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E. Vogel Custom Boots & Shoes
Sep-Jun: Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm; Sat, 8am-2pm; Sun, closed; Jul-Aug: Mon-Fri, 8am-4pm; Sat-Sun, closed
Nearby Subway Stops
F at York St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
At first glance, E. Vogel Custom Boots & Shoes looks nondescript and unremarkable; very few shoes are on actual display. But the fragrant scent of tanned leather and the faint tap-tapping of cobbler's hammers in the upstairs workshops soon make clear that this no-glitz shop is the real deal. Family-run since 1879, E. Vogel specializes in custom-made men's dress shoes and jodhpur boots, and is shy to boast about a customer list that includes such unlikely companions as Paul Newman, Henry Kissinger, James Gandolfini, and the United States Equestrian Team. (The shop also makes women’s shoes, but only in mannish styles, like loafers and golf shoes.) Expect to pay a bundle for Vogel’s custom-made shoes; subsequent pairs are less pricey because the first pair includes the price of a last, or wooden form of your distinctive tootsies, that will guide their later handiwork. The real treasure, however, is largely hidden from view: Four stories of leather, polish, and vintage shoemaking machinery, with legions of black-fingered, leather-aproned Gepettos hard at work.