Shoes of Prey is a design-your-own shoes force to be reckoned with. I don’t recall when I first discovered them, but Shoes of Prey started in 2009 down in Australia. The founders Michael Fox, Mike Knapp, and Jodie Fox (who I got to meet–she’s a doll!) have banded together to bring consumers a company that truly delivers a one-of-a-kind experience and product. Gone are the days of wishing a pair of shoes was different and not being able to find exactly what you want, because with Shoes of Prey, you can design your own unique pair of shoes, and in 4 to 6 weeks, they’ll be at your doorstep ready to wear (with free shipping to the US, and a great satisfaction guarantee).
Update: Shoes of Prey has notified me that they reduced their manufacturing time down to just four weeks! And you now have the option to get your shoes expressed to you in under two weeks! Sweet!!
Previously internet-only, Shoes of Prey has begun opening stores all across the US and internationally, with one of the more recent openings being right here in the Chicago suburbs! The Nordstrom in Oakbrook Center now has a Shoes of Prey store right inside, and I was lucky enough to attend the grand opening event back in May. I got to schmooze with Mad Men stylist Janie Bryant, Shoes of Prey founder Jodie Fox, and a bunch of other shoe-lovers while we enjoyed some small bites, drinks, and, of course, designed our own shoes.
The store-within-a-store setup was great. It’s really easy to find Shoes of Prey, which is located over by the shoe department and nestled under flowers made from shoes. It’s adorable and fun, and a perfect place to let your shoe design ideas blossom!
One of the things I struggled with, with Shoes of Prey being online only when I first discovered them, was the lack of being able to see and touch the materials. But the location in Oakbrook Center’s Nordstorm store has swatches available so you can touch, feel, mix, and match to your heart’s content. To someone like me, who loves both color and texture, this is a huge plus! You can order swatches online, but it’s amazing to see all of your options.
And don’t worry about size either. They have shoes available in all of the sizes and configurations for you to try on to make sure they fit you well… another plus of the in-store experience! There are shoe samples available for you to look at for inspiration, and there are also guides and staff on site available to help you out, make suggestions, or give you guidance while you’re designing.
When you’re ready to start designing, you just have to hop on an iPad and use the Shoes of Prey website to design your dream shoes. It’s super easy and doesn’t take much time at all! And of course, if you have questions, the friendly, shoe-loving staff is there to help you out.
It was a great event, and really cool to see where others were getting inspiration from, watching them play with colors and textures, and seeing their ideas come to life. I’m pretty sure no one left with shoes that looked like another’s.
The only downside is waiting for your shoes to arrive, but considering they are custom made for you in about six weeks, that’s really not a big deal. The wait is tough, but don’t good things come to those who wait? The answer is very much, yes!
Before I get to my shoes, I can’t not show you the cute little swag bag I got from the event. It was full of great things, from the most popular swatches to a Butter London nail polish, shoe pads, and even coupons for more shoes! Love it!
And now, on to my custom-designed shoes.
Prior to the event, I sat myself down and came up with some ideas. I was so inspired, I created an entire board on Pinterest with ideas (which I’ve continued to pin to). There are so many things I want to do, I would be totally lying if I said one pair of Shoes of Prey shoes was enough! You can check out my board (which I periodically add to) here.
Before I get to my shoes, I have to share the unboxing experience with you; I was so in awe of it that I’d feel this post was incomplete if I didn’t share it first. I won’t share the whole thing, because I don’t want to ruin it for you, but it was pretty nice.
First of all, the thought that went into the packaging here was really something. It’s very decadent, all black, with a bow and a little envelope (which has some great stuff in it, including a photo of your shoes).
Under all of that, are some little extras… pads for inside your shoes, extra heel caps, and a beautiful dust bag to store your shoes nicely.
All of these little things, plus the little touches that went into the unboxing experience as a whole, really show how much Shoes of Prey cares about their customers.
But now the moment you’ve been waiting for: my custom shoes!
I ended up being inspired by a pair of Miu Miu Mary Janes (pinned here). But instead of going with glitter on the heel and a bright patent leather, I took advantage of the beautiful texture of Shoes of Prey’s fishskin, and used that on the heel. I stuck with a more neutral color and went with an olive patent leather that fits nicely in my wardrobe, and will be easy to dress up and down.
I love the texture and color combination, plus the little bit of sparkle from the shimmer in the patent leather and the silver detail on the fishskin.
In terms of the fit, they were a little snug compared to how the sample pair in the store fit me, which I attribute to various things, including the fact that I chose patent leather and the in-store pair was leather, so they might have stretched more from being tried on. But some very gently applied heat and a pair of thick socks did the trick to help stretch the shoes out and make them more comfortable (side note here, Shoes of Prey will even pay for you to take your shoes to a shoe repair shop if they need adjustments).
I have worn them since taking these photos, and I adore them. Unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to take outfit photos, but don’t worry, those will come soon enough.
If you’re considering a new pair of shoes, check out Shoes of Prey.
I wish they’d been around when I got married, because I love the idea of creating a custom pair of shoes (or two) for a wedding weekend. With everything from smoking flats to stiletto sandals, and hundreds of fabrics, leathers, and even things like pony hair and vegan leather to choose from, not only are you likely to have a unique pair of shoes, but you’ll be able to create something that you truly want to wear, instead of just settling for whatever you see in stores. For more in-depth information about Shoes of Prey go here.
Huge thanks to Shoes of Prey for inviting me to their store opening event and compensating me with a pair of shoes! Despite compensation, my thoughts and opinions are all my own, and were not affected by receipt of such (as always). If you’d like to read my full disclosure, go here. Otherwise, go forth and design your dream shoes… though I take no responsibility for the hours of time you’ll waste at www.shoesofprey.com!