From earlier bespoken (c. 1600), form of bespeak, in sense “arrange beforehand” (1580s), of same origin as speak; compare ordermade-to-order.


Commissioning a pair of shoes

The joy of owning a bespoke pair of shoes is not only in the wearing but also in the commissioning process of something that uniquely reflects your personality and desires. The bespoke process involves an initial appointment (and if required, follow-up appointments) as it is often while meeting a client their particular sense of style will trigger the inspiration for the design.

After an initial consultation and choice of potential leathers and trimmings a ‘mock-up’ will be created to evaluate on the second visit. At this stage alterations can be made, if needed, before heading towards the final stage. Here the final shoe is presented and fitted.

To create your perfect shoes Caroline will source leathers and suggest vintage trims or commission additional embellishments for your shoes from other craftspeople. This could be silver buckles, jewelled details, carved heels or even parakeet wings. Only the finest leathers from France and Italy are used for the uppers and the leather for the soles, insoles and stiffening comes from the last oak bark tannery in Devon.

Every pair of Caroline Groves shoes is handmade and is unique (and as unique) as the client who commissions it.

Commissioning a bag, purse or case

Caroline is interested in creating objects that do not necessarily conform to fashion but which are born out of consummate craft skills, sublime materials and that will endure the tests of time. That they are decorative and seductive is a bonus! She enjoys working with, learning from and collaborating with other craft working professionals. Along with solid silver fittings made by master silversmiths you will notice her interest in 22 carat gold tooling which is the domain of the bookbinder.

Caroline sees her creations as objects, not just bags. Cleeve case for instance was made for a client who wished to use it as a fashion item, a woman’s attaché case, but in fact it could be used as the perfect home for your most precious documents.

If you are interested in commissioning a bespoke piece it may be that you have taken inspiration from a bag already on the website but you may wish to suggest alternative elements to reflect your own taste. Perhaps a colour or a motif or a combination.

You may have seen a historical bag which you would like to be used as inspiration or to reference in some way. All of this is possible, if you love craftsmanship and are comfortable with the commissioning process, then contact Caroline and she will guide you through the process. This will usually involve a meeting but may well be possible to organise by a series of telephone and email communications.

As a guide, prices of the bespoke bag commissions on this website have ranged from £4,500 to £19,300

Still have questions? Take a look at Caroline’s FAQ before making an appointment or enquiry.

Caroline Groves is a shoe artist; she creates the perfect shoes I always imagined but could never find. It was very exciting to work with Caroline. So much is possible, and the materials she uses are so wonderful. Her shoes are beautiful objects and friends of my feet.

Audrey Niffenegger


All shop bought shoes, regardless of provenance, have gone to the charity shop. They cannot compare with your wonderful works of art.

Susie Thomson


Coming to UK to get shoes done, is quite extraordinary for an Italian. The care, the process and the extreme attention to detail makes every pair a real treat, each shoe has a story of its own. And Caroline makes this joyful, unique journey possible not afraid of new paths and challenges.


Managing Director

Yummy – except I haven’t worn black since 1951, nor high heels since ’58. I can see why those who can, do!

June Swann MBE

British footwear historian, formerly the Keeper of the Boot and Shoe Collection at the Northampton Museum and Art Gallery

They are both wonderful and without doubt I know they are the most comfortable shoes and boots I have ever owned. With shoes it’s usually a case of either squashing my toes to stop the slip off at the back or putting up with the slipping and having comfortable toes!  My feet are going to love not having to put up with either of those scenarios!! With my ultra narrow feet I never seemed to achieve that elegant look and be comfortable which I feel now I have achieved thanks to you.