deep brown woven leather is? Ugh, so cute, and my hubs is loving how comfy and reasonable they are to wear with denim and a buttondown for his ongoing casual-to-work uniform. I opted for the Katuma style because the round toes, woven pattern, and cushy soles are the perfect combo of comfy walking and chic for living in Manhattan. Plus, good shoes are solid fashion investments, are they not?
The bottoms are also feature galleries for poetic lyrics by Sid Vicious, the notorious English punk rocker best known for his time in the Sex Pistols. Wearing the words, “you can’t arrest me, I am punk” to a work meeting seems sort of appropriate, no?
Shop more: Men’s Handmade Shoes
If you’re wondering about the leather engraving, the aspect of these kicks rendering them truly custom mens shoes, all you need to do is enter the text of your choice in the “order notes” option box at check out.
The owner of the company seems extremely hands-on and manages to read all these messages, so don’t be shy about asking him to inscribe something like “I love you” or your man’s initials. Just keep the text relatively short (a few short-ish words, max), because otherwise it won’t get done. My choice, YH + BH 4EVA was just my playful attempt at a schoolyard version of “Yossef Hermon + Bryce Gruber Forever.” Mock me if you want, but it was short enough to make it into the tongue of my hub’s new shoes, and every time he wears them he actively thinks “damn, I have the nicest wife.” I’m not entirely positive about that last part, but I assume. Whatever.
Overall, they’ve been one of my better gifts to date because they’re incredibly practical while still being incredibly personal. What I’ve noticed over the years is that men don’t actually need ties, most of them don’t care much for cologne, and meals only last an hourish (although everyone loves food and romance, so I’m not at all knocking a nice dinner as a celebration of your love). Custom men’s shoes are sort of the perfect blend of personal, cute, practical, and tricking your man into getting him to dress the way you like. Win, win, win.
Check out the Umberto Luce collection here.
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