Awl & Sundry was founded with a simple mission: to democratize the luxury of bespoke footwear.
Back in 2012, Nikunj, our founder, was faced with a dilemma many men share: he couldn’t find a sanely priced pair of dress shoes that really fit! After a month and a half of searching, he found he had to choose between comfort, style and affordability. Finding two of the three quality criteria was easy enough but all three… almost impossible! Awl & Sundry was born of the frustration of not being able to find the perfect pair of shoes at a fair price.
Nikunj decided to take matters into his own hands and began canvassing the planet with one goal in mind: to find an artisanal cobbler who could produce a well-made, custom pair of shoes at a reasonable price.
During his search, he visited some of the factories that produce shoes for the big global brands and was shocked to discover a well-kept secret. Many of these brands mass-manufacture shoes for $15-$20 per pair and then mark them up to $150-$200. That’s right, a whooping 1000% markup!!!
The worst part: often the quality of the materials and the shoe construction process was not only harmful to our health but also to our environment.
But the search proved worthy of the effort when he came upon a group of distinguished craftsmen who are still employing the age-old process of handcrafting shoes. These shoes were beautiful, stylish, comfortable and durable – all at a production cost significantly below what a custom shoemaker in the U.S. would charge. In 2013, Nikunj decided to share this find with the legions of men forced to walk through life in uncomfortable, mass-produced shoes and soon thereafter, Awl & Sundry was born!